Roseann & Michael Flavin's Blog
Purchasing a property in a planned development, gated community or a place with leased land can seem confusing due to regulations. The biggest difference in buying one of these properties instead of a single family home comes with one main difference: additional fees. HOA stands for Home Owner’s Association, which is what you’re obligated to join when you purchase a home within a community. You’ll pay the association monthly or annual fees for the upkeep of community centers and buildings within the complex. Before you decide to buy, it’s a good idea to know how these fees work and how to get the most for your money when purchasing a home with HOA fees.
HOA Fees 101
HOA fees range from about $200-$400 a month. If you’re looking to move into a more upscale community or are looking for a lot of amenities, expect to pay more for your fee. The association may charge an extra assessment if additional funds are needed for projects such as a new roof or a new pool.
All residents in condos or town homes are equally responsible for the common maintenance such as landscaping, garages, fitness rooms, pools, clubhouses and sidewalks. HOA fees are said to help homeowners maintain a certain quality of life within their community and keep the properties safe and pleasant for all residents.
Homeowner’s Associations have certain rules that all residents must follow. These can include what color your house can be, what type of landscaping you can do, if you can install satellite TV, or where you are able to park your car. These rules are pretty similar to the ones that you would need to follow if you were living in an apartment building. If you’d like to do anything outside of the rules of the HOA, you’ll need to file what’s called a variance with the association in order to get approval. All in all, it’s important to obey the rules when you’re living in a property governed by an HOA, otherwise, hefty consequences can result.
Tips For Successful Living In A Community Setting
- Know the rules
- Make sure that the home you want to buy is in compliance with current HOA standards
- Be sure your temperament matches with community living
Questions To Ask About HOA Fees
- How are fee increases set?
- How often do fee increases occur?
- What is covered under the HOA fee?
- What conflicts have occurred in the association and how were they resolved?
- What kind of insurance is on the building?
Home Owner’s Association Fees are a good thing because they prevent major issues like horrible paint colors and parking issues from ruining a community. However, when purchasing a home in a community setting, you need to be smart about what the fees cover and if living in that community has your best interests in mind.
If you’re in the process of selling your home, your agent will most likely be making calls to you relating that she will be showing your home to potential buyers. While you’re probably excited to sell your home, there’s no doubt that home showings can happen at the worst possible times! Here’s some tips to help you prepare for any home showing in a hurry:
Sweep up your kitchen and bathrooms Spot clean in any necessary areas to remove stains.
Get Out Your Duster
Quickly wipe down any of your furniture, televisions, screens and other objects that really show dust in your home. You don’t need to go crazy, just make sure that everything is clean.
Don’t leave tons of stuff hanging around on your counters. Your counters should be wiped down and clear of clutter for your home showing.
Make Your Bed
Heed your mother’s advice and make your bed. There’s nothing more unattractive at a home showing than beds that haven’t been made or items strewn across the bedroom. If you have some time, take a look at your bedding and see if it looks presentable, as in free from rips and stains. If not, consider replacing the existing bedding for an even better impression.
Give your carpets a once over with the vacuum cleaner. This will pick up any surface dirt and make the carpets look, smell and feel fresher.
Empty The Trash
Empty all of your trash cans. Spray them down with a disinfectant spray so that there’s no lingering odors.
Brighten It Up
When your home is being shown, the lights should be on. A bright home is an attractive home!
Clean Your Dishes
Put all of your dirty dishes in the dishwasher. There shouldn’t be any dirty dishes left out and around during a home showing. Also, you don’t want any of your appliances running while potential buyers are visiting.
Put Clothes Away
Your clothes should be loaded into the washer and dryer as well. No dirty (or clean) clothes should be lingering around the house. Potential buyers don’t need to see the latest styles that you’re wearing!
Put Your Stuff Away
Every room should be given a once over. Everything should be off of the floors, counters and furniture. This will make your home look very presentable and attractive to buyers.
Although a home showing may seem overwhelming, buyers like to picture what your home will look like once they’re the new occupants. The short amount of time that you spend on making your home look tidy can make a big difference in finding the right buyer for your property.
One strategy that may help is to focus on multiple benefits, rather that just the most obvious or immediate one. A prime example is using your car less often. Although the price of gasoline isn't as steep as it used to be, daily use of your automobile could easily result in less money in your pocket (or bank account) at the end of the month. While many of us are in the habit of jumping in our car every time we need to pick up a few odds and ends at the corner drugstore or neighborhood supermarket, you'll invariably save money --and often enjoy other benefits-- if you consider alternatives to automobile use.
- Walk instead of drive. If you're fortunate enough to live relatively close to stores that you frequent, you could save money on gas and automobile maintenance by putting on your walking shoes more often and hoofing it. As a secondary benefit, you'd also be getting exercise, burning calories, getting fresh air, and taking in some essential vitamin D from the sun. By taking steps to maintain your health, you'll also have more energy, be more productive, and tend to miss fewer days of work. Not everyone lives close enough to local stores to be able to walk there on a regular basis (or at all), but for those who do, there are many advantages.
- Carpool to work. This option doesn't occur to everyone because, among other things, we're creatures of habit. We get in the well-worn habit of driving back and forth to work by ourselves, every day, and we don't stop to think that there is a money-saving alternative. When you share the cost and responsibility of driving, you're literally cutting your commuting expenses in half. You're also getting a break from the stress and tedium of commuting in rush-hour traffic. Having someone to talk to during the drive can also make the trip go by much faster -- assuming you enjoy the company of your carpooling companion(s)!
- Public transportation may be a viable alternative. If you happen to live and work in an urban environment, you may already be availing yourself of the benefits of public transportation. In addition to saving money on gas and avoiding driving-related stress, there's the added benefit of being able to read a book, listen to relaxing music, or prepare for a presentation on your way in.
- Telecommute whenever possible. More and more employers are helping themselves and their employees save money by offering work-from-home options. If you have the opportunity to telecommute a couple days a week, the savings in gas, wear-and-tear on your car, and the cost of lunches out can add up quickly!
If it looks like you're filling up your gas tank every time you turn around, not to mention burning through your paycheck too fast, then finding ways to reduce gas consumption may be one way to stretch your dollar farther.
There’s a lot of design trends that you’ll want to keep up with as a homeowner. What are people doing to their backyards to make them more beautiful? What types of countertops are buyers looking for these days? Some trends are beneficial. However, there’s a lot of trends that can be detrimental to your home. You want your home to be an expression of who you are, however, there are some trends that just aren’t attractive to buyers.
Bright And Bold May Not Be Beautiful
While that lime green room may look really attractive to you, it probably won’t look as good to anyone else. The best colors for paint inside of your home are the neutral colors. These include beiges, grays and soft whites. The most important thing is to keep your paint color consistent throughout your home. Not that you can’t change shades from room to room, but don’t make the paint change too drastic.
No One Really Likes Shiny Things
As much as you may like shiny accessories throughout the home, it’s not going to be everyone’s thing. Although people will be decorating your home on their terms once they buy it, it’s important to note that busy isn’t always better. People need to be able to see past how you have set up your home to see the potential it holds for them.
An Open Floor Plan That’s Too Open
You can take the idea of an open floor plan to an extreme. There are certain rooms in the home that just deserve privacy. The bathrooms and the bedrooms need walls surrounding them to give people the space and quiet that they need. If there’s no good way for you to fix this issue, you may want to find some room screens before your open house in order to keep buyers interested.
Converted Rooms Squash Vision
If you have a third bedroom that you have converted into a home gym, that’s great for you. It may be hard for other people visiting the home to realize what the room could be used for. You may not have to move everything before an open house, but try to keep the room open for possibility.
Carpeting Kills Buyer’s Dreams
There’s not many more terrifying things to buyers than walking into a home and seeing wall-to-wall carpeting. Their minds race, thinking of the possibilities of how to get beloved hardwood floors into the picture. If there’s floor under your carpet and you know you're going to sell soon, you’d be wise to tear up the carpet and polish up those floors. It will attract more buyers and sell faster because people will know they have that much less work to do once they move in.
The important point here is that when you’re getting ready to show your home, you’ll want to take your personality out of the picture. Buyers need to have space to get the vision to see how they can make your former home their own. Reversing a few of the personal upgrades that you have made to your home can help you to make it a more welcoming place for new owners to begin a journey.