U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Retirement
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
 
Old 03-16-2015, 11:00 PM
 
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
12,595 posts, read 15,062,766 times
Reputation: 12139

Advertisements

I've lived in a townhome, in a high end, upper-middle class area. The units were built well, so it's felt like a SFR.

Pluses:

* HOA maintains the exterior and landscaping
* HOA covered the insurance
* Safer than a SFR, because of the neighbors close by

Minues:

* Noise, on occasion from neighbors
* Not as much privacy as a SFR
* HOA tried to "flake out" on specific complaints and would not address them
* HOA can be restrictive
Quick reply to this message

 
Old 03-17-2015, 01:15 AM
 
14,260 posts, read 23,995,588 times
Reputation: 20076
Personally, I will NOT live in another "small" HOA of less than 50 units. For years, NO ONE would serve on the board other than the two or three people who wrestled control from the developer.

Using a management company might help, but that can easily add $50 per unit per month.

Personally, I am very happy with my current HOA - 130 units with an ANNUAL $180 fee. They handle only the streets and the street lighting.

As for noise, we have never had that problem for the most part ... except for the years that the local municipality decided to shoot the July 4th fireworks right above our complex.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-17-2015, 05:35 AM
 
Location: Columbia SC
8,970 posts, read 7,745,489 times
Reputation: 12182
Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
One more thing, a very important thing. Following California practice, we board members do not handle money or write checks. We have a bonded management company that does that. We, as a board, hire contractors, approve contracts, and approve payments to vendors - but the management company makes the payments following our instructions. Our monthly fees are sent to (collected by) the management company.

If I were looking at a condo where the board members themselves - who are nothing but fellow homeowners serving as volunteers - actually handle the money and write the checks, I would run like hell.
Depending on the size of an association and the willingness of members to be come involved, it is quite possible and some what common to be self managed. We are 113 homes with no amenities. It would be fairly easy to self manage. We have a Mangement Company as no one wants to do the work involved.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-17-2015, 05:57 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,740,386 times
Reputation: 32304
Quote:
Originally Posted by johngolf View Post
Depending on the size of an association and the willingness of members to be come involved, it is quite possible and some what common to be self managed. We are 113 homes with no amenities. It would be fairly easy to self manage. We have a Mangement Company as no one wants to do the work involved.
I agree that it is quite possible. (But I have no idea how common it is). My objection to self-management is based on the potential for two things:

1. Fraud by the homeowners doing the management, and
2. Dropping the ball by people who are volunteers and have other things to do in their lives.

As an example of #2, certain recurring payments need to be made, such as insurance premiums, water bills, trash collection bills, fees to the pool man and to the gardener. If the insurance is not paid, it may be cancelled, and if no one is paying attention that could be very bad news indeed. In the management company someone is being PAID to do that right, which doesn't guarantee that mistakes cannot be made but it sure makes them less likely.

As for #1, I agree that having a management company does not rule out fraud completely; for example there could be sweetheart deals between the company and vendors/contractors. However the companies are bonded and have certain responsibilities under the law, including a standard of record keeping. I can't imagine being comfortable submitting my payments to some volunteer who is there because no one else wanted to come forward and about whose integrity I know nothing, even if the checks are made out to the association (as they obviously would be).

And if the "volunteer(s)" handling the money is (are) being paid (which would be illegal in Calif. for excellent reasons), then that creates a vast potential for abuse as board members scratch each others' backs.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-17-2015, 06:05 AM
 
Location: Ft. Myers
17,628 posts, read 11,181,563 times
Reputation: 37671
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccm123 View Post
I've lived in a townhome, in a high end, upper-middle class area. The units were built well, so it's felt like a SFR.

Pluses:

* HOA maintains the exterior and landscaping
* HOA covered the insurance
* Safer than a SFR, because of the neighbors close by

Minues:

* Noise, on occasion from neighbors
* Not as much privacy as a SFR
* HOA tried to "flake out" on specific complaints and would not address them
* HOA can be restrictive

The above is pretty accurate. No question that a SFR is a little quieter and you do have more distance between you and your neighbors. I think those are great benefits, especially when a family is younger with children. But as we age, our needs and views on life change, and a condo can be a great way to free yourself from a lot of work and upkeep.

When I lived in a SFR my Saturdays were spent mowing, trimming, cleaning the garage, etc., while my Wife was cleaning the inside of the house. It was just something we had to do every weekend. Now, my lawn is mowed and trimmed for me (they are outside my door doing that right now), my maintenance is done also, and I have Saturdays to walk away and do whatever I want.

It is different, but not all bad either.

Don
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-17-2015, 07:51 AM
 
Location: Dallas, TX and Las Vegas, NV
5,699 posts, read 4,422,611 times
Reputation: 11675
I also own a townhouse in a self-managed community of 90 units. Its a lovely place with an annual HOA fee of $950. Getting board members is a big challenge. There are no amenities but the landscaping and lawn sprinklers in the front of each unit is maintained by the HOA. Also the HOA paints each unit every 7 years so there is an annual painting program which also includes repair of any siding. The community has an annual picnic which fees cover the food. Each townhouse has a lampost which is maintained (lightbulb replacement, electric eye repair, electricity paid by HOA). It is a really pretty community and about half the owners are retired. Each townhouse has a double attached garage and a fenced backyard. I am selling this unit, however:

*Wood fences around the backyard are owners' responsibility and HOA has done a poor job enforcing fence maintenance. Many fences are in a disgusting state of disrepair and fences are visible from the street, because most of the units are triplexes or duplexes so the fence on end units wrap to the front.

* HOA reserves are behind budget for street repairs or more seriously water/sewer lines under the street that will be needed in the next 5 years, the City refuses to do roadwork in the community, saying the street is really a "driveway" and not a public street. That's ridiculous but none of the volunteers wants to take on this issue and the owners won't approve budget increases for legal representation.

*There are several owners who are not paying their HOA fees, and again the Board doesn't follow thru on the collection process. A couple of years ago, I pressured the board into discontinuing mowing the lawns of owners seriously in arrears and it did work -- a few paid up -- but other owners became so upset about the look of the community that after a month or so they resumed service.

So, I would rather pay a higher HOA fee and not have a self-managed community and worry about future assessments.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-17-2015, 12:29 PM
 
7,112 posts, read 9,349,377 times
Reputation: 8162
PLUS: Any major repair, like re-roofing or foundation repair, is split between you and the neighbors.

You never have to mow, shovel snow, etc. Never.

MINUS: If the board is in sole charge of the complex -- meaning there is no property-management company in place -- it can take YEARS to get even badly-needed repairs done, based on whether your neighbors feel ready to do it, or whether they like you personally enough to want to spend the money on you, and based on how efficient and careful they are collecting and husbanding the condo dues.

If there is no property-mgt company AND no expert in, say, construction or engineering who happens to be on the board -- there may be nobody who knows how to find needed services, and nobody who can even assess what services are going to be needed, resulting in thousands of wasted dollars on the wrong repairs.

Be sure the first thing they put in your hands when you buy is a set of the bylaws, and be sure they abide by them to the letter.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-17-2015, 12:40 PM
 
8,858 posts, read 5,136,100 times
Reputation: 10129
My first home was a townhouse in a 93 unit development. My second home was a single family home. Then I rented a different townhouse for awhile, in a development of about 40 units. My third home is a single family home.

The last home I buy may be another townhouse. I'm not sure I would care for apartment style condo living. I like a little more elbow room than that.

Condo/townhouse living has its advantages. But I think that if your sole motivation is the lower cost, then consider buying a single family home with a reverse mortgage instead.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-17-2015, 01:28 PM
 
118 posts, read 131,743 times
Reputation: 368
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nodpete View Post
Condo is short for Communism, everybody equal, need permission to do anything, can't change anything, ! But- it is perfect for some people. I built, and maintained and manged an 80 unit Condo for over 30 years and I should have written a book about it or made a TV series. The stories , personalities, arguments, and ideas were amazing. It's a world onto it's own. I think it takes a certain type of person to live and enjoy a condo but they certainly have their place . But check it out thoroughly before buying.
Hear hear! I also call them "Soviet Blocks" (get it?) I despise them- hubby loves them. There are SO many variables with condo living- and they can be only as good as their HOAs. OP says "I assume that pays for everything outside" um are you SURE? Also- how do residents go about repairs or upgrades? Must every little decision have to go through the "Cheka"? If you want to say, install a security door on your front door the answer will be "Nyet!"

Yes talk to the neighbors. The younger ones if in a non-age restrictive community will probably verbalize their complaints most readily. The complex I lived in was a "Quiet Zone": no parties/noise allowed (good!)

some places are awful. Thing is- if you do get stuck in one, it may be hard to sell to get rid of it if you were to decide it's not for you. Especially if you have undesirable neighbors.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-17-2015, 01:32 PM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
13,673 posts, read 8,580,903 times
Reputation: 19868
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicet4 View Post
I never thought a condo would be in my future but in all seriousness it is starting to look like a better option for us.

Until the past few weeks I never seriously entertained the thought and now here I am!

I am looking at a two bedroom/two bath condo and driving through the area is very well maintained in an excellent area close to doctors, hospital, shopping and family.

I showed it to my wife and she got all excited over it. The downstairs contains a master bedroom with its own bath and the bath downstairs. The bedroom up is really a large loft area that would work well for family and guests.

1,300 sq ft but open floor plan with back fenced porch for privacy.

Property has a swimming pool which I like because it would give the grand kids a reason to come over and see grandma and grandpa especially on hot summer days.

HOA fee is $140/month and I am assuming that takes care of everything outside. Things like yard work, sweeping and snow shoveling if you get snow?

It is not a retirement community but most people I see are 55 and older and I like to see kids around so that isn't an issue.

So give me your pluses and minuses.

Thanks
We lived in a gated community with town houses, and there are times we wish we did not have to move. Living there gave us the freedom to come and go, and no one could tell whether we were home or not.

For a come-and-go existence, it was darn near perfect.
Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


 
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:
Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Retirement
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top