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CAI Publishes Free Resource for Homebuyers

6/17/2005  -  Alexandria, VA

Homebuyers don't always know what to expect when they move into a community association, and that lack of understanding can generate confusion, frustration and turmoil.

Now there's a free brochure that gives consumers a better sense of association-governed communities before they purchase their homes. Community Matters—What You Should Know Before You Buy explains the nature, benefits and obligations of the community association lifestyle, addressing governance, rules, assessments, homeowner expectations and more.

Developed by Community Associations Institute (CAI), the brochure outlines the typical nature of association-governed communities and highlights questions potential buyers should be able to answer before buying. For example:

  • How often can assessments increase and by how much?
  • Do the architectural guidelines suit your preferences?
  • Are there simmering issues between homeowners and the elected board?

"Most people are very satisfied living in community associations, but issues can and do arise," says Tom Skiba, CAI's chief executive officer. "That's why it's important that homebuyers understand the nature of community association living. There are many benefits, and various attractions and amenities depending on the community, but there are also obligations and rules. The more you know, the more likely you'll enjoy your new home and community."

More than 54 million Americans make their homes in an estimated 274,000 homeowner and condominium associations, cooperatives and other planned communities.

Community associations typically deliver services that were once the exclusive province of local government, including trash pickup, street lighting and snow removal, to name but a few. This transfer, or privatization, of services has become commonplace as the demand for housing has outpaced the ability of many local governments to provide services. Not only has privatization relieved local municipal budgets, but it has proven economically efficient for homeowners. This win-win proposition has led to the rapid growth of association-governed communities – from just 10,000 in 1970 to some 274,000 in 2005.

By delivering services at the direction of their members, community associations meet the expectations of residents by working to provide safe, well-maintained living environments, preserving the nature of communities and protecting property values.

Cooperation and compliance are accomplished through governing documents that typically address architectural guidelines (dealing with items such as additions, decks and paint colors) and rules pertaining to issues such as pets and parking.

The brochure can be downloaded for free at Printed brochures can be purchased in increments of 100 on the website or by calling CAI toll-free at (888) 224-4321. The cost is $13 per hundred for CAI members and $21 per hundred for nonmembers.

Since most homebuyers rely on real-estate agents to help them through the process of finding and buying a home, Community Matters is ideal for agents who list and find homes in community associations. CAI is a national, nonprofit association dedicated to fostering vibrant, responsive, competent community associations. The group's 16,000-plus members represent professional community managers, community association volunteer leaders, management companies and professionals who provide products and services to association-governed communities.

Phone: 703-970-9235