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Old 07-13-2017, 07:16 AM   #1
jmvar
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Default Closing on a house with no HOA...wait there is an HOA....

We searched for a house for months and had given up and decided to wait a couple of years to save up more money for our expensive area. Out of the blue we found an affordable house with almost everything we wanted on our wishlist. In a rush to get our house on the market during the hot selling months of the summer we put about $15k into our current home (still not sold). This was all work I had planned to do myself over the next year but due to our tight timeline to get our house on the market we hired the work out.

We went through the loan approval, offer, negotiation, inspection process, more negotiation, contract signing, processes under the idea that the neighborhood had no HOA as listed by the seller's agent.

Now we are due to close on July 31st and all of a sudden we are told there is an HOA. I just received the Covenant and Restrictions doc and there is an architectural committee that can deny any changes for any number of vague reasons. Additionally, the house has a very nice 24'x32' detached garage (has a single garage door). These are the exact words from the document:

Prohibited Structures
No structure other than a detached dwelling, a private garage or carport (designed for use by not more than (2) automobiles), a swimming pool, patios, walkways, customary household television antenna, and fences and such other structures as may be appurtenant to said specified structures, shall be erected, placed, or maintained on any Lot, without the express written authorization of the Architectural Committee, which shall not be unreasonably withheld.

My concerns:
- of course #1 is the garage, it's large enough to where someone could say it can fit more than 2 cars despite the single door. It sits barely visible behind a nice 6 ft. fence (also probably not approved by the Architectural Committee) but I am still nervous some busybody can come at any point in the future and tell us to tear it all down.

- We want to make future external changes to the house. Change in siding (color and material, cheap vinyl to something nicer), completely new entrance with front door, enclose an outside mudroom in the front of the house, put in a bay window. In our opinion these changes would improve the neighborhood and would be in "aesthetic harmony with structures existing on the other areas of the property and in conformity with the overall development scheme of the property" but that is all so vague that it could get denied for any reason.

My confusion:
- who screwed up here? My thought is that it is the seller's agent
- why are there tear down and complete new builds in the neighborhood? These in no way match the current style of houses in the neighborhood.
- what should I do next? Ask sellers to confirm that the garage is legit with the HOA? They did not build the garage, it was built by the original owner with permits from the county
- run?

My thought is to have a local real estate lawyer read through the HOA documents and explain my risk in the situation of the garage and fence and have the current owner foot the bill. Am I being unreasonable?
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:21 AM   #2
chris142
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Default Re: Closing on a house with no HOA...wait there is an HOA....

If you included no hoa in your request then tbe realiter screwed up. Me personally would not even consider a house with a hoa.
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:22 AM   #3
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Default Re: Closing on a house with no HOA...wait there is an HOA....

Contact the HOA itself and ask all your questions via email, get answers in writing. If the answers are what you want to hear that you are good to go (IMO)

I live in a very nice upscale neighborhood with a ferociously strict HOA and never had an issue with any upgrades on my house. They are there more to tell you to not put your trash out ahead of time, or cut your grass, or blah blah blah.

They love me cause I bought the crappy house on the block and fixed it up haha.
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:28 AM   #4
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Default Re: Closing on a house with no HOA...wait there is an HOA....

Much of HOA law depends on your state. The real answers will come from a local real estate attorney, but I would rather find a different house than start off by paying one to unravel all of this.

Can the existing owner provide proof of HOA approval of the existing garage? That is the only question, not if they would approve it retro-actively. If they can't prove the HOA allowed it, then you are correct the HOA could decide at any point to crack down on all the neighborhood rebels and their unapproved garages. There are cases where people have lost their homes because of an unapproved flag pole, this is nothing to take lightly.

You didn't screw up, the HOA is a required notice in the sellers disclosure statement and their realtor is an idiot.

Unless this was my absolute dream home, I would walk.
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:36 AM   #5
Jinks
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Default Re: Closing on a house with no HOA...wait there is an HOA....

I agree with chris142. If none of the documents you signed mentioned the HOA, or specifically stated no HOA, then you can get out of the contract. Even if you have no proof they failed to mention the HOA they can't force you to come to closing. You might loose your earnest money, but that would be better than having someone else manage your home.

Closest I've come to a HOA was a small neighborhood where the two builders represented the "neighborhood committee". We all just ignored them & when all the lots were sold they went away.

Look into the "HOA" closely to see how active it is & opt out if possible. Otherwise, pass on the house, their still building them.
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:37 AM   #6
mike93lx
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Default Re: Closing on a house with no HOA...wait there is an HOA....

I would walk away. No chance i'd move into a neighborhood with an HOA.
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:49 AM   #7
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Default Re: Closing on a house with no HOA...wait there is an HOA....

I'm in Australia .. I find this HOA stuff is an impost on your own personal space. We have "covenants" in some developments which are totally irrelevant .. The house owners tell the developers to F off . I feel you .. ie .. all american people should stand up against this sort of people control. Its ridiculous and contradicts your right to live "free" .
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:54 AM   #8
idriveahonda
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Default Re: Closing on a house with no HOA...wait there is an HOA....

I'm with ChaseDE, and live in an extremely tight HoA. Typically the "Board of Directors" and "Architectural Committees" are other homeowners in the neighborhood. As long as your requests are reasonable, and your request is in writing...there should be no issues.

The goals of HoA:
- No wild paint colors
- Clean siding/roof
- Cut grass
- Trash cans in/out on-time
- No cars on jackstands in driveways visible from thoroughfare
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:57 AM   #9
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Default Re: Closing on a house with no HOA...wait there is an HOA....

Like said above, the agent made a mistake and you should ask all of these questions to the current HOA before you purchase the property. If they have written approval of all the stuff you mentioned you should be fine but , an HOA is like a babysitter I wouldn't want watching my every move and improvement around the house.

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Old 07-13-2017, 07:59 AM   #10
58Yeoman
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Default Re: Closing on a house with no HOA...wait there is an HOA....

I'd leave it. And demand any money put down to be returned.
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Old 07-13-2017, 08:00 AM   #11
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Default Re: Closing on a house with no HOA...wait there is an HOA....

Also, keep in mind, any HOA can vote to change the rules at any time. So for example they could fine you $100 a day anytime you keep your garage door up for longer than it takes to drive a car in or out. Or prohibit any form of hobby work in your garage as a part of noise abatement. Etc.

People who participate in Garage Journal are likely never going to get along with an HOA, why put yourself through all that?
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Old 07-13-2017, 08:03 AM   #12
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Default Re: Closing on a house with no HOA...wait there is an HOA....

Is the HOA active? As others have said find out, then you'll know if this is an issue or not.

That being said, even if it is inactive, it could be reinstated.

Our current home was built in 1978. The original owners of the land that the houses were built on were the HOA. They've all died.. there is nobody left to enforce the rules.

In many cases HOA's are paper tigers. A lot of rules that aren't followed and the HOA doesn't have the cahones to fight violators.. or perhaps the money to fight them in court.
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Old 07-13-2017, 08:06 AM   #13
ducksface
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Default Re: Closing on a house with no HOA...wait there is an HOA....

The document says
Designed to.
It in no way prohibits how many cars you park in it.
It doesn't say it. It doesn't allude to it. It doesn't say anything g but design.

The rest is up to you.
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Old 07-13-2017, 08:08 AM   #14
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Default Re: Closing on a house with no HOA...wait there is an HOA....

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexb2000 View Post
Also, keep in mind, any HOA can vote to change the rules at any time. So for example they could fine you $100 a day anytime you keep your garage door up for longer than it takes to drive a car in or out.
I believe that, but that is crazy to me, as stated I live in a deed restricted and well policed HOA neighborhood and leave my garage open at least 5 hours a day lol.
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Old 07-13-2017, 08:08 AM   #15
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Default Re: Closing on a house with no HOA...wait there is an HOA....

Quote:
Originally Posted by idriveahonda View Post
I'm with ChaseDE, and live in an extremely tight HoA. Typically the "Board of Directors" and "Architectural Committees" are other homeowners in the neighborhood. As long as your requests are reasonable, and your request is in writing...there should be no issues.

The goals of HoA:
- No wild paint colors
- Clean siding/roof
- Cut grass
- Trash cans in/out on-time
- No cars on jackstands in driveways visible from thoroughfare
I agree as well, a HOA is not necessarily a bad thing. I don't have a HOA where I live, but at times I wish I did. I do know several people who live in an area where they have a HOA and none of them are upset that they live there. In fact, where they live is a much nicer area and I tend to think their homes are worth more because of it.
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Old 07-13-2017, 08:09 AM   #16
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Default Re: Closing on a house with no HOA...wait there is an HOA....

^^^^^^^^^. As for post 7
Covenants and HOA rules are often the same thing in the US. Property can also have zoning restrictions by some or all the govt like city, village, county or state.

The fact the OP potenial property already has buildings on it makes it pretty sure there is not an current issue of them being a problem. A few quick checks can confirm if the HOA is still in tact and operational. Often older properties the HOA is still on the books or docs but not functioning. If it is not functioning and restarts all current structures are grandfathered in compliance.

Also some HOA are just crazy and should be avoided .............while others just limit structures like pole barns on a small suburban lot that are just plain ugly. Or stop a red neck from moving three old semi trailers or old school buses in for storage on that same suburban lot.
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Old 07-13-2017, 08:10 AM   #17
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Default Re: Closing on a house with no HOA...wait there is an HOA....

I would walk away. The HOA could be nice and accommodating today, but you have no idea who will be voted in later...
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Old 07-13-2017, 08:20 AM   #18
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Default Re: Closing on a house with no HOA...wait there is an HOA....

Oh hell no!

There's nothing more petty than having a rulemaking organization tell you when you can take out your trash and what color to paint your house. Its great for training compliant humans, but not much else.
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Old 07-13-2017, 08:21 AM   #19
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Default Re: Closing on a house with no HOA...wait there is an HOA....

Whether you asked about it or not, I would think this would fall under failure to disclose by the realtor.
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Old 07-13-2017, 08:34 AM   #20
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Default Re: Closing on a house with no HOA...wait there is an HOA....

I think everyone has a bad taste about HoA's regarding "freedom" and "it's my house I'll do what I like".

That is fine, don't buy a house in an HoA.

People who do buy in an HoA do so, so that they don't have to worry about their neighbors forgetting to do "regular maintenance" to their home. One bad house on a row of nice houses...makes the entire row look bad.

If my neighbor is thirty feet from me, I don't want them painting their house bright pink, or leaving their 88 Cutlass on jackstands and having the front yard filled with trash and childrens toys.

Let's be real, if we all had neighbors like the members on here...we wouldn't need an HoA. Fact is, people suck...and without an HoA many times...would let their house go to crap.
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