If I buy the undeveloped majority (including the common areas) of a minimally developed subdivision at foreclosure, for which the HOA was never incorporated, and if I do not intend further development, what rights and responsibilities do I have in regard to the common areas? Can they be converted to my personal use?
Real Estate Attorney
You've got a pretty complex question here. Any answer you get is going to be subject to having an attorney look at and examine the documents before you are going to get a reliable answer. YOu may well be able to take control of the common areas, but I'd never dream of telling you that without knowing a lot more information and examining the title for the property. Unless you are willing to just roll the dice on this, I'd strongly advise you hire a lawyer to assist you in sorting through these issues. You may spend several thousand dollars to do so, but the amount of problems you can save yourself would likely make it well worth it.
The other attorney gave a great answer. I will add that what raises a flag for me is you say "undeveloped majority," which might imply that there is a "developed" minority. And if that minority has owners, then things will be more complex than they already are. You NEED a real estate attorney to look at this. I often hate given that sort of canned advice (and dismayed by the attorneys that simply post answers saying "go see an attorney.", but you are contemplating a complex real estate transaction that if done wrong will cost substantially more in the long run than investing in hiring an attorney up front to get it done right.
If there are minority owners, at a minimum, some sort of severance or partition action will likely need to take place and those owners may need to be compensated as I suspect their deeds gave them some right to common area. Just speculating. Hopefully this helps.
Since we don't really know the scope or the risks with what you are proposing, hard to really provide much more insight.