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Old 06-02-2013, 06:53 AM
12 posts, read 21,358 times
Reputation: 12


Hi again
As I look through Zillow, etc. I see many houses that look nice that are part of a community or homeowners association. It seems like this is very popular in certain areas outside Burlington. While I do know what they are and basically how they work, I am wondering about the benefits/disadvantages from the perspective of folks who live in these communities. Are there especially restrictive rules? Do the associations offer any particular services? It looks like one benefit in many of the communities are pools/tennis courts. Are they well maintained? It seems like a nice benefit for new kids coming to town who want to meet other kids. Are the pools in particular well used and a meeting place for kids in the summer?

I do know that "it depends" on us, what we like, etc., and on the particular association in question, but I am just curious about other people's own thoughts and whether there are any general comments to be had.

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Old 06-02-2013, 07:08 AM
Location: The Woods
16,936 posts, read 22,202,288 times
Reputation: 9020
Well, you get to pay for someone else (probably the neighborhood busy-bodies) to tell you how to manage your own property if you live in those places. Taxes are already high up that way, and local restrictions thick. I see no advantages, and properties in a HOA can be tougher to sell down the road because they're just not well liked by most.
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:00 AM
3,463 posts, read 4,520,542 times
Reputation: 7121
HOA's are neighborhood racketeering organizations.
Essentially, their bylaws are written so if anyone wants to do a witch hunt on you, they are able to find something to get you on. You are forced to live by rules your 'neighbors' choose for you. If you want your curtains to be purple, Mrs. Buttinski across the street will have to approve. HOA's appear to be 'good' on the surface because they might have a factor in keeping abandoned cars off of peoples lawns and stuff like that, but you must keep in mind, at any time, out of the blue, they can make your life a living hell, depending on your 'neighbors' and the Stassi inspired board members. HOA dues are money you will never get back and do not add anything to our investment. Also, if your board decides they want a statue of Hienrich Himler at the entrance, your dues will go up until it is paid for. I would opt for living among bikers than HOA Taliban
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Old 06-02-2013, 06:12 PM
274 posts, read 594,056 times
Reputation: 202
I like ours. Fortunately we haven't experienced anything like what was described above. What has worked really well is that it is very family oriented (kids everywhere!) so my kids were able to easily make friends when we moved here. They spend hours around the neighborhood playing ball and biking like it was when my husband and I were kids, and it feels very safe. Of course, we'd personally prefer to live somewhere with a little more space and privacy (the VT postcard) but it's been awesome for the kids. We do get a pool, tennis, common areas, a park, etc as part of a small annual fee and it's a nice perk in the dog days of summer.
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Old 06-06-2013, 04:19 PM
Location: Vermont
5,439 posts, read 14,743,656 times
Reputation: 2629
our condo is an HOA. All is well. Very tame and laid back, small complex. I wouldn't buy a home in an HOA personally.
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Old 06-18-2013, 08:48 AM
Location: Burlington, VT
483 posts, read 1,778,626 times
Reputation: 259
When I was house-hunting, I read a lot of condo docs. I've found condo associations in Burlington to be very low-key. The most common rules I saw were pet limits (number and type), camper and boat restrictions (must be kept in the garage or driveway), and bans on home businesses (especially day cares), livestock, trampolines, and clotheslines (not legally enforceable due to the state's Right to Dry laws). Some banned bedsheets as curtains.

I live in an 8-unit condo complex with a very laid back HOA. I kept a bicycle under a tarp on the front porch all winter, and no one said a word. To be fair, it was covered with snow most of the winter. I don't like our plow contractor, but I'm very happy otherwise.

I have relatives near Raleigh, and the HOAs there can be nightmares. I would be very, very wary of living in an HOA in the south. I would be wary of buying a home in a historic district for the same reason.

Last edited by Hatless Wonder; 06-18-2013 at 08:53 AM.. Reason: more information
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Old 07-19-2013, 04:58 PM
41 posts, read 73,223 times
Reputation: 68
As someone with relatives in North Carolina who live in an HOA community there, & as someone who lives in one up here, the difference between the South & here is they actually enforce the covenants in the South. This can be good or bad depending on your perspective (sometimes rules are petty, but sometimes also neighbors are crazy or abusive). For example, a common rule is no street-parking. Fine, but what if you have guests? You're not going to get a fine or warning in VT typically, whereas you might in North Carolina. Another rule (often not enforced, to the irritation of many): bag it & clean up when your dog goes. If you are attracted to an HOA because of the "rules", you will probably not be thrilled with it in Vermont. Your neighbor might do stuff that violates the rules and no one is going to call them on it. Although there are a few condo developments with more active boards, especially in ski areas, many in Chittenden County are only for purposes of pooling neighbor's $ on common area lawn-mowing; trash removal & snow plowing (the latter is an attractive thing for many). There is a special state law for HOA communities (that typically allows developers to get much more density than they would otherwise), so the lawyers for the developers do the paperwork to set it up with the HOA. But the towns don't have the $ or employees to follow-up and ensure compliance once the new HOA community has received its initial permits & is built-out. It's up to the people in the community itself to manage it and you can see how the ball gets dropped entirely.

If you are looking at attached unit condos, check to see the owner-occupied rate; how much they have in the reserves; how old the condo development or building is (you might get nailed with a hefty "special assessment" fee of hundreds of extra dollars per month if it's time to replace the roof), etc.
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Old 07-19-2013, 11:25 PM
Location: on a dirt road in Waitsfield,Vermont
2,186 posts, read 5,980,359 times
Reputation: 1125
HOA's for condo complexes and single home developements with private streets are essential. They are elected by the homeowners, they take care of regular maintenance, repairs of the building, snowplowing, landscaping, capital improvements(last year we got a new roof). common area upkeep and much more. Inside the homes or condos the owner is in control but for the outside stuff and common areas which include a parking lot or private streets an HOA is definately needed.

They all have annual meeting for electing the BOD and owners have input on most every decision, they are run like town meetings. Without them the place could fall into disrepair and your units/home would lose it's value.

Monthly fees vary greatly so checkout the cost and what is included. My HOA fees include electricity, for example.
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:43 AM
Location: Manassas, VA
1,559 posts, read 3,170,789 times
Reputation: 839
I live in an HOA community albeit not in Vermont but in Northern Virginia. I don't mind it. Yes, you do have to get permission for certain things and it can be a pain....but it also keeps the neighborhood looking really nice. I have always been involved in my HOA and I think people that really don't like them more than others may not be involved. We have monthly meetings and a yearly meeting for elections. I don't love my HOA, but I certainly can see the benefit.
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Old 07-24-2013, 01:18 PM
24 posts, read 75,023 times
Reputation: 117
Never thought I'd see the day.... HOA's and Vt in the same sentence. This seems like an almost unimaginably, UN-Vermont topic. What happened to the free and independent place Vt. was. It used to be there was no such thing in Vt. and people moved to Vt. to get away from this stuff. But you look around at what has happened to the state and maybe its inescapable that the place, its soul and spirit, along with its landscape has been eroded and degraded and this is one, less obvious, symptom.
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