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What is a Community Association? Unwrapping the Riddle

There are approximately 14,000 planned communities located throughout North Carolina, but very few of the nearly 3 million residents of such communities have a clear understanding of what the heck the community association really is that serves their planned community

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Realtor gives tips on avoiding HOA nightmares (FL)

The beauty of buying a home is a dream for many. It’s incredibly exciting when you finally sign on the dotted line.  Then you realize you have to tack on more fees from your homeowner’s association and possibly deal with

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What homeowners need to know about having an HOA (AZ)

Perhaps because ours is a young state with lots of new planned developments and condominium projects, Arizona has 8,800 homeowners associations.  It’s possible you already live in an HOA or maybe you’re thinking about moving to a home with an

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What You Need To Know About HOA Pet Restrictions

Recently, we were house hunting in a state saturated with homeowner associations (HOA). It seemed every neighborhood had some type of strict HOA rule. This was our first HOA experience, and we were a bit nervous because we share our

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What Does it Means to Live in a HOA?

It happens more than you might think. Home buyers get excited about purchasing a home in a surprisingly well manicured community. They later discover, upon receipt of the bill for their assessments, that their well-kept neighborhood costs money – their

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Buying Into an HOA, Part 3

The amount of paperwork is staggering. When buying property that is part of a homeowners’ association (HOA), the paper work is increased due to a statutorily-mandated set of additional disclosures regarding the HOA (Civil Code Sections 1365 – 1368 and

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Low-owner occupancy boosts condo loan costs (MA)

Q. Dear Rick: I’m thinking of buying a condominium this spring. One of the things I’ve been warned about is “low owner-occupancy” condo projects. Can you explain what those are, and why I should be careful of them?    Read

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What Are Restrictive Covenants? Read These Rules Before You Buy

If you’re looking to buy a home in a community run by a homeowners association, or HOA, then you may have also heard that in order to join the club, you’ll have to abide by its restrictive covenants. So what

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Your how-to guide to a condo purchase

Condominium ownership offers convenience, security, luxury and comfort. But it also comes with its own vocabulary. Don’t let the lingo overwhelm you – here’s a quick guide to common terms you will need to know if you’re purchasing a condo.

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HOA Homefront: How can you tell if an association is well-run?

Common interest developments, or homeowner associations, house about one third of Californians, and most new housing stock is established in HOAs. Can buyers determine whether an association residence is a good investment, or if the HOA is healthy? Is it

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Townhomes, Condos, Co-ops And More: Property Type Affects Mortgage Approval

Many homes don’t look like the Equal Housing logo featured in real estate and mortgage ads.  And they don’t all have white picket fences either. But, they can be financed, if you understand how your property type affects your mortgage

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10 Tips for Buying a Home in a Gated Community

After dreaming about living abroad for years, some retirees can finally afford to buy the perfect house in a beautiful gated community in an overseas paradise. Perhaps you’re ready to sign on the dotted line, hand over the cash and

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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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