Michael and Melissa discuss Homeowner’s Associations, also known as HOA’s. An HOA is a planned community where the property owners own their home in “fee simple” - meaning, they own the ground underneath them. What’s the difference between a home in an HOA and a condo association? In HOA’s, the owner owns the whole structure from ground to roof. They are responsible for fixing the roof, maintaining the yard, dealing with any basement leaks or foundation issues.
This is different from a condo association (to be discussed on the next podcast) where you are only responsible for the walls and everything inside of them, known as “walls-in.” The roof, foundation and grounds are considered common elements maintained by the condo association.
What should you look for in HOA Documents when you are under contract to purchase in a community governed by an HOA? It’s important to review that there is nothing in conflict with how you plan to use your home. Do you have several pets and the community has a limit? Do you plan to run a business out of your home which the documents may not allow? Do you want Harold and his purple crayon to color your house and purple isn’t allowed.
In Virginia, the buyer has 3 calendar days to review HOA Documents. In DC it is 3 business days, and Maryland has is five calendar days. In DC if it is brand new construction, the buyer has 15 days to review.
The package has to be complete and up to date when it is delivered, and the time frames do not start counting down until the buyer has a complete package. In most HOA’s, the management company also has an extra step called “inspection.” They walk through the outside of the property prior to sale to ensure there are no violations - broken windows, missing shingles, a toilet planter in the yard. These have to be corrected by the seller prior to sale.
Melissa shares stories about her Delaware community’s lack of understand of the Yahoo message board. The reply button is no one’s friend on some message boards because it goes back to the entire community. And we learn that an entire community can misunderstand a turn of phrase, “fat dumb and happy.”
Michael then becomes Old Man Withers as he goes on his rant about his experience with HOA’s and admits he practically incited a riot at his current HOA meeting about a very controversial topic: Sod.
Melissa takes us back to Yahoo Groups in Delaware where disaster awaits. It was a reply-heard-round-the-world. The sender believed she was replying only to her friend but her comment went back to the whole community and everyone learned one woman’s husband was hitting on the other wives in the community.
One may wonder why HOA’s exist at all? This is what the Jurisdictions (county/town/city) require of land developers who submit plans to develop property. This is a way for the governmental powers that be to make sure that the HOA will maintain the roads and they won’t become the responsibility of the town or county to handle.
We also learn how Michael’s Irish Roman Catholic Family violated a scarecrow, setting a whole #metoo movement into play and Melissa’s family’s inability to keep hermit crabs alive.