1) Verify the dues advertised on the listing are correct.
This is frequently incorrect. Ask the HOA manager to verify that what you were told is correct.
2) Verify what the dues covers has been advertised correctly.
Again, it’s easy for either the seller, the brokers and/or the buyer to wrongly assume a utility or service is included in the dues when that is not the case.
3) Verify that the HOA is the only HOA, some communities have more than one HOA association.
Many communities have overlapping HOA’s. With more than one set of HOA dues required.
4) Verify the rental cap and the number of rentals in the community.
If you ever intend to rent your condo out this is critical. Do not assume you can rent to a family member and be exempt for the rental cap. There is litigation pending in Washington (Filmore LLLP vs. the Unit Owners Association of Centre Pointe Condominium). state regarding rental caps, you may want to ask an attorney how this litigation might affect your condo or you personally if you ever intend to rent. Read more from the Seattle PI on this topic here.
5) Read the entire resale packet.
Yes, it’s boring and it’s a massive amount of paperwork. Your broker does not have any formal training in reading or interpreting the data in the resale packet. Write down all your questions and address them to the management company for the condo or someone on the board of directors.
6) Verify all the meeting minutes are actually included.
I get resale packets with missing or duplicate information all the time. Make a list of the meeting minutes and then send that list to the community management company and request that they verify you have a complete list. Get this in writing if possible.
A reserve study is extremely helpful. It provides an expert’s opinion on the financial strength of a community. HOA’s are required to have a reserve study done every year unless doing so places a financial hardship on the community. Proceed with caution if a reserve study is not made available to you.
8) Verify that there are no special assessments in place, recommendations for a special assessment nor discussions of a special assessment.
A reserve study will tell you much about pending special assessments. Cross check the meeting minute notes to learn what is being discussed in relationship to the reserve studies recommendations.
Lastly, verify the rules regarding pets, bbq’s, smoking, parking and whatever else you can think of. Make sure whatever limitations the rules are, that you can live comfortably with them. Please never make assumptions.