Buying & Selling

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Homeowners Associations: Join Or Pass?

Like many prospective homeowners, I’ve looked at properties that fall under the jurisdiction of a homeowners association (HOA), and I’ve had to carefully analyze whether the value of those HOA services outweighed the costs. HOA fees are hard for many

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Buying in a Shared Ownership Community

Are you looking to purchase in a Shared Ownership Community?   A shared ownership community is one where the owners not only have a deed for the property that they own, but share ownership in common areas of their community as

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The ABC’s of HOA’s

When you purchase a home that is part of a Home Owners Association (HOA), you agree to live by certain rules set up by that HOA. The HOA usually charges a monthly fee and in exchange will provide the homeowners

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Thinking Of A Gated Community? Seven Things To Consider First

On the surface, it’s easy to see the appeal of buying property in a gated community, but there’s more to consider the more closely you look. Aside from the clean, well-maintained aesthetic and peace of mind that comes with a

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No Regrets: How to Research a New-Construction Condo Before You Buy (NY)

Recently I was considering buying a condo in a four-unit new-construction building in Brooklyn. The pictures of the unit in the glossy marketing materials, naturally, looked gorgeous. But after some intensive digging into the building and its developer, I bailed.

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Pros and Cons of Gated and Non-Gated Community Associations: Thoughts and Considerations

A safe neighborhood is a top priority of home buyers. For many of these home buyers, a gated community is an attractive option. The gate represents protection from the outside world by the careful monitoring of those entering the community.

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The Home Buying Trends of Millennials and Their Impact on HOAs

Millennials are at an age where they’re eager to become homeowners. They’re raising children, building themselves up as active members of their community, and looking for homes where they can grow. Therefore, it’s important that you understand the home buying

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The budget process and determining your condo fee

I often hear buyers proclaim that a condo fee is “too high” yet these same buyers seem not to know exactly what determines a condo fee. It is impossible to assess if the fee is “too high” without knowing the

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A Rude Awakening: Your Board May Not Have the Right to Screen Leases and Sales at All! (FL)

Even in the frenzy of post-Irma repairs, ordinary life continues and for most volunteer boards and professional managers that means screening applicants who wish to lease or purchase in their communities.  However, purchase and rental screening has become such a

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Condo financing aimed at renters

The rising cost and scarcity of undeveloped land will continue to change how and where we live.  What we have long thought of as alternative housing is getting more consideration in many conventional neighborhoods. Traditional East Coast co-op apartments and

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The 411 on Community Associations

There are thousands of community associations and many of them are full of owners who are unaware of how their association functions. This post provides the information owners should know in order to understand the most important community association basics.

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5 Ways Hawaii Condo Dwellers Can Protect Themselves

When I accompanied our daughter in her search to buy a condominium in Honolulu a few years ago, we didn’t even think to ask the real estate agent if the unit we liked had a fire sprinkler system or how

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REAL ESTATE MATTERS: HOA’s actions raises red flags for home buyer

Q: My wife and I made an offer on a property in a self-managed Virginia community of single-family homes. Our offer hinged, in part, on the sales agent’s assurance that maintenance of the community’s private roads was totally covered by

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HOA’s lack of transparency raises red flags for home buyer

Q: My wife and I made an offer on a property in a self-managed Virginia community of single-family homes. Our offer hinged, in part, on the sales agent’s assurance that maintenance of the community’s private roads was totally covered by current

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How a Strong HOA Reserve Fund Effects Home Prices!

Reserve contributions are often relegated to “what’s left” status in the budget process, regularly characterized by Board members and homeowners, as a problem for future owners. We’ve been challenging this way of thinking for over 30 years, and finally, there’s

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Here’s Looking at Resales, Kid. (Understanding HOA & Condo Resale Disclosures)

Getting a resale certificate can make a community association manager feel like they are reliving the classic movie Casablanca. While it’s good to see an opportunity for some extra cash coming in, the amount of trouble that goes with it

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New owners are liable for past-due assessments (FL)

Question: Our HOA recently discovered that two houses in our development had closings without receiving estoppels. An attorney handling one closing emailed a request for an estoppel. Our request form was emailed back, along with instructions on how to deliver

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What to Do When Your HOA Oversteps Its Bounds

A Home Owners Association (HOA) sets many rules and restrictions for homeowners. Regulations usually deal with architectural or landscaping restrictions or how many pets you own. But can the HOA choose who buys a home? The answer to that question

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How to Get the Most Value From Your HOA

The goal of living in an area with community association management in place is to maintain high property values and make sure that your community is an enjoyable place to live. Don’t take your homeowners association for granted. Your HOA

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Buying a Home in a Community Association: Part Two – Evaluating an HOA’s Health

So your diligent search for that home of your dreams has finally led you to one that fits all your criteria. However, it is in an association, and you have known people who belonged to condo or homeowners associations (HOAs)

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Real Estate Claims of “Strong Reserves” – Be Careful!

But one trend that continues to surprise me is how often claims of “excellent condo association reserves” and “strong association reserves” appear in our weekly monitoring reports. By following the links, I discover that these phrases on condo listings from

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What Are FHA-Approved Condos?

Federal Housing Administration condominiums are properties that can be purchased using FHA loans—or loans that are insured by the FHA. What requirements must these condos meet to be approved by the FHA? And where should you go to search for

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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Homeowners Associations

When you finally buy your own home after years of renting, you might think you’re done following someone else’s rules (bye-bye, landlord!). But if you’re considering a house or condo within a planned development, you may find yourself answering to

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Condo Docs – What You Need To Know Before Buying A Condo

So you’ve been checking out Panama City Beach condos for sale, and you’ve found a condo you love. Once you start the purchasing process, you’re going to be faced with a lot of documents. Condominium documents (sometimes called “condo docs”)

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Buying a Home in a Community Association: Part One – Dispelling Common Myths

If you are in the market to buy a new home, it’s very likely that at least some of those that you see are located in a community with a homeowners association (HOA). An HOA is an organization that makes

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Buying A Pre-Construction Condo Is All About Risk And Reward

The pre-construction phase is a popular time to buy a new home or condo, for a number of reasons. Usually at this stage in the game, the home builder offers more competitive pricing to raise the funds needed to get

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Florida couple stunned to learn $458,000 paid for gulffront condo may be for nothing

On June 8, a condo overlooking the Gulf of Mexico in North Redington Beach sold at a Pinellas County foreclosure auction for $458,000.  The winning bidders, an Orlando couple, thought they had gotten a good deal on the 1,500-square unit

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Be aware of HOA fees & what they provide

Being familiar with HOA fees and charges is an important part of budgeting. Though there aren’t any average HOA dues, factors vary from universal expenses shared by the residents and can be charged by the square footage of a unit.

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What You Need To Know Before You Buy In A Planned Community

A particularly active spring storm season left pockmarked roofs and tumbled fences throughout North Texas this year, including many in my master-planned community, thanks to an EF0 tornado that blew its way through the neighborhood (thankfully missing my house –

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Real Estate Advice: What to expect with condo documents (MA)

Q: I am in the market for a condominium. This will be my first home. Can you explain the different documents I should be getting and the purpose of each?    Read the Q&A……………..

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Why you need to check with the HOA about building defects before buying that condo

I am planning to buy a condominium, which is part of a homeowner association (HOA). I observed that a couple of units have exterior issues. It looks like bubbles are in the siding. However, the unit I am looking at

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Understanding the pros and cons of Homeowners’ Associations

As a homeowner in an estate or boomed-off area, a buyer may be required to join a Homeowners’ Association (HOA), which means adhering to numerous rules and regulations stipulated by the HOA.   Read the article…………..

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HOA basics: What to know before you buy

Before signing on the dotted line for your new home, make sure you know what your homeowners association fees are and what they cover.  Because most new planned communities have HOAs whether you’re buying a detached home, condo or townhome,

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When is selling entire condo building the best move?

A condominium association enters into myriad negotiations for goods and services. Sometimes the best deal is to sell itself. That is, to sell the entire property to an investor or multifamily developer who will turn the condo units into apartment

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Self-Managed Condos and HOAs: They Look Like Big Bargains, but Beware

If you’re looking to buy a house or condo but are balking at the steep monthly HOA or condo fees, one budget-friendly alternative is to find a self-managed condo or HOA instead. That means rather than paying a management company

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How can my condo fee be too low?

I often hear the question “Why is this condo fee so high?” by both potential buyers as well as agents. But I ask the opposite question of some condominiums, “Is this condo fee too low?”   It shows me that

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Should Your Next Home Have An HOA?

If you’ve ever bought a home — or considered buying one — then you know there are dozens of questions that need to be answered in the quest for finding your perfect place. In order to calculate how much you

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HOA basics: What to know before you buy

Before signing on the dotted line for your new home, make sure you know what your homeowners association fees are and what they cover. Because most new planned communities have HOAs whether you’re buying a detached home, condo or townhome,

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A Checklist For Selling Your Condominium

You’ve been reading countless articles in the paper about overwhelming demand for real estate and, after much thought, you have decided to take advantage of the strong seller’s market and sell your condo. While many local media stories suggest that

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Association Disclosures Under Section 22.1 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act

The focus of this article is to provide a brief overview on the disclosures provided in Illinois by a condominium association to a prospective buyer of a unit and: (a) what is mandated by law; (b) what current practice is;

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Condos may be appreciating faster than single-family houses

It’s a real estate question that historically has had an easy answer: Do single-family detached houses appreciate in value faster than condominiums?  The standard answer has been: Of course single-family houses appreciate faster. They are what most Americans prefer to

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Co-op and Condo Financing: A Market Overview

Today, some eight years after the economic devastation of the Great Recession first began to gather steam, financing for co-op and condominium buildings and individual unit purchases is again widely available. The market is overall quite healthy, and though there

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Are HOAs Taking Advantage of Mortgage Servicers?

While Homeowner Association (HOA) liens for unpaid assessments typically have priority over second mortgages and other junior liens (because the HOA liens may “relate back to” the HOAs’ previously-recorded declarations), first mortgages receive special treatment in various states, such as

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Rosie on the House: What to know when buying home in HOA (AZ)

Thousands of communities in Arizona are run by homeowners’ associations. There are benefits and difficulties you need to think about if you’re thinking of buying a home run by one of these groups. Here are questions to ask about the

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What is an HOA?

It is often said that you’re buying more than a home, you’re buying a neighborhood. Nowhere is that truer than in neighborhoods governed by a homeowners’ association (HOA).  Homeowners’ associations are nothing if not controversial. Some residents appreciate having, in

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New Homeowners: What Association Fees Really Do

All my life I listened to adults who had nothing but resentment for their HOAs. My parents’ second house was in an HOA managed community that had $175 in yearly (yes, yearly!) fees, most of which went toward the upkeep

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Carefully review CC&R before purchasing a home with HOA

It wasn’t too long ago that a California Court ordered a man to pay $70,000 for violating a homeowner association (HOA) rule limiting the number of rose bushes he could have to 14. The HOA levied fines against the man

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Consider rules before buying or renting HOA-governed properties

Many people looking for rental properties are turning to condos and townhomes as a less expensive alternative to renting a single-family home. Many of these communities have some nice amenities to offer such as pools, clubhouses, gyms and community parks

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HOA 101: An Introduction to Living in an HOA

So you purchased a property in a community governed by a homeowners association (HOA).  But what does that really mean?  What are your rights and benefits under this structure?  How does an HOA really run?  Where can you turn if

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HOAs/Condominiums Want to Know: What is a Transfer Fee in North Carolina?

A common question that we get from developers, managers, and HOA Boards is “what exactly is a transfer fee?”  Although the term “transfer fee” is often used loosely to mean several different things, state statute defines the term generally to

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