So you found that perfect condo or home, in the perfect neighborhood. You figure out what your monthly mortgage payment will be, how much taxes you will owe, the home owners insurance, and finally any Private Mortgage Insurance that you hate to pay. But don’t forget the most overlooked fee to home ownership…the HOA fee.

Home Owners Associations have been popping up everywhere there is a new development for the last 15 years. Many times they are good for the neighborhood as they keep things neat and tidy. Other times it seems all they do is collect an annual fee, and let the neighborhood go to pot. In my real estate career, I have heard many a horror story, but let’s face it, they are here to stay.

So what are things to look for, know, or ask, when you are buying a new condo or home in Minneapolis?

Here are a few ideas:

  • How much is the fee and when is it charged? Monthly or annually?
  • Can the HOA put a lien on your home if you don’t pay?
  • Get a copy of the Home Owners Association documents before putting in an offer and make sure you are ok with the rules
  • In Minnesota, if you are looking to purchase a condo, the law says you have 10 days to review the documents. If you dislike anything, you can cancel the contract with no penalty.
  • If buying new construction in a subdivision, what percent of completion is the subdivision at? Many times the developer will not turn the neighborhood over to the home owners until he has sold 75% of the lots.

If you are not sure, ask your real estate agent for help. Most of the time the agent will already have these questions answered for you.

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