If you have ever checked out the latest St. Cloud real estate listings, you noticed monthly expense items for some of them listed as “Homeowners’ Association” (HOA) or “Condo Association” fees. Both are the monthly sums that any new owner will be required to pay in addition to property taxes.
It’s easy to lump them both together in the same mental category because they are so similar in character: each represents an expense item that neighbors pay to defray common maintenance, repair and other expenses that affect everyone. But there are major differences between the two—and they’re not just legal fine points. In fact, being aware of the differences will lead to a greater likelihood that you’ll take one particular action that can prove to be terrifically beneficial.
Without going into too much detail about all the possible variations of St. Cloud HOAs and CAs, the biggest differences are due to the differing scopes of ownership. Homeowners Associations usually consist of residences where the individual owners each own their homes and land. They may share many or few common areas. In one HOA, that common area might consist of a shared Olympic-size swimming pool, clubhouse, patios, gardens, etc. In a different HOA, the shared property could be little more than an entry island with a sign and some flower beds.
In a Condominium Association, the mutual obligations are usually more extensive due to the nature and scope of ownership and obligations. The condo owner may own his or her unit, but shares in responsibility for the building and grounds. (If you’re thinking, where does the building end and the unit begin, you’re beginning to understand how important the distinctions can be).
What was that “one particular action” I mentioned—the one that can “be terrifically beneficial”? If you are seriously considering any of today’s St. Cloud condominium offerings, or those that list an HOA, that action is simple—be absolutely certain you have received a current copy of the rules and regulations that go with that property.
Key word here is “current.”
Both Homeowners’ Condo Associations can be terrific assets in protecting what is about to become your major investment—but if you wait until signing day to get a copy, they can also expose you to expenses you never expected.
When you take me on as your St. Cloud real estate agent, I’ll be there every step of the way to make sure you get all the information and expertise you need. They all will be part of how you make the right decisions to land you in your next St. Cloud home!
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