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How do HOA's fit into residential real estate transactions?

Many Delaware residents who buy homes, townhouses or condominiums discover that they must become part of a homeowners' association. The fees associated with an HOA are only one small part of what it means to be part of it. When completing a residential real estate transaction under these circumstances, an individual needs to understand what the HOA will require.

A prospective buyer should be able to read the covenants, conditions and restrictions of the HOA. Knowing what the dues are and what is included in them is the first step. An individual should know what they will be required to do and what they are not allowed to do in a building or neighborhood. Make sure that the property for purchase is in compliance with the rules. If not, it may need to be brought into compliance before it is purchased or soon thereafter.

Some HOA communities can be quite restrictive. If an individual disagrees with the rules or has some other problem with them, purchasing that particular property might not be a good idea. One way to assess the flexibility or rigidity of an HOA is to request a copy of the minutes of the last meeting. This should provide information about any conflicts among the members and how the issue was handled.

This is just one aspect of a residential real estate transaction that requires a Delaware resident's attention. HOAs serve a purpose in many communities, but if an individual has any hesitations about dealing with the rules or the association itself, the purchase may not be in his or her best interest. It may be too late after the closing to find out that it is not a good fit. It may help to have an attorney review the HOA's rules, fees and minutes to help make an informed decision before moving forward.

Source: investopedia.com, "9 Things You Need To Know About Homeowners' Associations", Amy Fontinelle, May 28, 2017

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