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When purchasing a home, there are many issues to keep in mind. These often include items such as the interest rate on the mortgage, real estate taxes, and homeowner's insurance. If you've purchased a home governed by a Homeowner's Association and have not lived within a similar community before you may find some challenges adjusting more specifically, HOA fees. Changes to rules and regulations within HOA communities usually require an official voting process before they are implemented. However, if you consider your community fees to be too high, there are a few negotiation tips that might get the process started.
Join the Board of the HOA
One of the first steps to consider is joining the governing board of the HOA. The best way to search for ways to lower HOA fees or impact other types of change within your community is to participate in meetings and to get to know the history of your community and the other members. These relationships and experiences provide a view of the current issues and goals of the governing group.
Review the Books
The breakdown of how the HOA is allocating fees is information that should be readily available to the community. If you're interested in exactly where these fees are going, request to review the books. You'll gain insight into the contractors that help serve the community whether it be landscaping, pool maintenance or any other amenities. If you have suggestions for adjustments the community may implement to save money, it is worthwhile to present those options to the board for consideration. When the HOA saves money, the HOA members save money as well.
One of the most common areas where an HOA allocates considerable funds is on landscaping. It is important to have well-kept property to benefit property values; however, it doesn't have to be expensive. If the books show high landscaping or maintenance fees, request that the board negotiates with the current provider for a reduced rate or interview other providers who may be a better value. If the current contracts are reasonable, the board may be able to defer non-essential maintenance.
Consider the Costs of Property Management
Finally, consider the costs associated with the current property management company. Those who live in a condo building, townhome, or other collective living association often have a property management company that handles the high-level issues. While they perform an important function, they can also be expensive. It can be helpful to negotiate a reduced rate with the property management company or consider other management companies that might come at a cost-saving to the community. This can help the HOA members save money on their periodic fees.