Is there a difference buying a home in an Association?
If you are thinking about purchasing a home in an Association in the Iowa City, North Liberty, Coralville or surrounding areas, there are some things you will want to do BEFORE you sign that offer. You may be the master of the castle, but the condo rules the Association.
The Association’s Rules and By-laws have a large factor of your quality of life living in that particular Association. The buyer has the right to look at any and ALL paperwork from the Association before purchasing. The seller must produce the requested paperwork within a certain number of days and the buyers has a certain number of days to read and agree or disagree with what the Association has in place. This should be outlined in the purchase agreement.
You will want to pay particular attention to:
The Rules & Restrictions:
The Association can implement any rule or restriction it sees fit and is voted on by the Association. Since these are generally drawn out at the conception of the Association, they are pretty much set in stone and enforced. Some rules you may need to know is whether pets are allowed, can you have a home office, and/or can you rent your unit after you purchase it?
Some restrictions may be not having anything in the green common area so mowers can quickly mow around without damaging personal items – even if it looks like it’s YOUR back yard, it still is common ground and the Association’s. Perhaps you like to have a dish instead of cable – what restrictions are there with that? Can you place a dish on your roof, deck or in the green area?
You need to know what the Association budgets annually for repairs and what happens if the funds are not enough to cover what needs to be done? How often are the decks stained? Under current mortgage criteria, the fund must equal at least 10% of an Association’s annual budget. You’ll also find a line item for any Association fees that are in arrears.
State Laws require condo Associations to obtain a “reserve study” every three to five years to anticipate expenses and budgets. If an Association hasn’t done an independent study in ten years, this raises the question about the Association’s buildings and management.
If it’s within the state laws, you may request the minutes from the last two years. This will give you an inside of what is important and what is not within the Association.
The Master Insurance Policy:
Before you can insure your unit and belongings with a condo policy (known as an HO6), you need to know what the Association’s master policy for the building provides. Bylaws will list whether or not the policy covers everything (an “all-in” policy) or everything except the interior of your unit.
You will need to know where the Association starts and your personal living space ends. It may be defined as a paint layer or wall board. You will want to know whose policy covers what. Does the Association own the doors, windows and garage doors? Good thing to know. However, even if you do “own” them, the Association may tell you what they can look like.
Living in an Association can be very rewarding. There are advantages to owning in an Association. However, to make sure you ENJOY your Association, you will want to know exactly what you are buying into.
Whether you’re thinking about buying OR selling your unit in an Association, contact me today. We can weed through the Rules and Regulations of an Association and make sure you know what you buying.
If you’re selling, I’ll make sure you have everything you need to show prospective buyers for your unit in and Association.