A HOA database would be fantastic!
Roland López has been helping clients buy and sell properties for 21 years in the Passaic and Bergen Counties in New Jersey. Recently, the realtor talked to EasyMGT about his experience with Homeowners Associations (HOA).
Do you deal with properties in communities that have HOAs?
Although they aren't my specialty, yes, I have dealt with them.
Do you usually look for the regulations and the HOA information at the same time you are looking for a property for your clients?
No, first I try to find the property, and if the client likes it, then I look for the information.
Where do you look for this information?
Once the client has expressed interest, I contact the leasing or sale agent to get that information. Sometimes, certain norms or regulations appear in the property listing. When someone has a property for sale, he or she usually specify if there is a rule that is not very common or is very particular.
What kind of regulations would you see disclosed in a listing?
For examples, there are properties that only allow pets under certain weight, or don't allow pets at all. It is key to disclose this kind of information in the listing.
Besides the leasing or sale agent, have you tried getting that information online?
Frankly, I don't think there is a site with this kind of information. I haven't seen regulations of specific communities on internet. In my experience, each association has their rules in print or they send the documents by email and that is how I get the information that later I pass on to the client.
Have you had cases in which the client regrets his/her property transaction after learning the regulations of the HOA?
I don't remember a specific case but in talking to other realtors and at meet and greets with clients there's always anecdotes about the lady that couldn't change the color of her curtains, or the guy that can't have a party in his house after midnight due to rules in their communities.
There is an initiative, by EasyMGT, to have the biggest database in the US of communities and HOAs information where you could search the regulations by typing just the name of the community.
That would be fantastic. That would help tremendously because a lot of people end up disappointed or complaining about their property once they find out about a certain restriction.
What would be your advice for home seekers that are considering properties in communities with HOAs?
If they can go to a website that can provide this kind of specific information about condominium complexes and townhouses communities, please do it, because it would be of great help, for them and for us, realtors. If they can find answers to questions, like, who does the maintenance or who pays for any remodeling, exterior and interior, or if the property owner can hire his/her own contractor or have to hire someone from a list approved by the property manager. This is one of the most important things because is not the same to have a friend helping you with some home repairs than as having to hire someone dictated by your property manager, which will probably cost you double.
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