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Tom7227

Home owner assocations

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My daughter is getting set to purchase a condo in Denver. She's finding all sorts of different rates for the Home Owner Assications (HOA).

What is the type of things to look for?

The one she looked at today is a completely new rehab place with 21 units, only 8 of which are occupied. The HOA fee is set at $130 a month. There is no HOA set up now. I wonder what sorts of things to look for and how a reasonable rate is determined.

My parents were in a townhome complex with a HOA run by the residents. It was a nightmare - none of the leaders had any experience and they didn't want to spend any money. It was supposed to be a 55+ age limit but there was no rule. Three years ago speculators bought some of the units and rented them out and problem tennants became the norm. This makes me think that professional management is the way to go.

Does anyone know what sorts of things to look for or avoid? The kid is looking for a place that costs $130K or so.

Any help will be appreciated.

Tom

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I just bought a townhome that has a HOA. For me, so far, I have yt to draw a conclusion. I pay $200 a month for the HOA, yet it's proffesionally run. During the winter, they shovel/plow everything, and I do mean everything. They remove snow from everywhere, including your walkway. +1 for association. During the summer, they cut all the "common areas." Another +1 for the association. If someone was to buy a townhome and rent it to someone, the prosepective tennet would have to go through a background check in all 50 states. +2 association. On the down side, we had to fix up our place before moving in (not the association's fault), and spent a lot of time, engery, and money doing it. while we were fixing it up, someone in the complex through out a water heater. The association blamed it on us, and went as far as to actually request to come look to see if we had replaced our water heater. Knowing that we had nothing to hide, we let them check. Our water heater was the only one checked (we asked neighbors). In my eyes, that goes to say that if you're new, you're a liar until proven otherwise. -5 association. Also, if you don't pay your dues, or any "fines" that may incur, they put a lien on your house. -10 association

Grand total: -11 association. Granted I just moved in (less than a month ago), but so far, being part of an association is something to be careful of and something to look over very carefully, possibly with a lawyer, depending on the association. The association I'm with does make life easier, yet can, and will nickel and dime you if and when they can. Example: when you move in, if you don't get a 3-ring binder of the rules of the association, it'll cost you $100; and it will take up to 10 days for you to get the rules after receipt of the $100. The association has rules of where you can and can't park (they don't like you to park on the public road). All the Townhomes in my complex have a 1 car garage. If you have 2 vehicles, and someone comes to visit, you're screwed!!!!! There are no parking lots either.

Sorry to ramble so much, but this is my two cents

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Another thing to look at when consider a HOA is to ask about what kind of capital they have backing them up. If something goes wrong that the HOA needs to pay for and if they aren't properly capitalized guess what? Your HOA fees will go up to cover the costs. Like all elements of the housing market some of the proffessional associations might be financialy hurting right now so I would try to look into that as best as you can. I would steer clear of any place that appears to be in financial trouble becuase your monthly fees are likely to go up when they start running short on cash.

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Any idea on the amounts someone should look for either in capital or the monthly fees? For example if the fee is $100 a month you aren't going to get much - no interior cleaning, not much in the bank, $150 you get ???, $200 you get choirs in the halls on holidays???

This HOA thing seems like a black hole to me but I've never rented so I guess I am ingnorant of the + and - 's.

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If the HOA is counting on $130/month from each of 21 units to do all of their services how are they going to manage with getting $130/mo from only 8 units? What are they going to have to leave out or are the additional expenses going to be split among the current residents?

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I have no love lost for HOA's. Not too many single home communities have them. Mine does though.

I knew that going in, but I really have seen no return on the annual dues. A big part of it goes towards a couple neighborhood "social functions" during the year, and mowing a small patch of community grass. The bylaws are never enforced and I see it as a huge waste of time and money.

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I have to agree with dtro. Although I live in a townohme and the HOA does more for me, there's apporx. 75 units in my HOA, and at $200 a month, that's $15,000 a month they're recieving. Yeah, they're plowing in the winter and mowing in the summer, but other than that, they really don't do too much. Plus, they want to nickle and dime us homeowners. $100 to get a 3 ring binder of the bylaws? I know for a fact that it doesn't cost $100 to by a 3 ring binder and print off the rules. I could understand if the HOA fees were lower, but to me, $200 is a little excesive.

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Do they cover insurance and garbage collection also?

We have a small HOA for a rural residential which doesn't do much except pay for electrical for the street lights and some small up keep. only like $100 a year. Doesn't enforce much either...my neighbors dont have to cut their weeds down.

Lawn and snow contract could run 4-6K per month and then what ever the gargage and insurance is. I suppose they have to have enought in the pot if siding or roofs need replacing.

I have never heard of a good association, the homeowner run ones tend to be too lenient and the professional run ones tend to be too strict in order of fairness.

I guess my only advice is to find out who runs the association when she finds a place of interest and then go meet the people and talk about the expectations etc.

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My opinion is this you buy a house in the hoa and live by their rules, you bought into them no turning back.....tough [PoorWordUsage]...lots of houses out there for sale without buying into a HOA. You don't have to do it. Look to live independently!!!!!!

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ANY house that we looked at if the realator told us there was an association we said "No Thanks!!!" If I am spending that much money the neighbors are NOT gonna tell me what I can and can not do. We have been living in our neighborhood for 8 years now and have never had an issue! Take care and N Joy the Hunt././Jimbo

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HOA will also hit you with a fine if you have a dog and start yellowing the lawn, leave your garage door open, or take your garbage can to the curb the night before pickup instead of the morning of. I will never do a HOA again.

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HOA will also hit you with a fine if you have a dog and start yellowing the lawn, leave your garage door open, or take your garbage can to the curb the night before pickup instead of the morning of. I will never do a HOA again.

Good Lord, there must have been a whole lot of fine print in that contract! That is precisely why we avoided them. Take care and N Joy the Hunt././Jimbo

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I lived in a townhome for 3 years and the only thing HOA did was plow one path in the driveway and mow the lawn once a month.. we had to do the rest. I was paying 200 a month. I had to fix my deck and the roof vents after a bad storm ripped them off the house and caused a leak into my livingroom and damaged the sheetrock witch I also had to fix. All out of my own pocket. I did take them to court and they won cause the had the money to pay the lawyers. Never again will I own a home with one.

And the presedent got a new car and a goldwing every year also. I wonder how he could afford those?????? Every one on the board was friends also, so watch out..

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I can't stand them. That's why I went with a house. Have friends that had them and when it came time to re-roof the homes, the monthly amount went up because they mismanaged money. I would rather pocket the two bills a month and not have someone tell me how to live, when to mow, what color my curtains have to be and so forth. But for starting out, it's a good way to not be renting. It's a buyer be ware type of thing.

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