Your initial meeting with your real estate lawyer can be a bit intimidating. This is a realm your lawyer knows well and something you may not know much about. That’s why we want to walk you through that first meeting, so you can know exactly what to expect.
WHAT IS AN HOA?
A Homeowners Association (HOA) is a private organization comprising the members of a community: a subdivision, condo block, or other community. It is usually headed up by a volunteer board, which holds votes and makes the rules for the HOA, and therefore the community. HOA rules can dictate everything from the length of your lawn grass to the kind of mailbox you can have.
WHY WOULD YOU NEED A REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY?
Getting a real estate attorney is not always about resolving conflict or overcoming your enemies. Sometimes legal aid just comes down to hammering out an agreement, or answering a minor question so things can move forward. Here are some common reasons you may need an attorney to deal with your HOA.
- You’ve bought a home in the community and want to follow the bylaws
- You’re selling your home and want to do it by the book
- During a closing, both attorneys can make recommendations, including HOA matters
- You want to build an addition, put in a water feature, or renovate
- You are being threatened with or undergoing foreclosure
These are all circumstances with which legal representation can help a great deal. If something involves contracts, legal language, or future obligations, the chances are high that at least one lawyer has left their mark.
And of course, if you receive pushback from the HOA on any of your plans you have a few choices: Appeal the decision, give in, or fight the board. If you choose the last option, you will want a real estate attorney on your side.
WHAT DO I BRING TO OUR MEETING?
Your HOA attorney will thank you for arriving prepared. In fact, it’s probably best for you to collect the following and keep it handy regardless of what step of the legal process you’re currently at:
- Proof of ownership
- Proof of sale
- Documentation of the issues under discussion
- Correspondence from buyers, sellers, or the HOA itself
- Any contracts, with your questions written down for each
- Questions about the HOA itself or its bylaws
Essentially, your attorney will want to see any document you’ve signed or been given that relates to the property or legal matter in question.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM A HOA ATTORNEY MEETING?
An initial meeting with your real estate lawyer will mainly be about the basics. You’ll get to know each other so you can judge whether you want to work together, and then together you’ll sketch out your case.
- You should come away with an understanding of the steps in this journey you’re taking, start to finish: You will want to know what the possible endpoints look like, and the ways your lawyer will get you there. They’ve already been thinking about your case and they will have at least the beginnings of a strategy.
- Your attorney’s pay, other court or legal fees, other costs and expenses: It’s important to know the budget you’re working with, both for the attorney and the client. Nothing will sour a good working relationship like surprise costs and fees. A reputable lawyer will be up-front about money, whether they’re paid hourly, by retainer, or by some other arrangement, so you know what to expect.
- An understanding of the other side’s case or their motivations in this matter: Lawyers are skilled at being able to debate both sides of an argument or agreement. That means they will be able to tell you what the other side is planning, how they’ll accomplish it, and whether it might work. What could be a dicey conversation becomes simply another negotiation.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE HOA, GET MANNING & MEYERS ON YOUR SIDE TODAY
Take comfort in knowing your questions have answers, and you have access to those answers. Whether you’re in a conflict or just trying to keep a deal moving, your HOA attorney has most likely been there before and knows every mistake that is likely to be made.
That will save you time and money you’d otherwise be forced to spend on representing yourself. Reach out to Manning and Meyer for a free consultation so we can start helping you today!