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With HOA regulations becoming steadily more strict and obscure, it is becoming the real estate agent’s responsibility to help buyers navigate these uncharted waters. Buyers today are often wary of draconian home owner association policies, having heard horror stories from their friends and family. But with care and research you can prevent these little factors from becoming deal breakers.
- Talk to your client first. It goes without saying that this is an area highly affected by client preference. If you have a buyer who is the proud “pet parent” of three young pitbull pups, you’re already going to be scratching out the neighborhoods that have a ban on this controversial breed. On the other hand, a buyer who is obsessive about his neighborhood’s cleanliness may be able to view neighborhoods that other buyers would have found too restrictive.
- Do your own research. Request the HOA rules and skim them when showing a property. These rules are generally boilerplate, which means it’ll only take a few minutes to get to know them and see if anything sticks out. Eventually you’ll get a good idea of the neighborhoods in your area of expertise and immediately know which ones suit which buyers. This can be a great time saver.
- Let the positives outweigh the negatives. An incompatibility between HOA regulations and your buyer may not be the end of the world, and compromises do need to be made. Emphasize the positive aspects of the community beyond the negatives and try to find creative solutions to any problems your buyer might have with the location.
Knowing your client and your properties is the best way to find and reconcile differences between them. Remember that a real estate agent is in many ways a matchmaker, and a little extra research and patience can lead to a fast and efficient closing.
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