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What happens if HOA Dues are wrong on a real estate listing?

Nothing. There is no explicit requirement that HOA Dues be correct and there is no penalty if they are wrong.

In our 5 years of research, HOA Dues are incorrect on 18% of online listings. In 99% of these cases, the actual HOA Dues are higher than the listed HOA Dues.

Why do these errors happen? Why are they always under-reporting HOA Dues? Is it purposeful?

It’s pretty clear that HOA Dues and Sale Price are negatively correlated. This means an increase in HOA Dues will decrease Sale Price.

So how can you make HOA Dues seem lower without making it completely obvious it was done on purpose?

List HOA Dues from a previous year.

Previous year HOA Dues are almost always lower due to inflation and they provide a convenient excuse if anyone catches the “mistake”.

Of course, not all listings with incorrect HOA Dues are done on purpose. Sometimes a listing is created prior to dues changing and the listing isn’t updated when the HOA Dues increase. Others may not be aware their HOA Dues have increased and they actually think the old dues are still correct. Neither is a good excuse for HOA Dues being listed incorrectly, but it does happen quite often.

As a buyer, how can you avoid paying higher HOA Dues than you were expecting?

Make sure to verify the HOA Dues in the disclosures. While the HOA Dues don’t have to be correct in the listing, they do have to be accurate in the disclosures. And don’t forgot to also check for any upcoming Special Assessments!

Unfortunately, HOA Financials are usually buried in hundreds of pages of documents and you only have a limited amount of time to review them. That’s where we can help:

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Ours is the opposite. They never raised the dues and now our reserves are short, meaning a special assessment for the first time ever in 35 years

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