A Condo Buyer’s Guide to HOAs

If you’re buying a condo, you may be asking yourself, what’s an HOA and what do I need to know about it?

Buying a condo involves a great deal of paper work and a Homeowners Association (HOA). Let’s be honest…You hire a professional,  experienced real estate agent so you don’t have to worry about the details. However, buying a condo requires not only a skilled agent, but you doing your homework. What’s in the fine print can affect your day-to-day life in your new home.

condo lobby the sovenge

Why buy a condo?

  • Security – most buildings have gated or locked entries, some even have professional security staff on site
  • Amenities – fitness center, pool, BBQ area, clubhouse, meeting rooms, tennis courts to name just a few
  • Maintenance – there are several people on site to take care of the landscape, roof, pool, or even the furnace
  • Affordability – traditionally costs less than a single family home, especially in highly desirable areas

Before you decide to purchase a condo, be sure to understand the rules. First and foremost you will be required to join the community homeowners association, HOA, and pay monthly or annul fees.  A homeowners association is generally set up as a non-profit corporation. It is an organization established to manage a private planned community. It is governed by elected board members and a set of rules called bylaws.

Why HOAs are important?

  • Manage legal concerns
  • Manage the property
  • Help maintain order among the residents
  • Help protect the property

What are Bylaws?

Bylaws govern how the HOA operates and contains information needed to efficiently run the organization. Among the things covered by the bylaws are:

  • How often the HOA holds meetings
  • How meetings are conducted
  • The duties of the board of directors
  • How many people sit on the board
  • Membership voting rights

These laws are different from the covenants, conditions, and restrictions, CC&Rs.

know_the_rules

What are CC&Rs?

The covenants, conditions, and restrictions are rules you must follow both inside and outside the building. These rules are recorded in the county records and are legally binding. Therefore, when you purchase a condo, you automatically become a member of the HOA. It is not only important to understand these rules, but also what happens when you violate them. Pay close attention to fines, how rules are added and changed, and when the meetings are held. Also, make sure the condo you are purchasing in in compliance with the HOA rules.

Examples of Rules

  • The color you can paint your front door
  • If you can BBQ on your balcony
  • If you can line dry clothes on your balcony
  • If satellite dishes are permitted
  • Types and sizes of pets
  • If you can rent your unit to another person
  • Restriction on noise levels
  • Your responsibility for maintaining balconies, porches, storage units, and parking spaces.
  • Recreation facility rules: hours of operation at the pool, tennis courts, clubhouse
  • How many guests you can have at these recreational facilities?

 

Documents

What to look for in your HOA documents

Fees

The fees differ depending on the amenities and services provided by the building. Listed below are questions to ask about monthly or annual fees.

  • How much are the fees?
  • How are the fees determined?
  • What do the fees include?
  • Will you pay for trash, water, and cable?
  • How often do the fees increase?

Ask for a history of fee increases for the past 10 years. Look for patterns. Be sure to include those fees when creating your new home budget.

Reserve Fund

This fund is used to repair major projects or improvements to the building. Such repairs could include a new roof, elevator, boiler, painting, or garage maintenance. If there is not enough money in the reserve fund, then a “special assessment” will be charged to all the residents. Listed below are valuable factors to consider when reviewing the reserve fund.

  • How large is the reserve fund?
  • A record of special assessments: this will give you an idea of what repairs have been completed.
  • Ask if there has been a study to determine if the reserve is adequate for future projects.

Insurance

Like purchasing a single family home, you will be required by your lender to purchase homeowners insurance for your condo. However, it is just as important that you inquire about insurance on the building such as catastrophe and fire insurance.

What documents to request?

Along with all the rules, regulations, bylaws, and fees you have the right to ask to see the HOA’s financial statements and meeting minutes.

Financials Include

  • Balance sheet: see how the HOA fees are spent
  • Yearly revenue from fees
  • Reserve fund balance
  • Notice of any pending lawsuits
  • Information on recent assessments
  • Percentage of units behind on fees

Meeting Minutes

  • Understand current and past conflicts.
  • How conflicts were handled?
  • Has the HOA ever sued anyone and the results?
  • List of board members
  • Discussions of future special assessments for large projects
  • Any current or anticipated litigation
  • Is there an excessive amount of delinquent HOA dues?

red-flags

Red Flags

Red flags are not always a deal breaker. However, it will open the door for further conversations. Research all the details so you can make informed decisions.

  • Big yearly spikes and dips in spending – these are signs that the building could be in trouble.
  • Little or no reserve funds
  • Emergency borrowing by HOA
  • Frequent “special assessments”
  • Bank owned building
  • A building with a high percentage of renters because owners might not have the same level of commitment as you to maintain the building. Additionally a high percentage of non-owner occupied units may mean it’s difficult for you to obtain financing for a purchase.
  • When HOA are under managed – this might mean the owners do not take an interest in the building.
  • Lack of people interested in sitting on the board – again little interest in maintain the building.

DSC02628

Buying a condo is a bit more complex than buying a single family home. It is important you take the time to get to know and understand your HOA. Besides reading and understanding all the documents, it is extremely important that you talk to other residents. They will give you first hand information about living in the building and the homeowners association. You should also talk to the board members and get a feel for their different personalities. Lastly, do not forget to walk around the building and inspect all the public areas. Make sure it meets your standards and quality of life.

If you’re considering buying a condo in Long Beach, Lakewood, Signal Hill, Seal Beach, Cypress, Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, Huntington Beach, or surrounding communities, we’d be happy to help!

Condos for Sale in Long Beach

$2,900,000
Condo For Sale
Active
0.287
ACRES
LOS ANGELES
COUNTY
928 Long Beach Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90813
Downtown (DT) Subdivision
$2,490,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
2,810
SQFT
207 E Broadway #801
Long Beach, CA 90802
Downtown (DT) Subdivision
$2,399,000
Condo For Sale
Active
0.055
ACRES
LOS ANGELES
COUNTY
63 65th Place
Long Beach, CA 90803
Peninsula (PI) Subdivision
$1,465,000
Condo For Sale
Active
3
BED
3
TOTAL BATHS
1,764
SQFT
23 4th Place #3
Long Beach, CA 90802
Alamitos Beach (AB) Subdivision
New Listing - yesterday
$1,199,000
Condo For Sale
Active
3
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,259
SQFT
1400 E Ocean Boulevard #1305
Long Beach, CA 90802
Alamitos Beach (AB) Subdivision
$1,189,000
Condo For Sale
Active
3
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,970
SQFT
1000 E. Ocean #516
Long Beach, CA 90802
Other (OTHR) Subdivision
$1,150,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
3
TOTAL BATHS
1,930
SQFT
388 E Ocean Boulevard #P10
Long Beach, CA 90802
Downtown (DT) Subdivision
$1,150,000
Condo For Sale
Active
3
BED
3
TOTAL BATHS
2,420
SQFT
1230 E Ocean Boulevard #601
Long Beach, CA 90802
 
New Listing - a week online
$1,125,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,946
SQFT
115 W 4th Street #PH2
Long Beach, CA 90802
Other (OTHR) Subdivision
$1,070,000
Condo For Sale
Active
3
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,409
SQFT
1000 E Ocean Bloulevard #306
Long Beach, CA 90802
Out Of Area Subdivision
Price Change - a week ago
$1,040,000
Condo For Sale
Active
3
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,510
SQFT
1000 E Ocean Boulevard #203
Long Beach, CA 90802
Alamitos Beach (AB) Subdivision
$1,007,500
Condo For Sale
Active
3
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,510
SQFT
1000 E Ocean Boulevard #202
Long Beach, CA 90802
Alamitos Beach (AB) Subdivision
$998,800
Condo For Sale
Active
3
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,952
SQFT
1000 E Ocean Boulevard #715
Long Beach, CA 90802
Alamitos Beach (AB) Subdivision
$975,000
Condo For Sale
Active
3
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,551
SQFT
1500 E Ocean #519
Long Beach, CA 90802
Alamitos Beach Subdivision
$925,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,557
SQFT
1310 E Ocean Boulevard #1006
Long Beach, CA 90802
Alamitos Beach (AB) Subdivision
$925,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,542
SQFT
850 E Ocean Boulevard #1211
Long Beach, CA 90802
Downtown (DT) Subdivision
New Listing - 3 weeks online
$925,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,590
SQFT
850 E Ocean Boulevard #508
Long Beach, CA 90802
Alamitos Beach (AB) Subdivision
$899,975
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,116
SQFT
1750 Ocean Boulevard #1605
Long Beach, CA 90802
Not Applicable-1 Subdivision
New Listing - 3 weeks online
$899,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,377
SQFT
850 E Ocean Boulevard #1403
Long Beach, CA 90802
Downtown (DT) Subdivision
Price Change - 7 days ago
$895,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,330
SQFT
411 W Seaside Way #1901
Long Beach, CA 90802
Downtown (DT) Subdivision

Condos for Sale in Signal Hill

$660,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,966
SQFT
2400 Skyline Drive #103
Signal Hill, CA 90755
Other (OTHR) Subdivision
$594,000
Condo For Sale
Active
3
BED
3
TOTAL BATHS
1,823
SQFT
2604 E 20th Street #205E
Signal Hill, CA 90755
Harbor Lights (HL) Subdivision
New Listing - a week online
$495,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,032
SQFT
2575 E 19th Street #26
Signal Hill, CA 90755
Signal Hill (SH) Subdivision
New Listing - 4 weeks online
$450,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,116
SQFT
2601 E 19th Street #14
Signal Hill, CA 90755
Pacific View Terrace (PCV) Subdivision
$445,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,036
SQFT
2599 Walnut Avenue #138
Signal Hill, CA 90755
Other (OTHR) Subdivision
$439,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,143
SQFT
2500 E Willow Street #101
Signal Hill, CA 90755
Willow Ridge (WD) Subdivision
$439,000
Condo For Sale
Active Under Contract
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,179
SQFT
2501 Temple Avenue #106
Signal Hill, CA 90755
 
New Listing - 2 weeks online
$429,000
Condo For Sale
Active Under Contract
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,171
SQFT
2101 E 21st Street #106
Signal Hill, CA 90755
Signal Hill (SH) Subdivision
$425,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,179
SQFT
2501 Temple Avenue #209
Signal Hill, CA 90755
Signal Hill (SH) Subdivision
$420,000
Condo For Sale
Active Under Contract
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,207
SQFT
2575 E 19th St #15
Signal Hill, CA 90755
Signal Hill (SH) Subdivision
New Listing - a week online
$419,900
Condo For Sale
Active Under Contract
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,157
SQFT
2514 E Willow Street #105
Signal Hill, CA 90755
Willow Ridge (WD) Subdivision
$415,000
Condo For Sale
Active Under Contract
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,060
SQFT
2506 E Willow Street #202
Signal Hill, CA 90755
Other (OTHR) Subdivision
$410,500
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,060
SQFT
2504 E Willow Street #210
Signal Hill, CA 90755
Willow Ridge (WD) Subdivision
New Listing - 4 weeks online
$389,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,179
SQFT
2501 Temple Avenue #202
Signal Hill, CA 90755
Signal Hill (SH) Subdivision
$388,999
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
1
TOTAL BATHS
900
SQFT
2525 E 19th Street #24
Signal Hill, CA 90755
Signal Hill (SH) Subdivision
New Listing - 4 weeks online
$375,000
Condo For Sale
Active Under Contract
1
BED
1
TOTAL BATHS
801
SQFT
2599 Walnut Avenue #209
Signal Hill, CA 90755
Hillside Pines (HSP) Subdivision
$335,000
Condo For Sale
Active
1
BED
1
TOTAL BATHS
801
SQFT
2599 Walnut Avenue #108
Signal Hill, CA 90755
Other (OTHR) Subdivision

Condos for Sale in Lakewood

$444,000
Condo For Sale
Active Under Contract
3
BED
3
TOTAL BATHS
1,397
SQFT
20807 Elaine Avenue #1
Lakewood, CA 90715
East Lakewood (ELK) Subdivision
$305,000
Condo For Sale
Active
1
BED
1
TOTAL BATHS
731
SQFT
12141 Centralia Street #209
Lakewood, CA 90715
Lakewood Terrace (LKT) Subdivision

Condos for Sale in Seal Beach

New Listing - yesterday
$875,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,036
SQFT
123 13th Street #2
Seal Beach, CA 90740
Old Town (OLDT) Subdivision
$874,900
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
934
SQFT
127 11th Street #B
Seal Beach, CA 90740
Old Town (OLDT) Subdivision
Price Change - a week ago
$479,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,439
SQFT
12300 Montecito Road #37
Seal Beach, CA 90740
Other (OTHR) Subdivision
New Listing - a week online
$474,999
Condo For Sale
Active Under Contract
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,526
SQFT
12400 Montecito Road #314
Seal Beach, CA 90740
 
$395,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,010
SQFT
12200 Montecito Road #D107
Seal Beach, CA 90740
Other (OTHR) Subdivision

Condos for Sale in Cypress

$814,990
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
3
TOTAL BATHS
1,943
SQFT
10804 Flora Park Way
Cypress, CA 90720
Other (OTHR) Subdivision
$779,000
Condo For Sale
Active
3
BED
4
TOTAL BATHS
1,955
SQFT
4656 Flora Park Way
Cypress, CA 90720
Other (OTHR) Subdivision
New Listing - 7 days online
$635,000
Condo For Sale
Active
4
BED
4
TOTAL BATHS
1,571
SQFT
9032 Kalani Street
Cypress, CA 90630
Other (OTHR) Subdivision
New Listing - yesterday
$599,900
Condo For Sale
Active
3
BED
3
TOTAL BATHS
1,490
SQFT
4815 Aquamarine Way
Cypress, CA 90630
Other (OTHR) Subdivision
$525,000
Condo For Sale
Active Under Contract
3
BED
3
TOTAL BATHS
1,321
SQFT
5806 Laguna Way #35
Cypress, CA 90630
Cypress Monterey (CYPM) Subdivision
New Listing - 7 days online
$499,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
3
TOTAL BATHS
1,365
SQFT
5588 Orange Avenue
Cypress, CA 90630
Other (OTHR) Subdivision
New Listing - a week online
$485,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
3
TOTAL BATHS
1,411
SQFT
9694 Walker Court #29
Cypress, CA 90630
Other (OTHR) Subdivision
$459,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
1
TOTAL BATHS
805
SQFT
4566 Larwin Avenue
Cypress, CA 90630
Other (OTHR) Subdivision
New Listing - 2 weeks online
$450,000
Condo For Sale
Active
3
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,131
SQFT
8541 La Salle Street #15
Cypress, CA 90630
Other (OTHR) Subdivision
New Listing - 3 weeks online
$449,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
971
SQFT
5450 Brittany Way
Cypress, CA 90630
Other (OTHR) Subdivision
New Listing - 4 weeks online
$385,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
819
SQFT
9057 Grand Circle
Cypress, CA 90630
Other (OTHR) Subdivision
$375,000
Condo For Sale
Active
1
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
920
SQFT
5435 Twin Lakes Drive
Cypress, CA 90630
Twin Lakes (TWNL) Subdivision

Condos for Sale in Los Alamitos

$619,990
Condo For Sale
Active
3
BED
3
TOTAL BATHS
1,214
SQFT
2970 Claremore Lane
Los Alamitos, CA 90720
Other (OTHR) Subdivision
New Listing - 4 weeks online
$450,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
915
SQFT
3845 Farquhar Avenue #305
Los Alamitos, CA 90720
Peppertree (PPTR) Subdivision
New Listing - a week online
$447,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,027
SQFT
3845 Farquhar Avenue #115
Los Alamitos, CA 90720
Peppertree (PPTR) Subdivision

Condos for Sale in Rossmoor

No Results Found.

Condos for Sale in Huntington Beach

$2,198,000
Condo For Sale
Active Under Contract
5
BED
6
TOTAL BATHS
4,200
SQFT
21431 Abigail Lane
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
Pacific Shores Villas (PSVIL) Subdivision
$1,985,000
Condo For Sale
Active Under Contract
5
BED
6
TOTAL BATHS
4,200
SQFT
8186 Noelle Drive
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
Pacific Shores Villas (PSVIL) Subdivision
Price Change - a week ago
$1,699,000
Condo For Sale
Active
3
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,445
SQFT
900 Pacific Coast #110
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Faire Rivage (FAIR) Subdivision
$1,695,000
Condo For Sale
Active Under Contract
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
968
SQFT
711 Pacific Coast Highway #213
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Downtown Area (DOWN) Subdivision
$1,550,000
Condo For Sale
Active Under Contract
5
BED
5
TOTAL BATHS
3,763
SQFT
8193 Noelle Drive
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
Pacific Shores Villas (PSVIL) Subdivision
New Listing - 4 weeks online
$1,535,000
Condo For Sale
Active
4
BED
5
TOTAL BATHS
3,604
SQFT
8302 Noelle Drive
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
Pacific Shores Villas (PSVIL) Subdivision
New Listing - 4 weeks online
$1,525,000
Condo For Sale
Active
4
BED
5
TOTAL BATHS
3,604
SQFT
8450 Hibiscus Circle
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
Pacific Shores Villas (PSVIL) Subdivision
$1,498,000
Condo For Sale
Active Under Contract
3
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,440
SQFT
900 Pacific Coast Hwy, #203
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Faire Rivage (FAIR) Subdivision
$1,225,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
3
TOTAL BATHS
1,233
SQFT
200 Pacific Coast Highway #347
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Pier Colony (PRCL) Subdivision
$1,199,999
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,760
SQFT
4167 Warner Ave #301
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
Bay Club (HHBC) Subdivision
$1,199,000
Condo For Sale
Active Under Contract
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,243
SQFT
16291 Countess Drive #106
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
Portofino Cove Condos (HHPC) Subdivision
New Listing - 4 days online
$1,168,000
Condo For Sale
Active
4
BED
4
TOTAL BATHS
2,431
SQFT
8254 Kendall Drive
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
Pacific Shores Bungalows (PSBUN) Subdivision
$1,159,900
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,257
SQFT
200 Pacific Coast Hwy
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Pier Colony (PRCL) Subdivision
New Listing - 2 weeks online
$1,150,000
Condo For Sale
Active
3
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,428
SQFT
200 Pacific Coast #328
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Pier Colony (PRCL) Subdivision
$1,145,000
Condo For Sale
Active
3
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
2,229
SQFT
8277 Noelle Drive
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
Pacific Shores Bungalows (PSBUN) Subdivision
$1,135,000
Condo For Sale
Active
4
BED
4
TOTAL BATHS
2,431
SQFT
8325 Kendall Drive
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
Pacific Shores Bungalows (PSBUN) Subdivision
$1,133,000
Condo For Sale
Active
4
BED
4
TOTAL BATHS
2,431
SQFT
8357 Sage Drive
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
Pacific Shores Bungalows (PSBUN) Subdivision
$1,130,000
Condo For Sale
Active
4
BED
4
TOTAL BATHS
2,431
SQFT
8373 Noelle Drive
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
Pacific Shores Bungalows (PSBUN) Subdivision
$1,100,000
Condo For Sale
Active Under Contract
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
968
SQFT
711 Pacific Coast #419
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Huntington Pacific (HPAC) Subdivision
New Listing - 2 weeks online
$1,100,000
Condo For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
965
SQFT
1400 Pacific Coast #304
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Ocean Breeze (OCBR) Subdivision

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Shannon Jones has been selling real estate since 1998 and specializes in listing and marketing homes. She has consistently been one of the top Realtors in the Long Beach area. Prior to her award-winning career in real estate with the Shannon jones Team, Shannon has had successful careers in journalism and public relations. She holds a bachelors degree from UC Irvine and a masters degree from UC Berkeley. Shannon holds E-Pro, CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert), and PSC (Pre-Foreclosure Specialist) certifications. Shannon is very personable and maintains a very strong moral compass, always putting the best interest of home buyers/sellers above monetary goals. A California native, Shannon enjoys gardening, travel, reading, cooking and poker when she’s not selling homes MY DESIGNATIONS Lic# 01247705 | CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) | E-Pro | PSC (Pre-Foreclosure Specialist) MY SERVICE AREAS Anaheim Bellflower Buena Park Carson Cerritos Cypress Downey Fountain Valley Garden Grove Huntington Beach La Palma Lakewood Long Beach Los Alamitos Los Angeles County Norwalk Orange County Rossmoor San Pedro Seal Beach Signal Hill South Bay Westminster

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