Tips for every Home Owner's Association
While any Home Owner's Association has its regulations and formal documents that itemize how it is run and what sort of criteria the applicants must meet to qualify for residency, most also stipulate that an interview process occur as well. This allows HOA leadership to get a clearer understanding of the applicant's personality, outlook, attitude and feasibility as a resident in the community. At the same time, the process allows the potential buyer to understand whether or not the community is a good fit to their needs as well.
HOA leadership should use this time to gauge whether or not a resident is going to prove an ideal part of the community or not, and these five things can often help to indicate whether or not a potential resident is going to work out:
- Your CC&Rs: How does this resident seem to respond to the covenants that rule the HOA or community? Are they curious about changing or adding rules? Did they seem dismissive of them in general? Did they suggest that they are a bit too restrictive? Ask them if they read them and pay attention to their response, as the HOA's rules are often a major sticking point for those who won't do well in such communities.
- Community Oriented Involvement: Whether they are involved in a lot of activities that are community minded (theater, sports, volunteerism, religious life, etc.) or they inquire about opportunities for becoming involved in the community directly, a good resident is someone who wants to be an effective resident. After all, any HOA is only going to work well when each household is dedicated to maintaining and sustaining the community.
- Questions Posed: If a potential resident asks about the restrictions more than anything else, see it as a warning sign. For example, concerns about landscaping, number or types of vehicles, heights of fences, and what restrictions exist where window coverings are concerned might indicate strongly conflicting behaviors in the future.
- Financial Responsibility: While you will look into their finances to be sure they are going to be able to afford the HOA dues. You also want to gauge a potential resident's attitude about finance as it relates to the HOA upkeep. After all, few residents are happy to hear that assessment reviews or special assessments are needed, but the best residents understand the importance of them. These dues are meant to sustain the association, and are inevitably going to occur, as well as increase. If the potential resident balks at the idea of increases in dues, it may be that they will be a persistent voice of resistance. This can force an HOA into financial trouble, and a good resident is one that uses a reasonable approach to their financial role in the HOA community.
- Past Independence: Someone who has lived in a rural area prior to coming to an HOA or community may struggle to adjust to the new lifestyle. They are, effectively, transitioning from total freedom to a place where they are going to be told what to do in many different ways. Ask them directly about this enormous challenge as it may be more than they are prepared to deal with.
It is not always possible to know a good resident from one who may not work out so well. Using these five criteria can help you open the right dialogues and uncover challenges before they lead to ongoing headaches and community turmoil.