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Real Estate Questions

  1. How much are the dues?
  2. What do the dues include? Do they include utilities? Do they include the Mtn. Top Assessment?
  3. What is the history of dues increases and why?
  4. Look at the last few years of financials, and the most recent approved budget.
  5. Does the HOA have a reserve?
  6. Does the reserve have allocations for where the money is to be spent? Otherwise called a component list.
  7. When is the last time the reserve was updated? Was the update done internally or an outside firm.
  8. What are the rules and policies concerning the reserves.
  9. When is the last time the Association had a special assessment.
  10. How many units are in the HOA.
  11. How often does the board meet? Read the last three years of board meeting minutes.
  12. How active is the board? does the HOA have committees?  Some HOA's because of their size will not have committees or hire outside guidance to perform a reserve study.
  13. If you are planning on putting your unit on the rental plan, make sure you ask for the rental income for units of the same size within the same HOA's.
  14. Make sure you have the most recent copy of the Bylaws, Declarations, and any policies or procedures.   HOA's that usually do not have policies rely only on their Bylaws and Declarations to enforce the rules and regulations. 
  15. Do you have a Pet? What are the rules on Pets?
Your realtor should know the answer to all of these questions, if not before you buy ask to talk to the board president, or if the HOA is professionally managed ask to speak to the HOA Manager.
Just remember, because one HOA's dues are higher then another, it is probably due to larger common areas, more amenities, or some HOA's strive to be 100 percent funded in their reserves, while others may not know what their percent funded or elect to only be 50 to 60 percent funded and rely on special assessments or deferred maintenance programs instead of repairing the items as they are needed or become obsolete.