Researching a Homeowners Association

Devin RatooshGuest blog by Devin Ratoosh, a Realtor in San Francisco CA

Looking to buy a condominium? A condominium can be a great option for those looking to bypass the hassle of maintaining a home. However, that’s not to say that everything is taken care of. There is some due diligence required on your part and in this article I will let you know how to get started:

Your first step is looking around the complex, look at the common areas and verify the condition and make sure that the complex is well maintained.

Call up the Homeowners Association (HOA) to learn what the monthly HOA fee is and what it covers. This can range widely from solely upkeep of the common areas, to all exterior repairs, water, and trash. The more services you get the more you pay.

When you’re on the phone with the HOA you are also going to ask them to provide you several documents. You are going to want to see:

CC&Rs – Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions outline what you can and can’t do with your property. For example, these can restrict the color you can paint your house or condo, or if pets are allowed in the property. The CC&Rs are not often amended so make sure you will be comfortable with their requirements before moving in.

Budget & Financials – Make sure the association is realistic when handling their funds and that their financial statements are timely. The association must be capable of making necessary repairs as they become needed in the future.

Special Assessments and Reserves – Do not put yourself in a situation where the HOA does not keep sufficient reserve funds to make repairs as they occur. If they do not budget for these repairs the HOA will likely issue a special assessment to the homeowners. That means more money out of your pocket for services that you thought were covered!

Insurance – The HOA will have an insurance policy to cover disasters such as fires. However, these policies will not cover your own personal possessions should they be damaged. Make sure to take a copy of the insurance policy to your insurer and see what you must do to protect your belongings.

Meeting Minutes – HOA committees meet with varying frequency, a good HOA committee will meet regularly. Look over the meeting minutes to learn what the hot button issues are within the HOA. Make sure that issues such as maintenance are being taken care of and not being pushed off until a later date.

Looking at these documents will get you started but always consult a knowledgeable real estate agent to assist you in the process and help you cover your bases.

Though living in a condominium can make life easier by reducing the burden of upkeep. The process of buying a condo and the due diligence required is by no means easy.

For more real estate articles check out:

For guidance in meeting your real estate goals in the San Francisco Bay Area:

You can reach Devin Ratoosh with Marvin Gardens Real Estate Berkeley at 510-919-5499 or

Would you like to submit a guest blog post or request an interview? Contact us today at 1-800-287-1808.

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