Joyce Cucchiara's Blog
8 Jasper Street, Beverly, MA 01915
When it comes to homeowner’s associations, you need to know what type yours is before you determine whether to “join” it. There are two types of associations, covenant-based and voluntary. When homeowners ask about requirements to join a homeowner’s association, they may believe it is optional, but if our association is covenant-based, you have automatic membership by virtue of being a property owner.
Here’s How They Work
A voluntary association is a group of property owners that collectively decide how to improve their neighborhood. By the time you move into the neighborhood, the HOA may be well-established, so you’re not aware of how it started. Such HOAs are more similar to neighborhood improvement clubs, local sports team sponsors and other folks that join in order to develop a sense of community.
A covenant-based HOA is a contract that is part of the land purchase agreement within a development. That means that all property owners automatically must retain membership and that agreement is binding on all future owners within the specified development.
You might question how a contract is binding on future owners, but in the case of a covenant-based homeowner’s association, the covenant “runs with” the property as recorded in the county land records office. The document that spells out the covenants attaches to the property deed. When you buy a lot or home in the development, the original deed and any liens or covenants that attach to it become your responsibility.
Often, the original developer set up and controlled the association until the last piece of land sold or a sufficient number of homes sold so that the running of the association could transfer to the owners. Typically, these determinations are part of the original covenant documents filed with the county records. HOAs run by a board of elected owners from within the development. Unlike a voluntary association, renters or leaseholders cannot become members even though they are bound by the rules and conditions of the association.
Know Which Type It Is
Before you choose to purchase a home in a neighborhood with an association, learn whether it is voluntary or covenant-based. Ask to see copies of the covenants, conditions and rules (CC&Rs) before you commit to purchasing in that development. Your real estate agent can write a contingency into your purchase contract to require approval of the CC&Rs if you’re concerned about living within the HOA.
A variety of complications can come into play for today's property owners. Many of these issues involve title — property rights conferring legal ownership. While title is often straightforward, it may prove difficult to establish in select circumstances. In such situations, a quiet title action may be the most effective solution available.
What Are Quiet Title Actions?
It is critical that homeowners be fully aware of their status as titleholders. In most cases, title is obtained through sole or shared ownership, although it can also sometimes be granted through trusts. Regardless of how it is obtained, title should ideally be clean and clear — completely free of liens, levies or any concerns that might call legal ownership into question.
In select cases, title may be secured via a civil process known as a quiet title action. This procedure is often initiated by the property owner. The goal? To officially establish a party's title to personal or real property in hopes of 'quieting' or essentially ending any challenges to the title in question.
Quiet title actions occur under a variety of circumstances. Many take place in the midst of disputes with mortgage lenders. Others may be prompted by cases of adverse possession, in which neighbors or even trespassers attempt to gain claim to property that they do not currently own. State regulations vary regarding who is allowed to pursue quiet title actions and how the process takes place.
Key Considerations For Pursuing Quiet Title Actions
The primary downside of quiet title actions is that they cannot always be relied upon to clear up all claim issues. Also, while quiet title actions may sometimes seem like a non-adversarial approach, they can quickly escalate disputes that might have otherwise been downplayed via alternative legal solutions. For this reason, they must be undertaken only when property owners and their legal counsel determine that other options will prove ineffective for clearing up title conflicts.
Those who choose to move forward with quiet title actions should closely examine the circumstances surrounding current disputes to determine how this approach can ultimately lead to clean and clear title. Likewise, regional differences should be analyzed, as the process can look dramatically different from one state to the next. Patience is critical; as with any legal action involving property, this process can prove time-consuming.
When title is called into question, it is critical that property owners respond in a proactive manner. Depending on the situation, this could mean pursuing a quiet title action. Weigh the risks and benefits carefully to determine whether this is the appropriate course of action. Depending on the situation, this approach could prove valuable both for legal purposes and for providing personal peace of mind.
298 Ash Street, Reading, MA 01867
When it comes to selling a house, it helps to plan ahead. By doing so, a home seller can identify and resolve potential home selling hurdles right away.
With the right approach to selling a house, any seller can minimize problems along the way. In fact, the right approach may increase the likelihood that a seller can enjoy a speedy home selling experience.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help sellers streamline the home selling journey.
1. Price Your House Competitively
What is your house really worth? This question is difficult to answer for a home seller, as many factors impact the value of a home.
A home's age and condition likely will play important roles in your residence's value. Furthermore, external factors like the crime rates in the city or town where your home is located or your house's proximity to parks and schools may affect your residence's value.
To establish a competitive price for your house, you'll want to study the local housing market. Look at the prices of available houses that are similar to your own; this data can help you define a competitive initial asking price for your residence.
In addition, it frequently helps to perform a home appraisal. During a home appraisal, a property expert will assess your house and provide a property valuation. Then, you can use this valuation to determine the ideal asking price for your house.
2. Conduct a Home Inspection
Although a home inspection generally is completed after a seller accepts a buyer's offer on a house, there is no need to wait. Instead, a home seller can conduct an inspection prior to listing a residence to learn about a house's strengths and weaknesses.
Review the results of a home inspection closely – you'll be glad you did. After a home inspection, you can identify any underlying problems with your house and take the necessary steps to resolve these issues. That way, you can prevent such problems from cropping up after a buyer submits an offer on your house.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
If you are unsure about how to price your house or complete other home selling tasks, there is no need to worry. Remember, you can always hire a real estate agent who can provide plenty of support throughout the home selling journey.
A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of selling a house. As such, this housing market expert can teach you about the real estate sector and ensure you can achieve the best possible home selling results.
Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings and open house events, negotiate with a buyer's agent on your behalf and simplify the home selling cycle. With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble receiving expert responses to your home selling questions too.
Ready to add your house to the real estate market? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can reap the benefits of a speedy home selling experience.