There are a lot of factors that go into looking for a new home. Most people have specifications for how many bedrooms and bathrooms, the layout, features, and, of course, price. But don’t forget that when you buy a home, you’re also buying into the neighborhood. You want to make sure that you like the area you’re living in and it’s conducive to your needs. You may also be buying into an HOA when you purchase your next home, so you’ll want to do your research.

Before you decide to put in an offer and settle in, here are a few things to consider doing first:

Talk to the neighbors. Find out what attracted them to the neighborhood and what they like most about it. Are they actively involved with the HOA? Do they have children or pets? Try to get a better feel for what the community is like and the people who live there.

Ask about fees. Talk to the HOA about fees and what they cover. Make sure that you figure this into your budget so it doesn’t catch you off guard. You may also want to ask about the trend in rates over the past few years and whether they expect dues to stay stable or increase over the next few years.

Check the rules. If you love the house but want to put up a fence, add a shed, or paint your front door purple, are these things allowed? What is the process for getting permission to build a swing set in the backyard? What are some basic standards for the appearance of the property?

Look ahead. What does the HOA have planned for the future of the community? Are they looking to add a new pool? Host more neighborhood events? Start a community watch? This can also be a great opportunity to ask about various committees and how you can get more involved.

Read the newsletter. Ask for a copy of the most recent newsletter or board minutes so you can see what has been happening in the community and what some current topics for discussion are.

If you’re looking to settle in for the long haul, you want it to be in a community that fits your needs and lifestyle. An HOA community can be a great way to protect your property value, live in a well-managed neighborhood you love, and get involved – but do your research and choose the HOA community that’s right for you. Kuester Management Group partners with HOAs to create a more enjoyable living experience for all and to support effective property management.

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