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Homes for Sale in Denver in an HOA Community: Get the Facts

March 8, 2016

For anyone who has lived next to a neighbor who refused to pull their 4 foot tall weeds or bring their barking dog in at night, having a neighborhood advocate to deal with the problem probably sounded like an amazing deal. Select neighborhoods in Denver like Mayfair and Montclair will have HOA’s to research and understand - mainly for the process of keeping in line with the neighborhood’s aesthetic and history above all else. HOA’s do have their advantages but if you are considering moving into a HOA community, it’s definitely a subject you should ask a few questions about. An HOA is not only a lawn police force, they often have power to force eviction or foreclosure on a home for non-payment of fees and fines or repeated non-compliance with rules. Your real estate agent should be able to give you some insight as to who to contact to ask questions about your potential home’s HOA. If you can find someone to talk to who lives in the community but is not on the HOA committee, you may gain more valuable insight into what the HOA actually does from an inside perspective.

Some Questions you Might Ask:

What are the outside appearance requirements?  

Some HOA’s simply require that lawns are maintained, and paint is kept looking fresh - however, some actually require written permission to paint or make any landscape changes. HOA’s are actually responsible for touching up paint and outdoor fixtures in some communities. If you like coming home to a row of manicured lawns in front of uniform looking houses this may be a great benefit for you. If you are someone who likes to paint their garage door green if they feel like it, or experiment with ornamental grasses and different plants and shrubs, you may run into issues.

Are there parking restrictions?  

The fact that the across the street neighbor won’t have the muscle car they’ve been restoring since 1985 parked in front of your house is great, but parking restrictions may be further reaching than that. It’s important to ask how many vehicles you are allowed to have if you’re a large family with many drivers.  Some communities don’t allow recreational vehicle parking not only on the street, but in driveways either.  If you like to keep your boat or trailer handy for a spontaneous mountain excursion, this could present a problem. There may also be a no-work-vehicle clause involved in the rules, which would restrict certain vehicles from even being on your property. These are all important things to ask prior to moving in to be sure the rules won’t interfere with your normal day to day life or plans for the future.

What are the procedures for dispute management?  

This is important to find out both for disputes between neighbors as well as disputes between the HOA and homeowners. An HOA running with impunity and without oversight almost always spells trouble.

What are the fees and what do they include?

Snow removal, street cleaning, fall leaf removal, painting, and sidewalk maintenance are things the HOA might oversee. Fees might also include amenities such as, swimming pool access, gym membership, or special discounts for home services. It’s also important to ask to see a history of fee increases. If fees regularly jump up by large percentages, it might become something that becomes unaffordable at some point and non-payment of fees is something that could cost you your home, even if you are current on your mortgage.

There are many benefits but many potential burdens to HOA living. Asking pertinent questions before buying will prevent any unwanted surprises in the long run. CHeck in with your real estate experts at Elevation Realty to understand the rules and regulations in the neighborhood you are looking into - trust the advice and the experience of the locals! Get started today with a call or contact us now for more information. Learn more helpful tips and advice like How to Avoid the Mistakes First-Time Home Buyers Make.