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Old 06-15-2012, 04:19 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
16,650 posts, read 15,638,179 times
Reputation: 15831
As an elected municipal official in a Town with a couple HOA's and a couple COA's, to which I am the Council liasion, I have some general advice for those living, or contemplating buying, in a covenanted development.

1) check it out
2) READ and UNDERSTAND the CCR's before buying
3) once there, don't let things slide (I'll come back to this in a minute)
4) pay attention and stay involved


Back to number 3:
One HOA has been in existence for around 18 years. They let things slide, had rotating Boards, didn't keep up with maintenance of common areas or amenities, let past due HOA fees build up for years, ignored their parking restrictions and just generally let things go. One Board President dismantled some storm water structures in the development several years ago and the HOA has now been cited by both MD DNR and the US Army Corps of Engineers (the outflow is into a tidal marsh).

They finally got serious about 5 years ago and are now enforcing the CCR's and are making a dent in the unpaid dues, some of which are a decade in arrears. They still suffer from rotating Board members but they are all pretty much on the same page now.

The other HOA is only a couple years old and they took my advice so they're really on top of things. They had a parking plan in effect the day the owners took over the HOA, they're going after back dues immediately. Just generally managing it well. It's also a much higher end development than the first.

The condos aren't much of a problem, they have a couple problem owners who want to do stuff that is crazy and get slapped down regularly. They also get on top of the dues quickly.

Also, keep in mind that when buying in an HOA that the jurisdiction's Planning and Zoning regulations apply and the HOA rules are an overlay.
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Old 06-15-2012, 04:53 PM
 
1,619 posts, read 1,746,548 times
Reputation: 2160
Quote:
Originally Posted by blazerj View Post
We're likely moving into a non-HOA neighborhood, but one that has relatively restrictive covenents in the deed. I think that's the best of both worlds, in that people can't expressly do stupid things to their property, but the rules are already laid out and cannot be altered.

I just don't know who actually enforces these covenents.
Probably YOU do. You just hire an attorney and file suit. No problem.
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Old 06-17-2012, 09:12 PM
 
2,402 posts, read 1,899,761 times
Reputation: 2085
Quote:
Originally Posted by manderly6 View Post
Just do a search on this forum. You will find everything from comaring them to Nazi's to people that like them. There is no magical answer.

As far as your point about owning the land, your town can also tell you what you can or can't do. That isn't limited to just an HOA.
Yes, a town can tell you what you can't & can do...
Hence research, talk to neighbours, rent for a lil' in the area before buying = helps big time.

The town where I am at & a few bunch of towns more that is particular to the prime "horse country" (old money & a few political figure head connections) has a special organization formed where there will not be any "developments" allowed (residential / commercial)... farms & existing homes only. Those people in power are smart... why devalue their own properties with more available homes in a prime land (U know, like how Al Gore who may support windmill as green energy may not have one in his own back yard kinda comparison due to danger)???
Great for me for I do not want anymore homes build in my area to devalue mine as well.

Unlike how there is so many developments already in that ol' subd HOA community I rented at where there is many unsold homes & yet more is being built??? Yah... the older homes will definitely have to go for less don't you think??? Plus, it totally defeats the HOA promise of "upkeeping" values on the "older" homes (now they are like second hand cars seriously)... where they are practically compared apples to apples (same "parcel" land area-wise, cookie cutter same look with very small differences).

Homes can still be built (more & more)... while land (keeps getting parceled out) is going to be much, much rarer than that house. Like when natural disaster were to level that home, the insurance can help you rebuild... BUT land, can't be grown nor produced any more than what is already there.

Thus why... location is so important IMHO.
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Old 06-18-2012, 02:55 PM
 
483 posts, read 625,201 times
Reputation: 1365
I live in an area with $1.2M houses. You'd think that people living in an expensive area would all take care of their lawns and not use the street as a parking lot, but alas, some don't. The guy down the street, who moved in 2 years ago, let his lawn die -- but at the same time he bought a $50,000 BMW. So you can afford a freaking $50k car but you can't afford $500 to resod a lawn???

When I buy a new place, I'll consider buying inside an HOA. I learned that even living in an affluent area doesn't guarantee everyone will take care of their property. There's always one or two idiots who think they can do whatever they want without regard to the neighborhood.
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Old 06-18-2012, 03:09 PM
 
Location: East Sacramento
1,005 posts, read 1,200,313 times
Reputation: 501
I've lived in HOA and non-HOA areas. Right now we are in a 1950's type street with no HOA and I really like it. I dont ever need to worry about what fines the Board will levy, or meetings, or whatever fees they will assess on my home.
It's a myth that non-HOA homes will turn into junk. Every city/county has rules, anti-blight laws etc. A citizen just needs to call Code Enforcement and they WILL come out in my town.
I sleep a lot sounder at night not worrying about what the crazy HOA nazi will do next. Its very nice..
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Old 06-18-2012, 03:14 PM
 
Location: East Sacramento
1,005 posts, read 1,200,313 times
Reputation: 501
Quote:
Originally Posted by DevionisDream View Post
I read something online yesterday that a guy wanted to put up a satellite dish so he did. The HOA was pretty upset. They told him to take it down but they didn't have any rules against it so he didn't. Afterwards they start hitting him with charge after charge for every single thing that others got away with. He then took them to court but they won and then slapped him with their 50k lawyer fees. He couldn't afford to live, make the HOA payments, and the payments on what he owed so they put a lien on his house. He ended up losing the house.
Satellite dishes are protected by the FCC. The HOA or city cannot tell you to take it down. Federal law.
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Old 06-18-2012, 04:54 PM
 
2,402 posts, read 1,899,761 times
Reputation: 2085
Quote:
Originally Posted by josh u View Post
I live in an area with $1.2M houses. You'd think that people living in an expensive area would all take care of their lawns and not use the street as a parking lot, but alas, some don't. The guy down the street, who moved in 2 years ago, let his lawn die -- but at the same time he bought a $50,000 BMW. So you can afford a freaking $50k car but you can't afford $500 to resod a lawn???

When I buy a new place, I'll consider buying inside an HOA. I learned that even living in an affluent area doesn't guarantee everyone will take care of their property. There's always one or two idiots who think they can do whatever they want without regard to the neighborhood.
Why how many acres is that???

Not much I bet... else how can you even be bothered via sight to "see" what your neighbour does???
I sure can't see my neighbour or be so visually aligned of how he park his car or get even that close up to know the lawn is not mowed. Seriously... thats for people without land or much of it.

And if it is that easy $500... and its nothing to you... why don't you pay to have your neighbour's yard taken care of since it bothers you? Do something! (Tell them its a "free promo" from you the neighbourhood great guy... every one will like that.)

Where my MIL is at... roads are often privately plowed during bad snow storm (even if it is a public road, its very remote).... and the neighbourhood farm (our family's farm) actually took care of that road... since they know all the neighbours anyways.

Same here with my neighbour... he took care of our yard for a whole year when the original HO "seller" moved in with his new wife in another state. His own yard??? Looks like a freaking golf course of course... need that HOA??? Nope.
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Old 06-18-2012, 05:46 PM
 
115 posts, read 156,612 times
Reputation: 89
I've lived in places with HOAs and without HOAs, and when buying I pretty much always consider an HOA a plus. Obviously you have to do enough due diligence to be sure you're not getting into an HOA that will cause problems for you, whether it be by mismanagement or rules that don't align with the way you like to live. But even when I've lived in extremely strict HOAs, I've found that the rules tend to be things I'd do anyway. With or without an HOA, I'm going to keep my yard well-maintained. With or without an HOA, I'm not going to paint my house a color that doesn't go along with the rest of the neighborhood. With or without an HOA, I'm not going to park my cars on the street instead of the garage, leave my garbage cans out all week, leave my christmas lights up until March, etc. So it's no skin off my back to follow the rules, and I enjoy living around other people who do the same things.

In a way it's not so much the fact that the HOA will enforce the rules, as that the HOA helps the neighborhood self-select for people who have similar desires for the environment they live in. If you knowingly buy a house with an HOA that has rules you don't agree with, or seems to have a philosophy that may eventually result in rules you don't agree with, you're asking for a headache.
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Old 06-18-2012, 09:16 PM
 
Location: Pleasanton, CA
115 posts, read 127,150 times
Reputation: 142
You all have given me a lot to think about. Thanks for sharing your pros, cons, and personal experiences with me.
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Old 06-20-2012, 07:07 AM
 
Location: Lexington, SC
4,281 posts, read 4,868,739 times
Reputation: 3460
Quote:
Originally Posted by woodrough View Post
I've lived in places with HOAs and without HOAs, and when buying I pretty much always consider an HOA a plus. Obviously you have to do enough due diligence to be sure you're not getting into an HOA that will cause problems for you, whether it be by mismanagement or rules that don't align with the way you like to live. But even when I've lived in extremely strict HOAs, I've found that the rules tend to be things I'd do anyway. With or without an HOA, I'm going to keep my yard well-maintained. With or without an HOA, I'm not going to paint my house a color that doesn't go along with the rest of the neighborhood. With or without an HOA, I'm not going to park my cars on the street instead of the garage, leave my garbage cans out all week, leave my christmas lights up until March, etc. So it's no skin off my back to follow the rules, and I enjoy living around other people who do the same things.

In a way it's not so much the fact that the HOA will enforce the rules, as that the HOA helps the neighborhood self-select for people who have similar desires for the environment they live in. If you knowingly buy a house with an HOA that has rules you don't agree with, or seems to have a philosophy that may eventually result in rules you don't agree with, you're asking for a headache.

Good for you Woodrough, but it is the others I do not trust and I like rules to protect myself from them.....LOL
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