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Old 02-02-2009, 09:20 PM
 
28 posts, read 99,132 times
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Hi guys,

Me and my wife have been living in downtown for the last 3 years and are looking for a change of pace in lifestyle so we are considering relocating further north.

Our budget is just around 150k, so we were thinking that we might just be able to afford a townhouse or a condo in the Mason area.

With the number of HOA horror stories floating around the net, I am a bit concerned about the HOAs in communities in Mason so I'm asking for a little input on which communities have good ones and which ones are to be avoided based on your own experiences or stories you've heard.

TIA
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:07 AM
 
10,139 posts, read 22,404,584 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nimr0d View Post
Hi guys,

Me and my wife have been living in downtown for the last 3 years and are looking for a change of pace in lifestyle so we are considering relocating further north.

Our budget is just around 150k, so we were thinking that we might just be able to afford a townhouse or a condo in the Mason area.

With the number of HOA horror stories floating around the net, I am a bit concerned about the HOAs in communities in Mason so I'm asking for a little input on which communities have good ones and which ones are to be avoided based on your own experiences or stories you've heard.

TIA
I think that the problem in HOA's come from two separate sources. The first are HOA's where the builder has not done a good job. Unfinished amenities, poor construction, low budget estimates all create discord in an HOA. The second is HOA's where the people don't have enough to do so they try to make their neighbors lives miserable.

Accordingly, I would stay away from HOA's dominated by retired people unless the project is a bona fide retirement facaility. Second, I would inspect the facility and review all HOA minutes from all HOA meetings.
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:44 AM
 
28 posts, read 99,132 times
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^
Thanks for the reply, I'll keep that in mind. I'll definitely would review the contract and meeting minutes first.
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Old 02-03-2009, 12:46 PM
 
1,312 posts, read 4,183,471 times
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I lived in a community run by an HOA for 9 years in MD, after growing up in an Ohio neighborhood without one. I will never buy a house in an HOA again.
It's very strict...you basically can't do a thing to your house without it getting approved. You can't change the color, add a deck, get a new roof or build a fence without a bunch of people making you wait forever and determining if they would like it. I paid about $150 quarterly for ours. What did I get out if it? Neighbors who still didn't mow their lawn, paint their houses or pick up trash that spilled out of their cans.
Be very careful if you are looking into one. I would recommend going there and just talking to the people who already live there and their experiences.
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Old 02-03-2009, 02:49 PM
 
2,204 posts, read 5,843,057 times
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Originally Posted by firefightermom View Post
I lived in a community run by an HOA for 9 years in MD, after growing up in an Ohio neighborhood without one. I will never buy a house in an HOA again.
It's very strict...you basically can't do a thing to your house without it getting approved. You can't change the color, add a deck, get a new roof or build a fence without a bunch of people making you wait forever and determining if they would like it. I paid about $150 quarterly for ours. What did I get out if it? Neighbors who still didn't mow their lawn, paint their houses or pick up trash that spilled out of their cans.
Be very careful if you are looking into one. I would recommend going there and just talking to the people who already live there and their experiences.
This is the best advice you'll get out of this thread.
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Old 02-03-2009, 03:23 PM
 
10,139 posts, read 22,404,584 times
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Firefightermom raises important issues, but is confused about the question. The restrictions that might prevent you from painting your house a particular color or parking an RV in your driveway or having a bird bath,, etc. have nothing much to do with an HOA. They are the product of neighborhood restrictions placed on the property by the developer at the time of development or by the community as part of their zoning code. You can find plenty of communities that have no HOA but do have the restrictions referrred to by firefightermom. Some HOA communities are much easier to deal with on these issues because you can go to the meeting, solicit your neighbors and get an exemption. If there are covenants in the subdivision plat, or zoning code restrictions you are less likely to get exemption. Of course, like I said above, if the HOA is populated by a bunch of busybodies, they will make you miserable by strict enforcement of unreasonable rules instead of making exceptions and changes that make sense. The matters that can be newly originated by an HOA are limited by state law and the terms of the subdivision documents. Your lawyer can tell you if the HOA can change the rules significantly after you buy by reviewing the documents before you purchase.

Likewise, the neglect that firefightermom describes exists in neighborhoods with and without HOA's.
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Old 02-03-2009, 05:13 PM
 
28 posts, read 99,132 times
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Thanks for the replies guys. I would really prefer avoiding a HOA, but my budget might restrict me to a condo or a townhouse which always has a HOA to deal with but I still am hoping to find a single detached without a HOA within my budget that will meet our needs.

It's really crazy how powerful a HOA can be though, putting liens, imposing assessments, etc. It's making me uneasy with this relocation thing...
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Old 02-03-2009, 07:59 PM
 
1,312 posts, read 4,183,471 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilson1010 View Post
Firefightermom raises important issues, but is confused about the question. The restrictions that might prevent you from painting your house a particular color or parking an RV in your driveway or having a bird bath,, etc. have nothing much to do with an HOA. They are the product of neighborhood restrictions placed on the property by the developer at the time of development or by the community as part of their zoning code. You can find plenty of communities that have no HOA but do have the restrictions referrred to by firefightermom. Some HOA communities are much easier to deal with on these issues because you can go to the meeting, solicit your neighbors and get an exemption. If there are covenants in the subdivision plat, or zoning code restrictions you are less likely to get exemption. Of course, like I said above, if the HOA is populated by a bunch of busybodies, they will make you miserable by strict enforcement of unreasonable rules instead of making exceptions and changes that make sense. The matters that can be newly originated by an HOA are limited by state law and the terms of the subdivision documents. Your lawyer can tell you if the HOA can change the rules significantly after you buy by reviewing the documents before you purchase.

Likewise, the neglect that firefightermom describes exists in neighborhoods with and without HOA's.
I am certainly not confused about the question. I have 9 years experience with an HOA. It covered everything on your property--structural and aesthetic.

My HOA was not run by the developer. All the things I mentioned were part of the HOA laws, my check was written to the HOA, and the elected officers were residents of the community-- and I had a 100 page book telling me all the rules. No birdbaths, no lattice under your deck, no pick up trucks in the parking lot, no advertising signs in my yard...every one and tons more outlined in the book. It had nothing to do with zoning or the developer at all. I only knew who the developer was because a neighbor who was an original owner told me when I moved in 12 years later.

When I wanted to redo the flooring of my deck, I had to get 3 neighbors to sign a form letting them know of my proposal, submit it and plans to the HOA, then wait for them to decide if I could fix my deck. No exemption here! I could have done it, but if they caught me, they could fine me. Didn't want to find out what would happen if I got fined and then didn't pay it. Every spring your property was assessed and a letter sent to you telling you what needed to be fixed...paint your railing, get your snow shovel off the front stoop, fix your broken shutter, move your recycle bin out of sight, etc.

The neighborhood where I live in now had two pages of covenants set by the developer. There is no HOA. It is only 5 years old, and I can tell you the owners who have broken the rules--the 3 people who park their RV's in their side yards and the 2 people who built 6 foot privacy fences. The developer doesn't care; he's not getting paid anything to uphold these rules. The only recourse is small claims court, and who wants to mess with that for something so stupid? At least they didn't paint their houses a garish color.

Last edited by firefightermom; 02-03-2009 at 08:13 PM..
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Old 02-03-2009, 11:17 PM
 
2,204 posts, read 5,843,057 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilson1010 View Post
Firefightermom raises important issues, but is confused about the question. The restrictions that might prevent you from painting your house a particular color or parking an RV in your driveway or having a bird bath,, etc. have nothing much to do with an HOA.]
HOA's do not = Restrictions, but where you find HOA's, you'll find restrictions.
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:27 AM
 
10,139 posts, read 22,404,584 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firefightermom View Post
I am certainly not confused about the question. I have 9 years experience with an HOA. It covered everything on your property--structural and aesthetic. . . .
The neighborhood where I live in now had two pages of covenants set by the developer. . . .
No offense intended. I'm sure your experiences are legitimate, but they are anecdotal. I could give you developer imposed neighborhood covenants consisting of 300+ pages of detail on everything. You lived in a neighborhood with 2 pages. I guess the questioner could look for a neighborhood with 2 pages and hope they are the same 2 pages your neighborhood had. And, I'm sure there are a lot of folks out there who love thier HOA and are grateful for the responsiveness and flexibility it provides. OK, you had a bad experience. Sorry, but not everyone hates their HOA's.
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