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Old 06-06-2011, 08:56 AM
 
5,121 posts, read 5,565,802 times
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I've had bad and good HOAs. I also lived in an area with no HOA (when I was in high school and lived with my parents). There are pros and cons to both options.

At my parents house, we were free to do what we wanted. My parents built their own style of house, planted a large garden, we had a clothesline, they built a playhouse for us kids, etc. Things were fine until we got some bad neighbors next door who seemed to like to collect junk. But my dad solved the problem by planting a nice hedge (voila... we couldn't see them anymore). It would have been nice to get them to clean up, but I think my parents were much happier without a HOA in general because they had freedom to do what they liked.

My HOA in Annandale was petty and annoying. They actually cited me for having lumber in front of my house (it was there less than 24 hours). It was a lumber delivery for the new deck I was having built. The lumber was in my assigned parking spot and, like I said, wasn't even there a day before the builders moved it to the back yard. Then the nosybodies on the the HOA board watched my house daily for violations while the construction was underway. They cited people for all sorts of stuff (one of my favorites was citing the family of two kids playing catch in the common area for "participating in organized sports" which was forbidden).

I moved. I laugh about it too because my house was bought by an investor that rents the rooms out in the house (the HOA hated renters the most). My next door neighbor in that neighborhood also moved because she couldn't stand it and her old house is a rental now too.

Now the last neighborhood I moved into had a great HOA. They didn't cite petty things but kept a check on major violations. It was all the good stuff a HOA was supposed to do. They organized community events, maintained the common areas well, took care of the streets, there was a nice pool, etc. I have no complaints.

The difference between the two was the first was a small neighborhood and everything was run by the residents--and handful of whom were petty tyrants. The second was a larger neighborhood and had a professional management company in charge of the day-to-day. The place I am moving to now is a large neighborhood with a professional management company, so I am hoping for the same.
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Old 06-06-2011, 08:59 AM
 
515 posts, read 1,509,564 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben 'n Jen View Post
As someone who moved here a year ago, I'll tell all of you "well move someplace else" types that HOAs are so widespread in NOVA that there aren't many places without one.

The older neighborhoods in NOVA tend not to have HOAs. We lived in one of them for more than a decade. It was great, but now we live in a planned community. The HOA rules are considerable, but the result is an absolutely stunning neighborhood.
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Old 06-06-2011, 09:39 AM
 
2,612 posts, read 4,772,204 times
Reputation: 3943
We live in a neighborhood without an HOA. We love it. The neighborhood is very beautiful. No broken down cars, etc. There are some old folks who can't keep up with the yard work, so the neighbors got together and formed a group to do it for them. The best thing about it for me is that it's interesting - all the houses look a little different. People have done all kinds of things with the original models, some nice, some a little odd, but all different. It's nice to be able to walk around and see all the different things people are doing with houses and yards. HOA's force everyone to keep everything the same and the result is a "harmonious" monotony. We probably won't do anything crazy with our house, but I like just knowing that if I want to paint it purple, then I can.
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Old 06-06-2011, 10:05 AM
 
1,167 posts, read 1,801,155 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinm View Post
Because the "recession" is temporary, and who is going to tell you WHEN it inappropriate? I don't want my neighborhood turned into a "Hooverville" because some people are now too poor to afford to live there.
Wow you come off as a major.... It's okay to have a backyard with a garden full of flowers but not vegetables?

Last edited by FindingZen; 06-06-2011 at 02:19 PM.. Reason: inappropriate language
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Old 06-06-2011, 11:34 AM
 
Location: Washington DC
487 posts, read 1,212,897 times
Reputation: 516
I just had a revelation
People that like HOA's are wanting some sort of guarantee of property value.
They want some outside entity to ensure they don't loose money on their home.
That's what it boils down to.
all this talk of cars up on blocks and purple houses is just code for keep my house from going down in value.
The people who favor HOA's think the HOA can somehow preserve their property value by enforcing a rigid code of behavior in the neighborhood.

Bless their hearts, They are scared by the current plunge of housing values.

But it is a false sense of security.
Out near us Manassass and Gainsville there are large newer HOA neighborhoods with thousands of newer homes. They have been hit hard by the bursting of the housing bubble. When I look at the redfin map I see giant clusters of short sale homes in these HOA neighborhoods. They are suffering because for one thing there is little to distinguish one home from another. Just acres and acres of vinyl and blacktop.
Another problem they have is sky high HOA fees some as high as $135 a month. That really impacts the affordability of these homes.

Then again on the redfin map I look at homes in the more established neighborhoods south of Masassas, where the lots are 1/2 acre and larger and the neighborhoods still have the mature trees. There are no clusters of homes. Just individual homes here and there, that don't stay on the market long and seam to be selling at a premium to the HOA homes.

My sense of things is this.
When the market is going to tank and the bubble is going to bust there isn't anything going to keep your home value from going down.

Half of the people are afraid of the neighbor with the car up on blocks and look to the HOA to save them.
Half of the people refuse to surrender decision making authority about their home to a neighborhood committee and avoid the HOA at all costs.

But everyone's home values took a hit.

My sense of things is that the Non HOA homes are selling faster in my area.
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:13 PM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,874,814 times
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If that $135/month included trash, a pool/clubhouse/other amenities, and sewer, it might be worth it.

The HOAs that actually enforce different rules for different people could actually be taken to court.
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:16 PM
 
3,504 posts, read 7,950,481 times
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We dont have an HOA and I love it! All the homes look good in our neighborhood and most of them look great! I would never live in an HOA - I value my freedom too much.

Not all neighborhoods turn into slums without HOAs - our neighborhood is older and the neighbors keep it looking great - it is still possible to find this - not all people are slobs.
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:53 PM
 
Location: Washington DC
487 posts, read 1,212,897 times
Reputation: 516
Quote:
Originally Posted by stpickrell View Post
If that $135/month included trash, a pool/clubhouse/other amenities, and sewer, it might be worth it.

The HOAs that actually enforce different rules for different people could actually be taken to court.
Might indeed be worth it if all you are looking at is dollars.

But with a home in a non HOA neighborhood, If push comes to shove and your budget gets tight you can always cancel the cable bill, cut back on the extras.
You don't have that luxury in an HOA.
The difference between an HOA and your friendly neighborhood cable provider is that the HOA will foreclose on you if you don't make the payment.
That's a big difference in my mind.
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Old 06-06-2011, 01:32 PM
 
427 posts, read 975,793 times
Reputation: 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by tigger37708 View Post
I just had a revelation
People that like HOA's are wanting some sort of guarantee of property value.
They want some outside entity to ensure they don't loose money on their home.
That's what it boils down to.
all this talk of cars up on blocks and purple houses is just code for keep my house from going down in value.
The people who favor HOA's think the HOA can somehow preserve their property value by enforcing a rigid code of behavior in the neighborhood.

Bless their hearts, They are scared by the current plunge of housing values.

But it is a false sense of security.
Out near us Manassass and Gainsville there are large newer HOA neighborhoods with thousands of newer homes. They have been hit hard by the bursting of the housing bubble. When I look at the redfin map I see giant clusters of short sale homes in these HOA neighborhoods. They are suffering because for one thing there is little to distinguish one home from another. Just acres and acres of vinyl and blacktop.
Another problem they have is sky high HOA fees some as high as $135 a month. That really impacts the affordability of these homes.

Then again on the redfin map I look at homes in the more established neighborhoods south of Masassas, where the lots are 1/2 acre and larger and the neighborhoods still have the mature trees. There are no clusters of homes. Just individual homes here and there, that don't stay on the market long and seam to be selling at a premium to the HOA homes.

My sense of things is this.
When the market is going to tank and the bubble is going to bust there isn't anything going to keep your home value from going down.

Half of the people are afraid of the neighbor with the car up on blocks and look to the HOA to save them.
Half of the people refuse to surrender decision making authority about their home to a neighborhood committee and avoid the HOA at all costs.

But everyone's home values took a hit.

My sense of things is that the Non HOA homes are selling faster in my area.
I think this is oversimplifying a bit.

People who choose to live in neighborhoods with HOAs don't necessarily do so out of fear of falling property values. At least, we don't.

We live in a neighborhood with an HOA because we like knowing the standards to which we're held regarding our property's appearance, and we like knowing that our neighbors are held to the same standards. We read the HOA documents thoroughly prior to purchasing our home, and had we found anything in there that didn't work for us, then we would have found another home to buy. For us, it's simply about enjoying our surroundings while we're at home. And since we live in sight of our neighbors and they live in sight of us -- i.e., we are part of each others' surroundings -- we like having the rules in place.

We certainly don't depend on -- or even expect -- the HOA to protect our property value. As the discussion in this thread has shown, there are plenty of potential buyers who aren't interested in neighborhoods with HOAs, so IMO it would be silly to buy into an HOA-regulated neighborhood for the primary reason of protected/increased property value.

There's nothing inherently wrong with HOAs, just as there's nothing inherently wrong with their absence. There is something inherently wrong with buying into a neighborhood that doesn't suit you. Everybody in an HOA-regulated neighborhood is required by law to read (or at least be given ample opportunity to read) and sign off on the HOA packet. I see it as just another characteristic to consider in searching for a home. Some people want garages, some people want small yards, some people want fireplaces, some people want HOAs. You know?
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Old 06-06-2011, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,926,426 times
Reputation: 42862
Quote:
Originally Posted by jillabean View Post

The difference between the two was the first was a small neighborhood and everything was run by the residents--and handful of whom were petty tyrants. The second was a larger neighborhood and had a professional management company in charge of the day-to-day. The place I am moving to now is a large neighborhood with a professional management company, so I am hoping for the same.
Interesting observation. You might be right about that. I live in Cascades and love it, and the reason may be that Cascades tis a large HOA and has a professional management company in charge of the day-to-day. That helps them avoid being petty or prone to having neighborhood tyrants in charge. Maybe that's why I like it so much.

Life is good here. You can add me to the list of people who like HOAs. But if you don't like them, you don't have to live in one.
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