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What to do when looking at property governed by an HOA

For some property owners in Colorado, there is nothing worse than finding the perfect home only to learn that there is a homeowners association in place. That disappointment often lingers whether the person intended to purchase the home as personal or investment property.

The reason is obvious. HOAs make the news for more negative than positive reasons. They may place restrictions on not just how a property looks, but who can live there and what they can do. Many real estate investors may find that they have bought property that they are unable to rent for the short term, long term or both.  

According to Fox News, when someone purchases property that is governed by the HOA, joining that HOA is mandatory. The property owner has no choice but to pay the membership dues and abide by the rules set by the governing body. Some homeowners may decide to ignore the rules and dues, but these requirements are legally enforceable and could lead to the HOA seizing the property.

There is one proactive way to help avoid this. Before purchasing property in an HOA-development, meet with the board and other homeowners. Find out what the rules are and determine whether or not this aligns with current and future development plans.

Forbes also recommends doing a cost analysis to see whether or not the services and perks provided are worth the cost. It is also well to note that HOA fees may increase over time. Sometimes there are scheduled dollar value increases or percentage increases.

For some people, an HOA is a welcome part of owning property as these organizations help homes to retain and even increase their value. However, for homeowners who value their freedom and would prefer to use HOA fees to build equity, it is best to seek out property that is HOA-free.

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