Selling a Home in an HOA


Love 'em or hate 'em, Homeowners Associations are a fixture in Northern Virginia. And it doesn't seem like they're going anywhere anytime soon. Many sellers don't understand the role of the HOA as it pertains to their home sales. 

As a homeowner, you must comply with the rules, regulations, and covenants of your community. The HOA is designed to protect the integrity of the neighborhood by ensuring that homes and properties are maintained, common areas are taken care of, and the amenities are kept in top condition. To facilitate homeowner compliance, the HOA performs annual inspections. You may receive letters telling you that you have violations and typically they give you 30 days to comply. Fines and loss of community privileges can be enforced if you don't comply. And still, a lot of homeowners ignore the letters.

Here's why it's important that you don't ignore them. When you sell your home, your Realtor will order the resale disclosure package. Virginia code requires that sellers deliver an entire resale disclosure package to anyone purchasing a home in an HOA. The buyer has 3 days to review the package and can void the contract if there is anything in the docs they don't agree with. As part of preparing the resale package, the HOA is going to perform a resale inspection of your property. If you have violations or any architectural improvements that you didn't submit applications for, it's going to be noted. 

Do you know what the Northern Virginia Regional Sales Contract says about violations? It says sellers MUST comply with all orders or notices of violation. Those violations also survive settlement so if the buyer doesn't agree to take them on, they can either delay closing until you fix them or they can come back and sue you afterwards to force you to fix them.

Not every seller appreciates their HOA. You may think the violation is ridiculous or you may have even purchased your house with an existing violation. It doesn't matter. You have to comply and mitigate the violation. There is no sense in getting mad or refusing to address something. Just get it done, and move on. 

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