The Home Owner Associaton
Home Owner Associations have very common in new construction and it doesn't appear to be letting up any time soon. Yet, buyers frequently are unaware of the legal implications of purschasing a home in a neighborhood with a Home Owner Association.
Though the legal implications aren't daunting, they are real. Home Owner Associations are "written" into one home mortgage via an addendum one signs at closing. Secondly, Home Owner Associations are defined by state authorization and must have their organizing documents and present By Laws, Declarations and General Covenants recorded in Virginia and many other states. Said By Laws, Declarations and By-Laws can be enforced via court action(hopefully this never happens but could).
Thus, though you may purchase a home with clear title, the Home Owner Association rules are enforceable on one's property just as are the city and state regulations that may be applicable.
As a result, my recommendation to my home buyers to read these documents closely during their 72 hour review period(Va) is a very serious point of discussion. State law permits a buyer to walk away and get escrow money back/cancel contract if he/she disagrees with any stipulation in the Home Owner Association documents within the 72 hour period. But State Law regarding Home Owner Associations is also clear that a home buyer accepting the documents and choosing to live in a Home Owner Association is subject to all requirements of the Home Owner Association whether presently enforced or enforced in the future.
Please don't take this wrong: there is nothing wrong with living in a home owner association! I live in one and love it.
Home Owner Associations typically help a neighborhood maintain home values and the appearance of a given neighborhood. Great opportunities to socialize and to get to know neighbors is part of most Home Owner Associations. You know what you are buying when you buy in a Home Owner Association and pretty much what it will be years down the road.
It is simply important to knowingly accept the conditions and requirments of living in a Home Owner Association. By doing so, you will enjoy your new home.
To not understand what you signed up for due to not reading the documents or understanding the legal element will bring much heartache and angst for anyone that fights everything the Home Owner Association requires. Such a buyer would have be wise to simply have chosen a different home to buy.
So do buy wisely!
I will always ensure you "Always Make the Smart Move".