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HOA Dues (And Don’ts): How This Extra Costs Can Price You Out Of Homeownership

If you’re finally ready to buy that first home or a vacation paradise, you probably think you’ve already paid your dues, and deserve the mortgage for that property.  But it’s dues of another kind that may throw the wrench in

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The Pros and Cons of Living in Gated Communities

The 2001 American Housing Survey reported that 4+ million homes in America are in a gated community. Considering the growing popularity of gated communities and the passing of over 15 years, we can only assume that several more have been

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Small disputes can have big consequences

Mouse Trap was one of my favorite games growing up. Heck, I even loved it when Santa Claus brought one for my daughter a Christmas morning not so long ago.  Much like the crank turns a gear that operates a

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Three Things No One Tells Prospective Condo Buyers

Buying a new home is always exciting. Condominiums are often ideal for people who have smaller (or no) families, don’t want to have to directly worry about maintenance, or desire the prime geographic location of a Condominium. While Condos are

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Turn the Tables: How to Interview the Board of a Condo, Co-op, or HOA

If you’re buying a condo, co-op, or a house in a homeowners association (HOA), you will probably have to submit to an interview by its board before the deal is done. And sure, it may seem awfully intimidating to sit

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8 Things Your Homeowners Association Wishes You Knew

Part of the joy of owning your own home is the relative lack of rules. No one can say “no” to that adorable pet axolotl. Not a soul will protest if you paint your bedroom purple. And you want to

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First-time condo buyers: Compare assessments, count reserves, expect maintenance

Condominium sellers customarily pay any upcoming special assessments, but Natalie Renna of Re/Max Vision 212 writes the clause into her contracts to make sure.  Recently, while a sale was pending attorney review, the association levied a $15,000 special assessment. Renna’s

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The ILSA Condo Exemption – Not Out of the Woods Yet

The Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act (ILSA) is a federal statute that aims to prevent land sales fraud and uninformed purchases of unimproved real property by requiring registration of subdivisions with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and pre-contract consumer

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Transactions involving an HOA: what every Realtor should know

Ask two homeowners their thoughts on living in a community with a homeowners’ association (HOA), and you may find one kicking and screaming for vindication and the other perfectly content.  The difference in opinion comes from their individual experiences and

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HOA Sales Transactions Can Be Precarious – There Are Many “Sharks” in the Water

HOA sales transactions can be precarious when the parties that are doing the talking do not know what they’re talking about. I did a blog about a month ago with a “beware slant” telling you about why if you are

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Barriers to condo mortgages may be coming down, but details remain to be set

For many condominium buyers and sellers, the Obama administration delivered what seemed like encouraging news last week: The Federal Housing Administration, once the primary source of mortgage financing for moderate-income and first-time condo buyers, is coming back, big time.  But

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Things to know before buying in a homeowners’ association

Nearly a quarter of Americans live in communities governed by some type of homeowners’ associations (HOA), according to a 2013 report from the Foundation for Community Association Research. Most of these homeowners (70 percent, according to the report) believe that

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What Do Condo Fees Cover? A Lot More Than You Think

If you’ve ever looked into buying a condo, you’ve noted that, in addition to your monthly mortgage payment and property taxes, you’ll be required to pay monthly condo fees. So what do these fees cover?  Generally, they pay for the

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Meet the New Boss – Your HOA

This updates our 2009 article on Home Owner Associations, the introductory piece of a 3 part series about these important, but controversial organizations (often called Community Associations). The 2nd in the series features an insightful interview with Joe West, CEO

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The Art of High-Rise and Condo Inspections

When you’re inspecting condominiums, attached townhomes and high-rise properties, you expect to check a few outlets, mash the (GFCI) buttons, run the appliances, flush the toilets and that’s about it, right? For most inspectors, it is. For a few of

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What Is an HOA? Homeowners Associations—Explained

If you’re buying a condo, townhouse, or freestanding home in a neighborhood with shared common areas—such as a swimming pool, parking garage, or even just the security gates and sidewalks in front of each residence—odds are these areas are maintained

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6 Facts You Should Know About Homeowners’ Associations

Most people assume that owning a home is just like owning almost anything: once it’s yours, no one short of the government can tell you what to do with it. Seems pretty logical, right? Unfortunately, anyone prescribing to that logic probably

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Before You Buy: Consider Homeowners Association Fees and Other Costs

Buying a home is a big milestone in life. It’s probably one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make. It can also be one of the most exciting and nerve-racking! You can avoid anxiety and buyer’s remorse by making sure

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Why condo fees are worth further examination

True story. A couple walk into a “for sale” oceanfront condo that adjoins their good friends’ unit. The wife is awestruck by the stunning ocean views and smitten by the perfect staging job. She says to her husband: “I want

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Real Estate Watch: Condos vs. co-ops, pros and cons

We have many customers who prefer or can only afford to purchase a cooperative type apartment and then there are those that only want and can afford the higher priced condominium.   Both have there benefits and detriments and your choice

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How a Condo Association Could Kill a Sale

Lenders are stricter when financing condos because the homeowner isn’t solely responsible for maintaining the value of the property. When someone buys a condo, they’re also purchasing an ownership share in common areas ranging from the grounds to shared amenities.

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When Homeowners’ Association Living Goes Haywire: How To Prevent The Common Problems Of Living Under An HOA or COA

But along with the benefits of enhanced control over their environment and their property values can come problems, such as time consuming bureaucracy, legal imbroglios, unexpected expenditures, and unmet expectations. Sometimes these problems can be benign – you can’t fly

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Law You Can Use – Common Condominium Questions

Some people think a “condo” is a vacation rental property. Others view condos as “super apartments” where the entire property is maintained by someone else. Unfortunately, many people have no clear understanding about what purchasing a condominium really means. The

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4 Tips for Surviving Condo Life

Condo life. It’s, for the most part, a city thing. People who don’t want to be able to see their neighbors or who want to own land don’t understand those who choose to live in condos. Sometimes it’s not about

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Buying and Selling a Condominium Can Feel Like Playing a Game of Monopoly

So you landed in Park Place and decide this is the perfect home for you. You sign the contract and look forward to paying the bank and moving in. It is just like the game, Monopoly. Not so fast –

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Two Things You Need to Know About Homeowners Associations

Owning a home isn’t always a happily-ever-after story. On any given day, you might deal with a leaky roof, a weedy lawn or a bad neighbor. Homeowners associations can help with these inconveniences.      Read the article………..

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Condos to be scrutinized by Fannie and Freddie

Condominium associations and homeowner associations in Chicago and across the nation will be more closely watched by the federal government in the future under newly unveiled financial disclosure forms.    Read the article……………

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Common Property Owners Association Terms Defined

When it comes to your property owners association, there are a lot of terms that may be new or perhaps not clear. As you look through relevant documents and governing contracts, you have to understand the language used to fully

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Understanding Association Fees and What They Cover

There are three common categories of Association fees – Home Owners Association/Property Owners Association (HOA/POA) fees, Condominium (condo) fees, and Cooperative (coop) fees. Generally, condo and coop fees are due monthly, but HOA fees often vary between monthly, quarterly, and

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Condos are not houses — questions to ask yourself before trying ‘complex’ living

When you own a house, you are responsible for everything, and everything is on your schedule. You make the rules, you make the repairs and you mow the lawn. You decide when to paint the house or change the filters,

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HOA Misconceptions Dispelled

With hundreds of thousands of HOAs in the United States, there are plenty of misconceptions about them in the wild. With education, these misconceptions can be dispelled and the reality and usefulness of HOAs can be further explored. Here are

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Are you getting ready to move into an HOA or Condo? Use our moving checklist to make the process smooth.

If you’ve ever moved into an HOA or condo, or if you are getting ready to move into a new home, then you know that it can be a very stressful task. Trying to remember every single thing you need

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How to Read and Understand HOA Documents

As a potential buyer in a HOA community, it’s important that you know what rules you’re signing up to follow for before you actually sign on the dotted line. Unfortunately, too many potential buyers shy away from fully reviewing HOA

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Your Homeowner’s Association (HOA) and the role it plays

In many communities one of the fees a homeowner is expected to pay is an HOA fee. The amount of the fee varies greatly and most people don’t really understand why they need to pay it. The role of your

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New Lending Guidelines Making It Tough on Some Condo Buyers- Condo HOAs and Owners You Can Help

A recent article in the Seattle Times, discussing buyer’s challenges with loan guideline changes, reminded me of the importance of HOA and condo buildings doing their best to stay viable and eligible for FHA, VA and Fannie Mae approvals not

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HOA vs. POA – What’s the Difference?

Homeowners associations (HOAs) and property owners associations (POAs) are easy to confuse because they are similar in nature. If you are considering starting one, but don’t know which to choose, check out these three facts that will help you understand

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Non-warrantable condos

I shared with you one of the most important things to understand when attempting to obtain financing for a condominium is an HOA Certification, or Homeowner(s) Association Certification. Without a completely acceptable HOA Certification by a lender, your condo loan

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The Growing Footprint Of Homeowner Association Fees

A steady increase in the share of U.S. homes that require monthly condo, mobile home or homeowner association fees (HOA) has important implications for the affordability of homes nationwide, particularly condos, which are an increasingly popular option for first-time homebuyers.

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Pros and Cons of Buying a Planned Community Home

Buying a home? Thinking about a planned community? From the iconic Levittown in New York to Playa Vista in Los Angeles, planned communities feature both benefits and drawbacks.   Read the article…………..

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New Rules For Warrantable & Non-Warrantable Condo Mortgage Loans

Buying a condo is a lot like buying a “detached home”, but with one big difference — mortgages are tougher to come by.  When you’re buying a condo, lenders impose a different set of rules on you, and may sometimes

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Pay to Play: The Growing Footprint of Homeowner Association Fees

A steady increase in the share of U.S. homes that require monthly condo, mobile home or homeowner association fees (HOA) has important implications for the affordability of homes nationwide, particularly condos, which are an increasingly popular option for first-time homebuyers.

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Why are HOA Assessments So Important?

Most homeowners understand that assessments are a regular part of homeowners association membership. However, some owners—and even board members—may not fully grasp the importance of assessment payments on the community. Assessments are a large part of member benefits and when

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Condo fees are a crucial element in the decision to buy a place

In addition to paying property taxes and a mortgage, condo owners have to pay a monthly maintenance fee, called a condo fee, that goes toward running the building as a whole.    Read the article………….

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Rules of new neighborhood, community critical to know

When moving into a new home, there’s an extensive list of things you need to know: How to control the drip system to your garden; when is trash day.  All those things aside, there are several things you should know

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What Can You Expect If Your Home Is Part of a Homeowners Association?

If you’re planning to buy a home, there are countless decisions you’ll have to make. How many bathrooms do you need? Do you want to live in a community that has good schools? How high are the property taxes? What’s

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5 Ways Condo Communities Are Better Than Neighborhoods

Some of us grew up in a neighborhood. A typical afternoon scene would have kids playing ball in the street, cars parked bumper-to-bumper against the sidewalk, and the occasional sound of a lawnmower followed someone’s dad telling him to come

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8 things you should know about homeowner associations

You might be surprised at how many people live in communities that have homeowner associations.  Zillow.com says that 20 to 30 percent of home buyers purchases residences in HOA communities. HOA laws can have a big impact on homeowners.  

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5 Pros and 5 Cons of Homeowners’ Associations

Across the U.S., homeowners’ associations are on the ascent. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 59 percent of newly constructed homes in 2014 were part of a……….     Read the article………….

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‘Know Before You Owe’ rules could delay condominium closings by weeks (DC/MD)

Residential real estate has changed as of this month. New contract forms exist for Maryland and the District, and new mortgage disclosure rules issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) are now in effect.    Read the article………..

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What is the HOA Payoff Demand & Who Pays for it? (WA)

Client Question of the Week: “Escrow just called me and asked for a credit card to pay for an HOA Payoff Demand. What is this and who pays for this? Is it the same as the Resale Certificate I already

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