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Thinking About Buying a Home in a Homeowner Association, Condo or Cooperative?

4/14/1998  -  Alexandria, VA

As the home-buying and -selling season gets rolling, many Americans will soon be asking what it means to live in a community association and whether it's the right choice for their families. Homes in condominium, cooperative and homeowner associations offer many advantages and amenities, but they are not for everybody, according to the Community Associations Institute.

About 50 percent of new homes in metropolitan areas are developed in a planned community format. This means that homeowners share ownership of common land and amenities like swimming pools, tennis courts, nature trails and playgrounds that they might not be able to afford otherwise. All homeowners automatically become members of and pay assessments to the community association, which protects and manages common property and enforces association covenants. A community association operates as a government, a community and a business, making it a truly specialized type of organization.

About 42 million Americans live in community associations today, and more than a million volunteer to serve on their associations' boards of directors and committees. These volunteers plan community events, manage budgets, contract for maintenance and repair services and enforce the association's covenants. Each homeowner should become involved in the association. From producing newsletters to ensuring compliance with architectural guidelines, there's an opportunity for every homeowner to contribute regardless of where his or her talents lie.

For a detailed description of how community associations and a list of questions to ask before deciding to buy a home in one, call the Community Associations Institute at 703/548-8600 and request a free copy of the consumer brochure, The Homebuyer and the Community Association. The brochure is one of nearly 100 books, guides, videotapes and other resources for community associations available through CAI's 1998 Catalog of Publications. For a free Catalog or more information on CAI, call or visit the Institute's Web site at

The Community Associations Institute is a nonprofit association created in 1973 to educate and represent the nation's 205,000 community associations, condominium associations, homeowner associations and cooperatives. CAI members include homeowners, associations and related professionals and service providers.

Phone: 703-970-9235