How To Get Out Of Paying HOA Dues In Wisconsin

Getting Out Of Paying HOA Dues When Selling a House

How To Get Out Of Paying HOA Dues In Wisconsin

Homeowners associations (HOAs) are common in many residential communities, and they have their own set of rules and dues. If you’re trying to sell your house and want to learn how to avoid paying HOA dues, you’re not alone. 

Many homeowners seek ways to minimize costs and maximize profits when selling their property. In this article, we’ll explore strategies to help you manage or even avoid HOA fees during the selling process.

What You Need To Know About HOA Dues

An HOA fee is a regular charge, usually monthly or quarterly, that homeowners pay to their homeowners association. HOA fees cover various services provided by the HOA. If you live in a condo, you might pay a similar fee to the condo association.

Understanding how HOA dues are calculated is crucial if you intend to purchase a property in a community. The money raised is used by the HOA to uphold and enhance the standard of living in the neighborhood. It may cover duties including common area maintenance, security, and landscaping.

These fees are in addition to your mortgage, property tax, and homeowner insurance payments. Even if you’ve paid off your mortgage, you’ll still need to pay HOA fees.

The fees collected by an HOA can offer residents benefits and amenities that individual homeowners might not afford on their own. If you value these benefits, you likely won’t mind paying HOA fees. 

However, make sure your real estate agent helps you thoroughly research the HOA before you buy. If you find these services and amenities unnecessary, you might be happier living in a non-HOA community.

What Do HOA Fees Cover?

HOA fees can cover a wide range of services and amenities, depending on what your community offers. Your HOA’s governing documents will detail exactly what the fees pay for. 

Here are some common examples:

  • Grounds Maintenance and Landscaping: Keeping the common areas, parks, and green spaces well-maintained.
  • Snow and Trash Removal: Ensuring that streets and communal areas are cleared of snow and that trash is collected regularly.
  • Electricity and Pest Control for Common Areas: Covering the costs of lighting and pest management in shared spaces like hallways, clubhouses, and playgrounds.
  • Enforcement of HOA Rules: Maintaining property values and community standards by ensuring that all homes are kept in good repair and are visually appealing.

How do HOA Dues Work?

HOA dues are typically set by the association’s board and are outlined in the community’s governing documents. 

These documents detail the amount, payment schedule, and consequences of non-payment. Some communities charge monthly dues, while others may have quarterly or annual payments.

The funds collected from HOA dues are used to cover the costs of community management, maintenance, and improvements. These funds are often allocated to specific accounts such as operating funds and reserve funds.

It might include everything from paying for a property manager to funding long-term projects like repaving roads or upgrading community facilities.

Getting Out Of Paying HOA Dues When Selling a House

How To Get Out of Paying HOA Dues

Dealing with HOA dues can be a significant concern when you’re trying to sell your home. Also, understanding the cost of selling a house can help you better prepare for the financial aspects of the selling process.

Here are some practical approaches to help you get out of paying HOA dues.

Sell Your House to an Investor

Real estate investors often purchase properties as-is, which means they might be willing to take on the responsibility of paying any outstanding HOA dues. It can be an appealing option if you’re looking to sell your house fast and avoid additional costs.

Negotiate with the Buyer

In some cases, you may be able to negotiate with the buyer to cover the unpaid HOA dues. It is more likely if your property is in high demand or if you offer other concessions, such as a lower sale price or covering closing costs.

Seek a Waiver from the HOA

Some HOAs may offer a waiver or reduction in dues under certain circumstances, such as financial hardship, or if you can demonstrate that the fees are excessive. If you’re facing high HOA fees, it is not guaranteed, but it’s worth discussing with your HOA board.

Pay Off the Dues Before Selling

If possible, paying off the dues before listing your home can simplify the selling process. It removes any potential red flags for buyers and can help your property sell faster.

Ask to See the HOA Budget

As a homeowner, you have the right to review the HOA budget. Request a copy and examine how the funds are being allocated. If you have questions or see the potential for savings, bring them up with the HOA president or an HOA board member for clarification.

Join the HOA Board

If you have the time, joining the HOA board can provide more insight into the finances. It can allow you to identify areas where costs can be cut. These efforts can lead to significant cost savings for the entire community.

Cut Landscaping Costs

Landscaping can be a significant part of the HOA budget. Look into whether the services can be reduced or if a different, more affordable vendor can be hired. Sometimes, long-standing vendors may be overcharging, and renegotiating the terms can lead to substantial savings.

Examine the Insurance Policies

Insurance is another major expense for HOAs. Discuss with the board whether the current insurance policies can be renegotiated for better rates or if switching to a different provider can save money.

Reduce Non-Essential Projects

Identify non-essential projects in the HOA budget that can be deferred. These might include periodic maintenance tasks that are not immediately necessary, like repainting or non-urgent repairs.

Claim Financial Distress

If you are experiencing financial hardship, explain your situation to the HOA. You might be able to get a temporary delay or reduction in dues. Being upfront about your financial situation can sometimes result in the HOA offering some relief options.

By employing these strategies, you can effectively manage your HOA dues, potentially lowering or eliminating them.

Additional Tips for Getting Out of HOA Dues

Navigating the financial obligations of homeowners association fees can be particularly challenging, especially when you’re trying to sell your house. 

Understanding your HOA’s policies and communicating openly with your HOA board can alleviate some of the stress of selling the house.

Understand Your HOA’s Policies

Familiarize yourself with your HOA’s rules about dues and payments. Each HOA has important documents that explain these rules, including bylaws and covenants. These papers tell you how much you need to pay when you need to pay, and what happens if you don’t pay. 

Understanding these rules well can help you negotiate or even lower the fees. Some HOAs have rules that offer help if you’re having financial problems. Knowing these details can also help you when you talk to the HOA board or potential buyers.

Communicate with Your HOA

Open communication with your HOA board can be highly beneficial. Approach the board with a clear explanation of your situation and your reasons for needing assistance with the dues. It might include financial difficulties, unexpected monthly expenses, or an urgent need to sell the property. 

HOAs sometimes offer a payment plan, deferrals, or even temporary reductions in dues for homeowners facing hardships. By being honest and proactive in your communication, you might find that the board is more willing to work with you to find a mutually agreeable solution.

Consult a Real Estate Agent

A knowledgeable real estate agent can provide valuable advice on how to handle HOA dues during the selling process. Agents who have experience with properties in HOA communities understand the nuances and challenges that come with these fees. 

They can offer strategies for negotiating with buyers, such as suggesting that the buyer assumes the remaining dues or incorporating the dues into the closing costs. 

Also, real estate agents often have established relationships with HOA boards, which can facilitate smoother negotiations. Their expertise can help you present your property in the best light while addressing any concerns related to unpaid dues.

Explore Legal Options

In some cases, there may be legal grounds to challenge the amount or validity of HOA dues. 

For example, if you believe the dues are not being used as outlined in the HOA’s governing documents or if there has been a lack of transparency in how the fees are calculated, you might have a case. 

Consulting with a real estate attorney can help you explore these options. An attorney can review the HOA’s bylaws and your payment history to determine if any legal arguments could reduce HOA fees.

It could involve disputing excessive charges or identifying procedural errors in how the dues were assessed. Exploring these legal avenues can provide a potential path to relief from burdensome HOA fees.


Selling a house while managing HOA dues can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. By understanding how HOA dues work and exploring various strategies, you can minimize or eliminate these fees and make the selling process smoother. 

If you’re looking to sell your house in Shorewood or any other location, contact us at Cream City Home Buyers. We buy houses in Waukesha and surrounding areas to provide a hassle-free selling experience. 

At Cream City Home Buyers, we’re here to support you every step of the way. 

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