REAL ESTATE ON FLORIDA'S TREASURE COAST
         


 

HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATIONS

 

If you buy a unit in a condominium or townhome development, you will most likely become a member of the homeowners' association.  The association will oversee the common property, which is everything outside and beyond your immediate unit and your neighbors'.

A homeowners' association generally has a board of directors that the owners elect. The board will make policy decisions and see to it that management tasks are tended to. Some large associations contract this work with professional management companies.

 

Generally, the board is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the grounds and common areas and facilities, the payment of taxes, the acquisition of insurance, enforcing the bylaws of the community, and collecting and managing monthly fees from the property owners.

 

Association fees can range from as little as $10 a month to more than $300 per month. The money is used for cleaning the common areas, maintaining the grounds and landscaping, common utilities, repairs, taxes, insurance, and facilities maintenance. The association may employ an on-site manager that is paid a salary, or they may pay a professional management company. Association fees generally are money well spent since they are used to maintain and enhance the property. You'll enjoy this benefit while you live there, and you'll garner the benefit if you decide to sell.

 

Hopefully, a homeowners' association cultivates a feeling of belonging and one of community spirit. Before you buy a condo or townhome, make sure you read and understand the community's by-laws. These by-laws determine the sort of atmosphere the owners want, and they are binding on other owners who join the community later.

 

Since the by-laws are a legal document and are often weighty and loaded with 'legalese',  you might want to engage your attorney to have a look. Some lawyers and management firms specialize in these sorts of documents, too, so that's an option as well. Be sure you allow sufficient time for this task, as you don't want to make a hasty decision relative to a purchase without being comfortable with the association by-laws.

 
 

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Tom Warner


 
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