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Old 03-16-2015, 02:08 PM
 
Location: Arizona
5,939 posts, read 5,295,505 times
Reputation: 17896

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pocopsonite View Post

The one that upset me the most was the decision to replace solid cedar siding with vinyl siding. The cedar was still in great shape, just needed the regular maintenance. But the two new owners preferred plastic to real wood. So we were out-voted to the tune of $20k+ per unit -- completely unnecessary!
How much would the maintenance of the cedar cost over the lifespan of the vinyl? That would be the deciding factor. Choices like this have to be made as the buildings get older.

I am not saying that vinyl looks great but cedar is really 70's looking.
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Old 03-16-2015, 02:21 PM
 
Location: Arizona
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
Do condos have to provide information and reports up front, and if not, just how would one go about finding out how an HOA is run, who is on the board, who the mgement company is, how bidding and payment is done?
I am very open to any prospective buyers. I don't hide our financials. I'm proud of them.

You have a right to all information. There are laws about who gives the info to you. Here it is determined by number of units. The seller may be responsible or the HOA may be.

When one of our units hits escrow the buyer receives a CD with all information. CC&Rs, By Laws, Rules, Articles of Incorporation, Insurance, Budget, Financials, etc. They also get my phone number if they have any questions.
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Old 03-16-2015, 02:36 PM
 
Location: Arizona
5,939 posts, read 5,295,505 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SandyJet View Post
Also even if your fees dont spike up they will keep rising. My condo in 1979 I saw in documents maint was $48 bucks a month. Flash forward to 2015 it is $500 a month.

Guess what that is only $12.21 increase a year for 37 years. But realtors always make it seem like a fixed fee. Things go up in price.

We haven't raised ours in years. Long before I got here. Reserves are in great shape. Constantly improving the infrastructure. ( that never ends).
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Old 03-16-2015, 05:26 PM
 
Location: SoCal
6,063 posts, read 9,522,564 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heidi60 View Post
Don't even think for one minute that your HOA fees won't go up. Our fees more than doubled as the mgt. company was pretty sneaky and the BOD looked the other direction so they could get lots of free work done at homeowner expense. It took a huge fight to get rid of the mgt company as they had the BOD in their pocket, and both kept the homeowners in the dark.

There are many other threads discussing the problems with HOAs so please take the time to read them as I don't have the time to research them for you. Be very, very cautious. Anytime you pay someone else to to think for you, you are at risk.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/pf_article_101460.html
When I was on the board, we kept having to increase the HOA fees. There was no one on the board who was very good at keeping costs down, and we trusted (too much, it turns out) on our property management company.

Nothing illegal or even close to illegal was going on. Just, the former property manager wasn't being careful to keep our expenses down, and none of us board members knew how to oversee them to get it done.

Then one year two of the residents - a business owner and an accountaint - staged a 'coup'. We board members gladly let them take over the board because they promised to go over expenses with a fine-tooth comb and get the HOA fees back down. They did a splendid job, including finding us a better property management company.
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Old 03-16-2015, 05:33 PM
 
Location: SoCal
6,063 posts, read 9,522,564 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msgsing View Post
Have lived in a condo in coastal San Diego for several years. 220 units in four low rise buildings. HOA is 390 per month. Some positives. With the very high single family home prices here condos are a cheaper alternative. Living in a coastal zone we rarely use air con and no heat in the winter. Our complex is fairly new but had some construction issues. We sued and won. Cleared 1.7 million which is now being used to correct some water leakage problems and our balconies are being rebuilt. Our HOA is very well run with over 1 million in current reserves and no fee increases for the last 5 years.

We have had some noise issues mostly with barking dogs. The HOA issues warning letters and then fines the offenders if they take no corrective action. There was also problems with folks smoking on the balconies and smoke drifting up into upstairs units. Recently we voted to make the complex totally smoke free. Check to see how many units in a complex are rentals. A high rental to owner ratio can be a problem. Many renters can be inconsiderate and don't always follow the rules with loud music and parties.
We have a security guard on site all night and he can be called to resolve these kind of problems.
In California, a HOA has ten years to get the construction company to complete repairs. It's almost always the case that the HOA will need to file a suit, and generally the construction company will then perform enough repairs to settle the suit. I've heard people shying away from buying in condos with an active suit, but I've heard other people who know about this stuff who say it's not really a problem.

I don't know how much authority a board has to change rules/regulations. It's not unlimited. If I were a smoker and our board decided to make our complex non-smoking, I'd probably look into whether that's legal. I'm not a smoker, so if that worked for your complex, that's wonderful.
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Old 03-16-2015, 05:40 PM
 
4,539 posts, read 4,828,306 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkalot View Post
We haven't raised ours in years. Long before I got here. Reserves are in great shape. Constantly improving the infrastructure. ( that never ends).
flood insurance, property insurance, D&O insurance, legal fees and folks in arrears eat up around 300 bucks a month. we only use 200 to maintain property and contribute to reserves.

Our reserves are great as we dont touch them,
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Old 03-16-2015, 06:41 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,726,438 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oddstray View Post
When I was on the board, we kept having to increase the HOA fees. There was no one on the board who was very good at keeping costs down, and we trusted (too much, it turns out) on our property management company.

Nothing illegal or even close to illegal was going on. Just, the former property manager wasn't being careful to keep our expenses down, and none of us board members knew how to oversee them to get it done.

Then one year two of the residents - a business owner and an accountaint - staged a 'coup'. We board members gladly let them take over the board because they promised to go over expenses with a fine-tooth comb and get the HOA fees back down. They did a splendid job, including finding us a better property management company.
It sounds like your property management company plays a greater role than ours does. It is our board, not our management company, which determines all expenditures and decides which vendors and which contractors to hire. Sure, we sometimes ask our management company if they can recommend a good pool man, or a good roofing contractor, for example. But then we interview the pool man or the roofing contractor and make the decision.

We are very fortunate in having a wonderful handyman. He is a master carpenter, but he can do plumbing, electrical, and painting too. He doesn't work exclusively for us, as we wouldn't have enough work to deep him busy full time. I've often watched him work, and it's always a marvel. He is honest too, and conscientious and thorough. I don't know what we would do if we lost him. Well, I do know: we would pay more for the same work and worry about the quality of the work. (He works for us for $275 per day plus materials).

I have done a lot of our exterior painting myself over the past four years or so, as I enjoy that. It saves us money, as board members cannot be paid for their labor. I do get reimbursed for the paint, upon submission of receipts to the board and their vote to approve the reimbursement.
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Old 03-16-2015, 07:17 PM
 
Location: California
4,552 posts, read 5,466,666 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oddstray View Post
When I was on the board, we kept having to increase the HOA fees. There was no one on the board who was very good at keeping costs down, and we trusted (too much, it turns out) on our property management company.

Nothing illegal or even close to illegal was going on. Just, the former property manager wasn't being careful to keep our expenses down, and none of us board members knew how to oversee them to get it done.

Then one year two of the residents - a business owner and an accountaint - staged a 'coup'. We board members gladly let them take over the board because they promised to go over expenses with a fine-tooth comb and get the HOA fees back down. They did a splendid job, including finding us a better property management company.
Glad things worked out for you! Your experience mirrors ours. It was amazing how our reserved increased after the former mgt. company was sent packing - but since the BOD was benefitting from them, they decided not to sue to recover our lost money. Even the BBB gave them an unsatisfactory rating.



My DH was on the BOD, but after his term expired the new mgt. company hired their family member to do our handyman work. Naturally, they claim they always have the lowest bid-- yea sure. The food chain is limited to a select few so puttings out to bid is often just a shell game. HOAs often pay more than an SFH owner would!

For insurance and legal reasons it is a really, really bad idea to allow any homeowner, or other person without workman's insurance, do any work in the HOA as all the homeowners could be sued when someone has an accident. If someone does decide to sue, the homeowners could be prevented from selling while there is pending litigation. Be sure you understand all the liabilities involved before you buy into a HOA.
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Old 03-16-2015, 08:17 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,726,438 times
Reputation: 32304
One thing that has come up in this thread is whether the HOA is responsible for snow removal. Ours is not, and our poor homeowners are simply on their own with that tremendous problem.

I'll have you know it has snowed ELEVEN times in Los Angeles since 1922. The greatest recorded amount was 0.3 inches in January of 1949.
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Old 03-16-2015, 09:32 PM
 
381 posts, read 352,235 times
Reputation: 1984
When we lived in a condo/duplex in northern Colorado, the snow was removed by the landscape company. Cut grass in summer, remove snow in winter. The board could change the contract yearly. In heavy snow years, payment to the contractor was increased. The HOA budget had that built in. The outside maintenance did not include concrete (driveway) work. Each dwelling had a two car garage and large driveways. The city provided all the trees and replacement trees should any die. Every community is different. You must do your research.
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