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.

How To Prepare Your Home to Limit Your Liability for Rental and Investment Properties

Rental and Investment Properties
As an owner of rental and investment properties, knowing how to limit your liability is important.

Protecting yourself as a property owner doesn’t have to be complicated. But, many owners fail to take basic steps that could put them at risk for serious exposure down the road.

Fortunately, learning how to prepare your home for renting while limiting liability is pretty straightforward. Here’s how we recommend you go about it.

Get a Home Inspection

Limiting liability in your home starts with a home inspection, which gives you peace of mind that the structure and interior of your home are safe to live in.

It’s also a good way to assess the current state of your rental property. You may discover basic upgrades that you can advertise in your marketing campaign, enabling you to increase rent.

Get Renters Insurance

Renters insurance protects you (and your tenants) from bearing financial responsibility for minor and even catastrophic events.

There are different types of renters insurance—homeowners and landlord insurance are two popular options—that you should weigh the pros and cons with your specific property.

Have a Renter’s Checklist Available

As part of your rental and investment liability strategy, make sure both you and your tenants have skin in the game. You can achieve this by putting together a renter’s checklist that you and they walk through during move-in.

Have both parties sign off on the agreed condition of the home. That way, down the road, you’ll have proof that the home was that way if something happens.

Put Together a Home Inventory List

If you’re still wondering how to reduce landlord liability, make a list of every item in the home. By creating an inventory list, you can organize and plan out your rental and investment property duties.

An inventory list is also a good way to ensure things don’t go missing or get damaged without being noticed. Treat the large and expensive items the same as the smaller and less valuable—everything in your home that holds value should be on your inventory list.

Check Appliances and Make Necessary Repairs

Accidents and injuries caused by appliances result in about 1,000 injuries per year.

Compared to other issues, this number is relatively small. But keeping up to date on your appliance repairs is a great way to protect yourself and limit liability.

Do some research on how often appliances need to be checked and/or upgraded. Keep these on a spreadsheet and perform routine check-ins every 6, 12, or 24 months (or once a season, like spring) based on need. This will also save you money in the long run!

Make Sure You Have All the Permits

Permits are valuable documents that can prevent you from being held liable when an incident happens.

Acquire all the necessary permits—building, zoning, and any others needed for your area—to ensure you are protected in this way, too.

Get Your Unit on the Market With Us!

Thinking about putting your rental and investment properties on the market? Let us help you!

We can put your unit on the market and help educate you with additional resources that limit liability on your part as a landlord or tenant.

Contact us today to see how we can help you!

Keeping Family Vacation Homes in the Family

Keeping Family Vacation Homes in the Family

In the summer of 2020, “cabin fever” took on new meaning and stir-crazy-inducing isolation was de rigueur. So it may come as no surprise to you that the demand for family vacation properties increased last fall. I imagine we were all looking for ways to make the upcoming summer of 2021 much more enjoyable. Were you one of the many swept along in the fervor for a family vacation home? If yes, then, as you get ready to enjoy your new family oasis or head off to the old family cabin, you may be thinking about how to turn your vacation property into a family legacy for future generations to enjoy. Not sure where to start? Use the following three steps to get the ball rolling. 

Have an Honest Conversation

Successfully passing your vacation property to the next generation requires their buy-in. Sit down with your family members and have an open discussion about the property’s future. Your summer haven might be their idea of hell! The oldest may benefit most from the cash of the sale of the property, while the youngest may dream of future generations bonding at the very same family vacation home. Create the best outcome for your family by understanding the wishes and needs of the next generation as you plan how to best pass your vacation property to the next generation. 

 

Create a Plan

Set the next generation up for success by creating a vacation property ownership and management plan and put the plan into writing. The plan should direct how decisions are made, how the property is maintained, and who can become a shared owner in the property. An easy way to begin to make a plan is to create a list of all the tasks and responsibilities associated with your vacation property, including the seemingly minor tasks. Now, find a fair way to divvy up the jobs and responsibilities between the next generation of owners. Your plan should contemplate how the vacation property will be maintained financially and physically. Should the property be rented out to third parties to pay for itself, or should each member of the next generation bear some financial responsibility? You may consider creating roles such as property manager, finance manager, scheduling manager, etc. 

 

Plan for Transfer of Ownership

You have several different tools that you can utilize to transfer ownership of your vacation property to the next generation, including family limited liability companies, trusts, and joint ownership, to name just a few. Whichever tool you use, make sure the plan you created is included. These various tools must be set up properly as they have different impacts on your financial, estate, and tax planning. Legal and financial professionals can assist you in choosing the best vehicle for achieving your goals.

Are you planning a move? Rather than sell your house, why not turn it into a rental property? It’s a great way to get involved in real estate investment and make money.

Are you ready to be a landlord? Get your unit on the market with us!

Meet Jennifer Holmstead: Realtor and Property Management Expert

Jennifer Holmstead

Are you looking for an agent with a background in business and a love for real estate? Market Source agent Jennifer Holmstead has both. She is a longtime resident of Salt Lake City, a graduate of Westminster College, and an employee at Market Source Real Estate. Jennifer has financial training and insider knowledge about the Salt Lake City real estate market.

Background

Jennifer Holmstead bought her first home in late 2006 – right before the crash of real estate prices everywhere. For a few years, she thought there was no chance she could regain the equity she’d lost. So, she threw her efforts into other endeavors and began managing a local business and returning to school.

While studying for an MBA at Westminster College, Jennifer had to analyze her assets. The housing market had rebounded by then, and she realized that her home had become her strongest financial asset.

Becoming a Real Estate Agent

After managing a local business for 15 years, Jennifer was ready for a change. A few years ago, she decided to join her good friend Monique Higginson at Market Source Real Estate.

Monique Higginson founded market Source Real Estate in 2007. Now, it’s a growing office; Jennifer joined a team of more than a dozen agents, staging experts, and marketing experts. One reviewer says that everyone working at Market Source Real Estate is highly professional and focused.

Jennifer found that Monique, one of the top real estate agents in Salt Lake City, was an excellent mentor. Monique, the principal broker at Market Source Real Estate, works hard to bring new hires like Jennifer up to speed. As part of her training, Jennifer worked on over a hundred deals with Monique and felt like she hit the “new agent jackpot.”

Now a fully trained and experienced real estate agent herself,  Jennifer takes on her own clients. Jennifer works to help others achieve the dream of homeownership and attain what her home’s equity has given her: autonomy, freedom, and choice.

Supporting Local Areas

Jennifer loves supporting local communities. As a Westminster College student, she specializes in the Sugar House neighborhood, where the college is located. The Market Source, Real Estate office, is also located in Sugar House, giving Jennifer even more knowledge of the area.

Jennifer enjoys all the benefits Utah has to offer. She loves exploring the diversity of Utah’s attractions: road-tripping through small towns, hiking the Millcreek canyon and camping in the mountains. Sometimes she visits southern Utah to go hiking through its red rock canyons.

At home, she shops at farmers’ markets to support local farmers and relaxes in front of the fire pit in her backyard.

Contact Jennifer Holmstead

If you’re searching for “real estate agents near me,” and you want an agent who is passionate about her city and her real estate customers, contact Jennifer Holmstead. She’ll help you find the house that fits your own personal and financial needs so that you can build your own equity and enjoy financial freedom in your dream home.

Meet Monique Higginson: Her Journey and Involvement With the Sugar House Community Council

Monique Higginson

Are you looking for a Salt Lake City real estate agent who knows how to locate historic buildings? Do you want someone with experience? Do you want someone who not only cares about her community but also works with others to improve it?

Monique Higginson might be the person you’re looking for. Not only has she been voted one of the 500 best real estate agents in Salt Lake City, but she’s also an expert in buying and renovating old homes.

Read on to learn more about Monique Higginson and how she can help you find your dream home.

Background

A lover of architecture and design, Monique earned her degree in art from the University of Utah before turning to real estate. In her 18-year real estate career, she has helped hundreds of clients buy, sell, and invest in homes in Salt Lake City, even in the worst of markets.

Monique founded Market Source Real Estate in 2007. Her hard work, local knowledge, and customer service kept her company strong during the economic downturn.

Historic Buildings

Not only does Monique help clients buy homes, she remodels them as well. After owning 25 homes and remodeling several of them, Monique has learned to treasure each home’s unique characteristics.

Monique loves homes in Salt Lake City’s historic neighborhoods and has renovated several older homes in the Sugar House area. She has managed several construction projects herself. Recently, she helped to found a construction company to provide the quality service she expects.

Current Work

Monique now runs Market Source Real Estate, leading a team of eight real estate agents. Employees appreciate the way she mentors and teaches new additions to the team.

Monique provides attention to detail, industry knowledge, and an insider’s understanding of the Utah market. Her team is experienced in staging, marketing, and negotiating on behalf of their clients.

Monique has been voted one of the best 500 real estate agents in Salt Lake City.

Community Service

Monique serves as a trustee on the board of the Sugar House Community Council. One of Salt Lake City’s older neighborhoods, Sugar House, features historic residences and a vibrant community of new restaurants, boutiques, and artists.

Monique owns a home in Sugar House, so she’s especially interested in serving the community. Her work helps the council preserve the area’s history, support small businesses, and create a vibrant atmosphere.

As she works to make her community better, she makes local friends and connections to become a better resource for her clients. Her local knowledge serves her well as she works with customers to find their ideal homes in the Sugar House and other areas.

Work With Monique Higginson

Monique Higginson is uniquely situated to help with your real estate needs with her dedication to her customers and her community.

If you’re asking yourself the question, “who are the best real estate agents near me,” contact Monique Higginson. She’ll use her local knowledge and connections to help you find your dream home.