What Realtors Should Let Clients Know About HOA Laws in North Carolina

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In the world of real estate, navigating the realm of homeowners associations (HOAs) is crucial for both realtors and their clients. HOAs can affect a homeowner’s property within a subdivision or neighborhood and may alter a buyer’s opinion of a home for sale.

As a realtor in North Carolina, you need to guide your clients through the ins and outs of HOA laws in the state.

Understanding HOAs

A homeowners’ association (HOA) is an organization within a residential community that establishes and enforces rules and regulations for the properties under its jurisdiction. These rules govern various aspects of property ownership and can cover numerous issues, from architectural guidelines to landscaping requirements. HOA rules are outlined in governing documents such as the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) and bylaws.

HOAs are responsible for managing common areas, maintaining community amenities, and enforcing compliance with established rules. Homeowners within an HOA-governed community are typically required to pay dues, which fund various communal amenities and services. 

Implications For Homebuyers

For realtors assisting clients in purchasing a home, it’s essential to inform them about the presence of an HOA and how that can impact their homeownership experience and property use. Realtors should educate their clients about the rules and restrictions imposed by the HOA, which may cover architectural guidelines, landscaping requirements, pet policies, and noise regulations. Additionally, buyers should understand the financial obligations associated with HOA membership, including monthly dues and special assessments.

You should advise your clients to review the HOA’s architectural guidelines to ensure they align with their aesthetic preferences and renovation plans. Additionally, clients should be aware of any pet restrictions if they have pets or intend to acquire them in the future.

Reviewing HOA Documents

Realtors should advise their clients to carefully review the HOA’s governing documents before purchasing a property. These documents— including the CC&Rs, bylaws, and rules and regulations— outline the rights and responsibilities of homeowners within the community. Buyers should pay close attention to any restrictions or provisions that may affect their intended use of the property, such as rental restrictions, parking regulations, or architectural guidelines.

Inform your buyers that they should thoroughly review the CC&Rs to understand the process for obtaining approval for exterior modifications or landscaping changes. Clients should also inquire about any pending assessments or litigation that may affect their financial obligations or the overall stability of the community.

It’s always in your and your client’s best interest to partner with a trusted real estate attorney who is experienced with HOA law at the start of the home-buying process. A real estate attorney can make sure that your client understands the provisions in the HOA’s CC&Rs to avoid any possible disputes in the future.

Staying Informed About Legislative Changes

In North Carolina, HOA laws and regulations may be subject to legislative changes that impact homeowners and community associations. Realtors should stay informed about proposed legislative amendments, such as House Bill 542, which is currently under consideration by NC lawmakers and seeks to introduce safeguards against excessive HOA fines and assessments. By staying up-to-date on regulatory developments, you can provide informed guidance to your clients and mitigate potential risks.

Partner With Starling Law Firm

Navigating HOA laws is an essential aspect of the real estate transaction process. By educating yourself and your clients about HOA regulations and potential legislative changes, you can help ensure a smooth and informed homebuying experience. At Starling Law Firm, we have years of experience in real estate law and offer legal guidance to realtors and their clients throughout the home-buying process. Contact us today to partner with experienced legal professionals who prioritize your clients’ best interests.