7 Things to Know About Homeowners Associations

Homeowners Associations

Did you know that around 80% of newly built homes belong to a homeowners association (HOA)? Planned communities are on the rise, but what does it mean to live within one of these neighborhoods?

What is an HOA, and what does an HOA do? Keep reading to learn all about homeowners associations here.

What is a Homeowners Association (HOA)?

A homeowners association (HOA) is an organization within planned communities or townhouse and condominium developments. HOAs oversee the properties in their jurisdiction and create and enforce communal areas and member’s properties. In this way, your investment is protected and even causes an increase in home value.

Fees Range Widely

When joining an HOA, you have to pay a particular set of fees. HOA fees are paid monthly to support community maintenance, civic amenities (sanitation, recycling, and some utilities), access to facilities (residential pool, gym, clubhouses, rec center, etc.,) and other expenses.

Some communities also cover lawn care, snow removal, and pest control for tenants with HOA fees.

These fees can range widely depending on what the HOA offers, type of home, location, and size of the community. On average, payments range from $200-$300 for single homes.

Additional Fees May Apply

Standard HOA fees included in your contract do not tend to change. However, you may be subject to pay additional fees. HOAs may charge for special assessments to pay for renovations in the neighborhood; some renovations (and charges) are unexpected, so it is best to add this to your budget.

Other fees you may face are fines. When you sign the contract, you agree to comply with those rules. If you violate an enforced regulation, like excessive noise or unapproved design changes, you could receive a warning or fine.

Insurance

HOAs provide insurance coverage and liability protections for communal properties in their jurisdiction.

Regardless of whether you make use of amenities like a fitness center or parking garage, you are still responsible for paying the HOA “master policy.” Master policies may protect aspects of your home but still need a personal plan for your condo or home.

Fees And Your Mortgage Approval

The fees you pay to an HOA may impact your mortgage qualification abilities. Lenders consider these fees when determining whether you will be able to pay back your loan.

Your DTI (debt to income) ratio may lower your offers or approval odds.

The HOA’s Reputation

Is an HOA bad? Is an HOA good?

HOAs tend to get a bad rep due to poorly managed organizations, overly strict guidelines, or lack of communication. There are plenty of positive aspects of belonging to an HOA; however, you should always read any paperwork in detail and consider whether you can afford the dues and additional fees before joining a community headed by one.

Compliance With The HOA

Rules and regulations are outlined in a Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R).

CC&Rs let tenants (or prospective buyers) know about membership dues when payments are made, your rights as members, and the limitations. As HOA, you have to comply with restrictions on paint colors, the state of your yard, and so on.

What Are The Amenities, Parking, and Pet Restrictions?

HOA amenities are often limited to members who pay for those services (with HOA fees). Parking is commonly restricted to certain vehicles, where to park, or how many cars per single home.

Lastly, pets may be restricted to one or two per household, specific breeds, weights/sizes, and enforce leash and collar rules.

Consider These 7 Things Before Making Your Decision About Homeowners Associations

The benefits of joining a homeowners association are plentiful. Consider the fees, insurance, regulations, and restrictions when making your decision whether or not to join a neighborhood with an HOA. Want to know more about your home buying options in Salt Lake City?

Contact us here or check out our blog for more information about moving to SLC, Utah.

The Brief Guide That Makes Choosing and Hiring a Realtor Simple

Your-Personal-Realtor

Does thinking about hiring a realtor gives you a headache?

How many of your neighbors and friends have handed you their business card? Chances are, you’ve got quite a few. It seems everyone and their uncle is a real estate agent nowadays.

How do you sift through the endless sea of licensed agents and find one that’s the right fit for you?

It can be a stressful task without any guidance. And deciding to work with the wrong one can be just as stressful!

But don’t worry! We’re here for you. Here are 8 quick tips to show you how to choose a real estate broker.

A Crash Course in Hiring A Realtor

  1. Availability– In a hot market when you are buying or selling, you need to have an agent that has time for you or you will miss out on some good houses
  2. Market Knowledge– Look for an agent that specializes in the area you want to buy or sell in and knows the market stats
  3. Experience– An experienced agent can help to get your home sold faster and also offer you a network of other professionals (mortgage lenders, home inspectors, etc.) to help with whatever you may need throughout the process
  4. Resources– Hiring a realtor who understands the whole picture is critical when dealing with things like financing, contracts, contingencies, and addendums
  5. New Marketing: Social Media– Marketing your house has changed to the point where you need an agent who has an active, professional presence on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn
  6. The agent sells real estate full time– Finding an agent who sells houses full-time means they will have more time to work on your home, and they’ve been successful enough-and been successful long enough-at it not to need another part-time job
  7. Ask your friends and family for suggestions– Agents who are good at what they can work on referral business alone, so someone you know may have worked with a rock star agent who can’t be found on the traditional marketing platforms.
  8. They are willing to listen– You can spot an agent who won’t listen to their customers from a mile away, and chances are they won’t fall in-line with any of the other 7 tips we’ve given you, but just be on the lookout for them!

Bringing it Home

Buying or selling a house is the biggest decision most people make in their lives because of the high price tag, and people are usually buying or selling in association with some other life event going on(having a baby, getting married, getting a new job, or downsizing because of an “empty nest”).

Here at Market Source Real Estate, we understand how complicated hiring a realtor can seem. We’re here to help and show you that it can be a simple, pain-free process.

We pride ourselves on putting our clients’ needs first and will answer any questions you have to help put your mind at ease.

This is your life, your house, and we want you to be 100% certain you’re in the best hands for the job.

Call Monique to get started, or subscribe to our blog to keep updated on what’s going on in Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas.

Choosing Investment Properties in Utah

Don’t let the fear of being a landlord keep you from looking into purchasing investment properties. In fact, investment properties can generate great passive income and there are several options for managing the property that can make you a passive participant.

Consider taking a landlord

If you do not think you can manage your investment by yourself, be sure to calculate property management fees into your strategy. Be sure you learn about fair housing laws and other laws that pertain to the property you are considering purchasing.

Consider taking a landlord or Property Management class to learn how to select tenants, screen them to be sure they qualify, etc.

Be aware

Be aware that many condo complexes have rental restrictions. You will make sure you have covered all these before proceeding.

If you choose a home that needs a lot of repairs you will get more phone calls from the tenants, and you may have more liability if protections like smoke detectors, safe electrical systems, etc are not in the home.

Choose your strategy

Choose your strategy. Generally, you get good cash flow or better appreciation. Homes in suburbs of SLC tend to cash flow better because of lower price points but do not go up in value as much as areas like downtown, sugar house, near universities, etc.

If you limit or deny pets, you will limit your pool of potential renters. If you allow pets, be sure to get pet deposits and pet rent.

Please Note: We’re continuing to post about local businesses, events, and area attractions; however, things often change due to COVID-19 restrictions.  So please, double-check before you visit any of our recommended spots to confirm availability, accessibility, or any restrictions.  Stay safe. Be well. And support Local! Thank you. 

More information and tips can be found here:

Why You Should Work With a Realtor

Summer Housing Trends

How To Find and Work With a Property Manager

How To Find & Work With a Property Manager

Making the decision to work with a property manager or management company is not one to take lightly. After all, having an investment property is a big undertaking in itself, you defiantly need a reliable property manager to entrust it to. Hiring the right property manager will defiantly make the rental process much easier for you in the long run.

Here are a few tips when looking for one to hire.

 

Do your research.

 

Find out how many other properties they manage and how many are vacant.

 

  • How do they advertise property that is available for rent?
  • Are there any negative reviews about them?
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau and Real Estate Commission as well.

Ask for referrals.

 

Real estate agents are a great resource when looking to hire a property manager.

Ask around to other property owners, who do you know that also has rental property? Who do they use? Check with the Better Business Bureau and Real Estate Commission for this as well.

 

Meet with them in person before hiring them.

 

Often your first impressions are the best way to decide. Meet with him/her to get a sense of their professionalism, knowledge etc. Get clarification on how they can be reached, text, phone call, email etc. There is nothing more frustrating than hiring someone to manage something and they are difficult to reach when needed.

Look over the contract with a critical eye.

 

If something seems off or unfair, ask for clarification. Do not sign anything until you are certain that this property manager best suits your needs. Also make sure the costs are in line with your expectations and other companies.

Property management is a competitive field, doing your due diligence will pay off and you will enjoy the extra income the rental property can provide by choosing the best person/company for the job.

Looking for more tips on real estate?  Check out these recent posts:

 

Tips for Moving with Children

Why You Should Work With a Realtor

Why Work With a Real Estate Relocation Agent?