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What to inspect in a Homeowners' Association agreement

Homeowners' associations (HOA) can be a huge benefit for homeowners and local tenants in a planned development. They may offer unique amenities that typically aren't available in a single-family home or some apartment complexes.

However, Colorado residents must look over the agreement before finalizing their due diligence. You might be surprised what details lurk in the HOA's documentation.

The costs and benefits of the HOA

Most planned developments across Colorado include a homeowners' association agreement. However, the price of participating in a homeowners' association varies from area to area. You should investigate the general monthly costs, as well as any fees or dues associated with the HOA agreement.

Next, weigh the HOA's benefits against its costs. For example, some HOA agreements include amenities such as internet and cable. Such extra benefits may make higher HOA costs worth the price.

The specific rules or restrictions

Most HOA agreements include standard rules for homeowners, such as lawn maintenance, house appearance and other daily aspects of owning a home. However, some agreements may include more specific guidelines for homeowners in their area.

For example, some associations ask owners to limit the amount or type of pets you have. An association may ask you to only have cats or small dog breeds instead of a large Saint Bernard puppy. Carefully review all the rules and regulations surrounding the HOA agreement to ensure you are willing and able to uphold the agreement before you move into any specific HOA community.

The approach to disputes

Most HOA agreements will either touch on or fully explain how the HOA approaches disputes among neighbors. It's critical to know what the expectations are for the rules, the enforcement and possibly penalties for rules violations.

Each association will have different resolutions for certain violations or neighborhood disputes, and it also may include regulations that other HOAs do not have. Examine your agreement to see how your association may address future conflicts.

It's up to you to determine if an agreement fits your lifestyle and works well for your home. You may want to consult with an attorney, like O'Brien Legal, to make the best decision for you. 

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