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Old 01-22-2015, 09:15 AM
 
Location: WA
5,397 posts, read 21,412,400 times
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Good points...

My property taxes have gone up 25% in just 8 years and there are no real breaks for seniors here.

Maintenance on the house is ongoing with new WH and appliances needed over the last couple of years and a new roof in the cards in the near future. It will always be painting, cleaning, or something.

We tried a condo in the past and I am finished with shared ownership and management. It is too easy for a group to get a vote to push expensive maintenance, improvements, and questionable changes that cost you a premium, sometimes an assessment, sometimes with higher monthly.

Life takes planning and adjustments and it can get more difficult as you get older. My 93 YO mother refuses to leave her house of 60+ years but needs help now on a regular basis and resists spending money on maintenance.
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Old 01-22-2015, 09:30 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
29,849 posts, read 54,552,867 times
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That's why we will be moving upon retirement. Currently our property taxes are going up as much as $1,000 in one year (2014-2015) due to the assessed value going up over $100,000. Between now and when we retire in 5-6 years we are going through and updating so it's ready to sell. We don't need the 3,000 sf even now but have been here 22 years and have a much lower mortgage payment than we'd get on a smaller home here now. With our projected retirement income, if we do (as planned) end up with enough equity to pay cash for the retirement home, there will enough left to accumulate savings for major repairs such as roof or HVAC systems. We will be going more rural and will not have an HOA.
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Old 01-22-2015, 10:28 AM
 
6,332 posts, read 5,072,656 times
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Originally Posted by biscuitmom View Post
Here in Texas school taxes in most municipalities are frozen when you turn 65. Seniors can also opt to defer payment of all property taxes until the home is sold. If they defer taxes, there's an 8% interest charge tacked on each year but it's simple and not compound interest.
And Texas has 100% tax exemption if you are a 100% disabled vet per the VA. We fall in that category.

There are also other remedies for veterans.
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Old 01-22-2015, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Backwoods of Maine
7,118 posts, read 8,165,408 times
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Originally Posted by Hemlock140 View Post
Currently our property taxes are going up as much as $1,000 in one year (2014-2015) due to the assessed value going up over $100,000...We will be going more rural and will not have an HOA.
Exactly what we did. We "opted out" of so many things! Our former home in RI cost us nearly $6,000 in property taxes. In Maine, where we moved in June of 2014, the property taxes on 33 acres, plus the small ranch house we built in 2013, are just under $800. While we expect this to rise a bit each year, it may take 10 years for it to go over $1000. This land does not even have access to electricity, so we are off-grid.

We like the rural life, the absence of neighbors and slipping off the mantle of, "keeping up with the Joneses". Who are these "Joneses", that we have to keep our grass 2" high for, park expensive vehicles in the driveway for, or install granite countertops and stainless appliances for??? We left all that back in RI. Having built the house ourselves less than 2 years ago, we know how to repair what we built!
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Old 01-22-2015, 12:01 PM
 
4,539 posts, read 4,843,166 times
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Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
As for housing costs, people can't even escape the uncertainty by renting, as the yearly increases cannot be known in advance. Of course the huge surprises can be avoided (new roof, new heating/air-conditioning unit, etc.), as the landlord has to absorb them more or less and his rental increases are limited by what the local market will bear.

As for condos/townhouses, the monthly fees will be greater the older the buildings, other things being equal. I am president of a 26-unit townhouse owners' association. Our buildings are 34 years old, and I have come to hate wood, which is subject to deterioration and rot, not to mention termites. Fortunately the sides of the building are stucco with some brick, but we have lots of wood trim as well as a wood perimeter fence.

As board members, we struggle continuously with the balance between keeping the fees as low as we can (if we vote to raise them, we are raising our own as well) and maintaining the property. Letting the property go to pot is definitely a false economy.

People considering purchasing a condo or a townhouse should beware of units where the fees seem unusually low, unless the property is almost new. Why do I say that? Because the low fees may be a result of the board deferring lots of maintenance, and sooner or later those low fees may have to be raised dramatically. Prospective buyers should look into the state of the reserves as well as the state of general maintenance.

In California the laws protecting owners in an HOA are quite strict, ranging from procedures to guarantee the transparency of the annual election of board members to provisions limiting the percent increase in monthly fees which a board can vote in without holding an election of all owners. In other states the protections may be less, I don't really know.
Also condo insurance costs have rising dramatically over last few years, property, flood, D&O, Thefts and Ommissions etc. Add in rising legal fees to chase late payers and this eats up a lot of monthly maint and folks dont see where money is going to.

Also some condos are playing "catch-up" they have no money in reserve so take a ten year loan to replace roofs, sidewalks and drainage etc. The next ten years that loan eats up a lot of budget so little room to build up reserve. By the end of the ten years when cash is freed up again with no loan, other things neglected in building have to be addressed.
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Old 01-22-2015, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
30,695 posts, read 49,488,800 times
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Originally Posted by jean_ji View Post
Replacing our roof will likely need to happen in the next year or so. Do we want to spend more money now and get a metal roof that will last our lifetime or get another asphalt shingle that will have a lifetime of 15 years in FL even when touted as a 25 year roof? We decided to go with a metal roof, it will lower insurance costs and we don't want to do this again at age 76. I'm not going to count on costs going down over the years.
We built our new house with a metal roof. Since moving here we have observed that every house replacing it's roof shingles is going with metal roofing instead.

In this area, metal roofing is much lower priced than asphalt composition shingles.

It is great for shedding the snow / ice, and you never have any ice dams with it.
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Old 01-22-2015, 01:21 PM
 
Location: SoCal desert
8,093 posts, read 13,244,051 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
2. The cost of replacements and repairs, even if today our home is newer, but especially if older (roof, furnace, plumbing, kitchen and bath updates, etc.)
You plan ahead.
You start the work (roof, furnace (and AC), plumbing, kitchen and bath updates, etc) 3 to 5 years before retiring, so it's all paid off by the time you cut the cord from work.

If you plan to stay or even plan to sell ... it all makes good sense to plan ahead.
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Old 01-22-2015, 01:27 PM
 
8,204 posts, read 11,927,697 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
People considering purchasing a condo or a townhouse should beware of units where the fees seem unusually low, unless the property is almost new. Why do I say that? Because the low fees may be a result of the board deferring lots of maintenance, and sooner or later those low fees may have to be raised dramatically. Prospective buyers should look into the state of the reserves as well as the state of general maintenance.
Excellent overall post, but one thing you didn't mention that could have a great deal to do with an HOA having low(er) fees and not have anything to do with age or deferred maintenance is lack of certain amenities. Our Miami Beach hi-rise condo building has valet service, a doorman, 24-hr manned front desk/concierge, as well as swimming pools and fitness center and our monthly fees are correspondingly high. There are other older low-rise condos in the area that are in fine shape physically, mechanically, and financially, but have much lower monthly fees because they don't have some or all of the amenities mentioned above.
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Old 01-22-2015, 01:42 PM
 
4,539 posts, read 4,843,166 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadManofBethesda View Post
Excellent overall post, but one thing you didn't mention that could have a great deal to do with an HOA having low(er) fees and not have anything to do with age or deferred maintenance is lack of certain amenities. Our Miami Beach hi-rise condo building has valet service, a doorman, 24-hr manned front desk/concierge, as well as swimming pools and fitness center and our monthly fees are correspondingly high. There are other older low-rise condos in the area that are in fine shape physically, mechanically, and financially, but have much lower monthly fees because they don't have some or all of the amenities mentioned above.
Amenities in flood zones can be dangerous. FEMA/NFIP flood insurance is 250K per unit that association can take out. But note it is only for actual living spaces the units.

Common areas, lobbies, pools, tennis courts, gyms, etc in a flood could get destroyed and a large assessment could happen.
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Old 01-22-2015, 02:06 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,994,426 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gandalara View Post
You plan ahead.
You start the work (roof, furnace (and AC), plumbing, kitchen and bath updates, etc) 3 to 5 years before retiring, so it's all paid off by the time you cut the cord from work.

If you plan to stay or even plan to sell ... it all makes good sense to plan ahead.
We renovated an old house starting 3 yrs ago, including all new walls, ceilings, etc etc. If we stay here, in another 10 to 15 years we may have to start new replacements and updates. At the 15 to 20 year mark, that often happens, esp with bathrooms, kitchens, and heating/cooling. At that point one must decide whether to spend the money replace/update, or get out before everything falls apart subverting a decent sale.
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