So, you’ve decided to buy a house or condo that’s managed by homeowner association management services. You’re not alone; it’s estimated that Americans currently stand a one in five chance of buying a home that’s a part of an HOA. There are so many benefits to doing so. An HOA or condo association management service can do a lot to ensure that your property is properly taken care of. But with many services, they are not all created equal. There is a wide range of different condo and homeowners associations, and it’s important that you understand what you’re getting yourself into before you choose not only a home but a management association.

With that being said, let’s look into what you should consider when judging house and condo association management companies. The more you know, the easier it will be for you to make a decision!

1. Communication

It’s easy to get an idea of whether or not your potential house of condo association management service is going to give you the communication that you’ll need. You can judge them by how well they communicate with you regarding the property that you’re interested in. Do they communicate solely by email, or are they available by phone? What are their office hours? You may need to communicate with your property management company at any time. Don’t discount the importance of great communication.

2. Insurance

If offered, you should look into the insurance policy your house or condo association management offers buyers. A summary of insurance will let you know exactly what is covered if you buy, while at the same time advising you as to the company’s care. Some types of insurance are more expensive, but you’ll be glad that you have them after a natural disaster, such as a flood or earthquake, occurs. If an HOA offers subpar insurance, you may not want to move forward with them.

3. Governing Documents

Governing documents are long and thorough. You probably aren’t going to have the time to read all of them. But they do tend to cover important factors, like maintenance provisions. You should at least ask to see them before investing in a property, in order to get an idea of how much your potential HOA is obliged to help you when you are in need as a homeowner.

4. Financial Issues

You may feel a bit awkward about asking after your potential HOA’s financials. But the reality is that they’re asking you to invest in a property, and property is a major investment. You’re within your rights to ask after the financials in turn. What should you be looking for specifically? Ask after whether or not the HOA has a budget, for one thing. You should also seek out how many members are delinquent; if there are many delinquent members, this should raise a red flag as it suggests that there is something wrong. Generally speaking, a well-run HOA will keep the delinquencies low and maintain a budget. This will allow them to spend money on what you need in the future.

5. Board Meeting Minutes

You can often ask for board meeting minutes when considering whether or not you want to join an HOA. This will give you an idea of how the board meetings go, which will also allow you to understand whether or not you’re dealing with an organized HOA. You want to make sure that all business is being conducted in a formal setting, without any of it being secretive.

6. Property Maintenance

It’s incredibly important to pay attention to a property’s maintenance levels at any time. But when considering an HOA, it’s even more important. Keep in mind that cracked paint or small patches of mildew may not seem like much of an issue at first; but over time, they can be indicative of a truly uncaring HOA.

The HOA is the backbone of the community services. You need to make sure that you know what you’re doing when you buy a home in general. But make sure that you take these factors into account when considering an HOA in particular.