Cody Rohland's Blog
Many homeowners have a difficult relationship with their homeowners association. On the one hand, the HOA helps your community stay safe, clean, and makes it a desirable place to live which improves the property value of your home. But, on the other hand, homeowners associations can be a problem if you want to make a change to your property that they disagree with.
In this article, we’ll talk about some common issues that homeowners face in their dealings with homeowners associations and give you tips on how to handle them so that you’ll have the best possible outcome.
Study the rules carefully
It may seem like a nuisance, but your best defense when dealing with the homeowners association is to understand what’s expected of you. Not only will it help you stay on good terms with the HOA, but it will also make it easier to understand what your options are.
It’s a good idea to understand these rules and bylaws before you ever move into the neighborhood, but it’s never too late to learn them. It might help you later on down the road should you want to paint your house or build a new structure in your yard.
Introduce yourself to the members
It’s best to get off on the right foot with the other members of your homeowners association. You don’t want your first meeting to be a complaint against you, nor do you want to introduce yourself to someone only to make a complaint against someone else.
It will also give you a chance to ask questions about the community and to get an understanding of how easy or difficult it is to deal with the regulations of the homeowners association.
Don’t assume ill-will
If you find that a complaint has been raised against you, don’t act immediately. Take some time to compose your response and be sure to acknowledge the complaint. Odds are that the other members of the HOA aren’t there just to give you a hard time.
Choose your battles
There are some things worth fighting for when it comes to your home. However, you don’t want to be repeatedly challenging the HOA on small issues. Stick to the rules on the things that aren’t hugely important, that way other members won’t come to expect issues from you.
When you’re required to get permission from the board before making a change to your property, be sure you follow the steps laid out in your agreement. Doing so will avoid any unnecessary conflict.
Pay all dues and fines on time
Even if you are in the middle of a disagreement with the HOA, it’s better to continue paying your dues and fines that to leave them outstanding. If you don’t pay, you risk further penalty, including fees.
Plan ahead if you want to change the rules
If you’re dissatisfied with some or man of the rules of the homeowners association, odds are you’re not alone. First, start by talking with other neighborhood members. If they have similar views on the rules in question, you can bring them up collectively at the next meeting.
Your second option would be to run for the board and try to enact the changes yourself. However, you should never seek a position out of spite or anger. Only volunteer your time and effort if you want to lend a hand in your community and make life better for all of the inhabitants.
If this is your first time buying a home, you might feel a bit intimidated by the purchase contract. Contracts are often filled with industry and legal jargon, making them difficult to understand for the average buyer and seller.
Contingencies in particular give some buyers cause for concern because their contract depends on the contingencies being fulfilled. However, in most cases contingencies are pretty standard and only serve to protect the interests of both the buyer and seller during a real estate transaction.
In today’s post, I’m going to give you an introduction to contingency clauses and break down some of the most common contingencies you’ll find in today’s real estate purchase contract.
Contingency clause definition
Simply stated, a contingency clause is a statement within a contract that requires a certain event takes place before the contract is considered legally valid. As a result, contingency clauses are used to cancel or invalidate a contract if certain conditions aren’t met before the sale is made final. So, if one party fails to meet the obligation of the contingency, the other party is no longer bound by the contract (or required to buy or sell the house).
Contingencies can get confusing when they are vaguely worded in the contract, making them difficult to interpret. In these cases, a court may decide the specific meaning of the clause or determine that it is too vague to be legally upheld.
The other instance in which contingency clauses can be confusing is when a party includes a contingency that is atypical for a real estate purchase contract. Buyers and sellers alike should be wary of unusual contingencies.
The main contingencies
Appraisal contingency. Designed to protect the buyer, appraisal contingencies require that a home is appraised at a minimum amount, which is stated in the contract.
Financing contingency. Another contingency geared toward protecting buyers is the financing contingency. It states the number of days that a buyer has to secure financing for the home. This allows the buyer to cancel the contract (and offer) if they’re unable to secure suitable financing for the home.
Inspection contingency. One of the most important and most common contingencies is the inspection contingency. It allows the buyer to have the house inspected by a licensed professional within a certain number of days. This protects the buyer against unforeseen expenses and repairs that will need to be made in the near future.
House sale and kick-out contingencies. A house sale contingency gives the buyer a certain number of days to sell their home before financing a new one. However, since this can be a risky clause for sellers, a kick-out clause is often included. This contingency allows the seller to keep the home on the market and entertain other offers while the buyer secures financing and sells their other home or homes.
One of the most critical aspects of your financial state, when you’re buying a home, is that of your credit score. Credit scores take your entire economic history into account. That means every missed payment, every account opened, and that three-digit number represents every debt you owe. Once you obtain your credit score and assess your finances, if you realize your score needs help, you may feel desperate. The good news is that you’re not helpless. There are plenty of things that you can do to raise your credit score in a short time to increase your chances of getting a better rate on a loan for your home purchase. Read on for some tips on how to improve your credit score.
Keep An Eye On Your Credit Card Balances
One of the most impactful factors on your credit score is how much debt you have. How much debt you have versus how much available credit you have is a significant factor in your score. If you pay your balances in full each month, that’s great. Keep in mind that even if you do pay off your balances that monthly balance amount affects your score as well. Paying off your outstanding credit card balances will have a positive effect on your score.
Remember Some Debt History Is Good
Once you pay off a car or home loan, it can be tempting to want these accounts removed from your credit history. When you’re getting a home loan, the lender wants to know that you’re reliable. If you can show that you have responsibly paid off other loans that can only be a positive thing for you and your credit score. Don’t be so quick to remove old accounts that have been paid off from your report.
Pay On Time
If you pay your bills on time continuously, it can only bring your score up. If our rating needs help, this could be the most critical thing that you can do to raise your score.
Keep Your Payments Equal Over Time
Keeping your payments equal means that you shouldn’t start charging more than you usually would. You also shouldn’t begin to make lower payments than you have been. Keeping your spending and payments consistent can help you to raise and maintain a good credit score.
If you know you’ll be purchasing a home soon; you should check your credit score. If you’re not close to heading out on the home search, you can pull back a bit. While you always want to maintain good credit health, you shouldn’t be so focused on your credit score that you forget about other things like saving for a downpayment. Know that your credit score is essential in buying a home, but understand that there are many moving parts when it comes to buying a home.
You want to buy a house, but you know that you need to save as much money as possible for a down payment. Although you've tried to save money in the past, your best efforts have failed to help you collect the funds that you'll need to make a down payment on your dream residence.
Let's face it – saving for a home can be difficult. Fortunately, we're here to offer creative ways to help you get the money that you'll need to make your homeownership dream come true.
Now, let's take a look at three creative ways to save for a down payment on a house.
1. Start a Friendly Competition
Competition often brings out the best in homebuyers. Much in the same vein, you and your friends may be able to compete against one another to see who can save the most money for a down payment on a home.
If you and your friends intend to buy a home together or separately, a friendly competition can make a world of difference in getting the required funds for a down payment. In fact, you can even award the winner of this competition with an "Ultimate Saver" trophy or other fun prizes.
Ultimately, a friendly competition is a great way to have fun with friends and save money for a down payment on a house at the same time. Regardless of who wins the competition, you'll notice that your down payment savings will increase, moving you one step closer to acquiring your ideal residence.
2. Use a Rewards System
Saving for a down payment on a home may seem like a long, arduous process. However, if you build rewards into your day-to-day savings efforts, you can earn incentives as you reach various milestones.
For instance, you may want to reward yourself with a special dinner every time that you reach a savings milestone. Or, you can always celebrate hitting a savings milestone with a trip to the dog park with your puppy.
3. Trim the Fat from Your Budget
It sometimes can be tough to remove cable TV, takeout meals and other excess items from your budget. But if you consider the long-term benefits of these short-term sacrifices, you may be better equipped than ever before to save significant funds for a down payment on a home.
Look closely at your daily, weekly and monthly budgets. Then, you can determine which budget items are essential and which are not and trim the fat from your budget accordingly. This will allow you to speed up the process of saving for a down payment on a house and ensure that you can achieve your homeownership dream faster than ever before.
Lastly, as you prepare to explore available homes, don't hesitate to reach out to a real estate agent for extra help. By hiring a real estate agent, you can get the assistance that you need to discover a great house that falls within your price range.