Is there a difference between HOA and Condos?

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At Ashlar, I firmly b that an educated home buyer or seller is best equipped to make their own decisions. That’s why I take time out of my day each and every day to answer someone’s real estate question.  And, when I think the answer can be useful to you as well, I share it here.  So without further ado:


Is there a difference between HOA and Condos?

In the case of real estate, being specific on the ownership and association type is important. People interchange condo associations and HOAs all the time but they have much different powers and aims.

Condos are their own unique type of resident owned association which much different concerns and needs, and much different state requirements than HOAs. The primary difference is the requirements for a specific amount of reserves, maintenance of the structure, and insurance for the structure. There’s also unique rules specific to condos which makes financing them more difficult than a single family home (primary higher down payments) and most condos are not approved for say FHA because of those legal differences. Fees commonly include sewer, water, trash, and sometimes cable tv or internet. Condo maintains and insures typically the exterior of the structure all the way to the studs, and many require approval to move walls around. Deeds are recorded at the courthouse. In the state of Florida sellers are required to provide condo docs and financials at their expense, and buyers have a few days to accept or reject them and cancel the deal. Condos towners 3 stories and above are getting a double whammy currently from increasing homeowners insurance due to roof issues and the surfside condo collapse which is requiring safety inspections.

HOAs are a much looser association and quite a bit different legally than condos.
They are more concerned with general maintenance of community areas and sets and enforces rules for exteriors but does not insure or maintain the single family structures contained therein or usually provide the maintenance of the exteriors for those same structures. You can do whatever you want inside your house typically. Fees usually only cover roads and common area maintenance. Loans are easy-peasy with every approved with low down payments easy to obtain. Deeds are recorded at the courthouse. Seller has no obligation to provide HOA docs, and sometimes they are impossible to obtain since they are poorly run ones out there. If Brenda in 304 Cherry Lane is the secretary and she’s on vacation it’s going to be tough. And if they have a website I’ve seen them be 5 versions and 15 years out of date.

Co-Ops are slightly similar to Condos, however instead of buying real estate you purchase shares in the Co-Op which entitles you to possession of some unit there. These are also recorded, but they show up a little differently.

With any of these communities, it’s critical that you get involved and get out so you know what’s happening. And LOW FEES usually mean HIGH ASSESSMENTS eventually. Things have to be either maintained or eventually demolished

Kyle Sasser

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