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Old 02-24-2013, 06:34 PM
 
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Do townhouses ever remodel the outside w/ hoa fee? What happens with all that money? I know they are suppose to upkeep the property but it seems like the HOA fees are much more than maintenance. Would someone be able to explain? Has HOA fees ever been used to make the property much nicer? If that happens do HOA fees go up?
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:16 PM
 
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So considering just fee simple townhouses, non-condo, and what hoa fees can cover. It can be a bit of a buffet.

They will cover whatever your varying amounts of common space may be...a large field with a little pond; an odd space where it was thought children would play ball in the old days (before so much organized school sports); mound where a lot of fill ended up so it's now a pretty grassed common area; a well planned purposed grassy park however grand or simple within the confines of the th community; a boat ramp; a road that is maintained by the th association and will need snow removal or eventual sealing/repairing; th community street lighting, entry sign and entry or community landscaping. A community pool and tennis court if you have those dedicated just for your th community. A detention pond. Speed limit reminders. Parking markers...timbers, paint, etc.

Directly outside the walls of the th itself a fee can cover reserves for new siding, reserves for new roof...and especially if these are a bank of townhouses, say four, with one running roof and siding, then they'd all get replaced at once in my personal experience. In my experience, when they've been very individual looking, recessed in or out from one another, varying hieghts, etc they can get away with replacing one without the others.

Of course, if there's a fire or something they'll have to replace just that one.

Fire insurance, insurance for a slip and fall or something more in your common areas, including roads private to your community.

Brings me to the fact that the fee can be for the insurance on the HOA part of your th...replacement of outside balcony, porch, etc ruined in a storm.

The fee might cover mowing your front and back yard, only your front or none at all. The association may even trim your personal bushes and trees as well as treat for foliage pests...depends on what their deal is.

The fee will likely cover a regular pest treatment for things that can ruin as house or get into the house...ants, termites, other bugs.

The fee can cover water. That one I'm not crazy about. Every th pays a portion of a water bill. Owners in such places are reminded not to wash their cars too often on th water and to be mindful of watering their grass. Such places can have regular checks of faucets and commodes and encouragement for owners to call with any sign of a leak. Otherwise everyone shares in the leak bill.

Such places can also have the mix of the hoa getting inside the fee simple building in the event of a water leak. Since it is a hoa item, then its repurcussions seem to be as well.

If your th community is part of a larger master community of other th, and/or condos, and/or single family then you will have an additional fee to cover master association items, such as a master association pool, clubhouse, gym, tennis, whatever sports, common meadows, clubhouse parking lot, pool buildings and furnishings, master association docks, trails, etc.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Florida -
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Ask your HOA for a copy of their current budget and reserves ... and you will learn the answer.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:47 PM
Itz
 
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great answer cully.
bambooi I suggest going to your HOA meetings if you are in one. Also they send out the budget every year that is a break down of where your fees go.

has HOA fees ever been used to make the property nicer , and do fees go up?.. in my community -yes. every year several flowers are planted throughout the community. This does not in turn cause the fees to go up, but it does have an impact on the bottom line, which can cause fees to go up.

Also, after a lawsuit with the builder in my community we used the money to redo a LOT of bad workmanship, but we also took out a lot of money out of the HOA budget to increase and improve upon the structures. We opted to pay extra for energy efficient windows - every window. The lawsuit budgeted just regular windows. We opted to pay for more gutter work out of the HOA fund, and a few other "improvements".. This didn't cause fees to go up, however the budget has to take into account that buildings need to repainted every 10 years or so and roofs need repaired and replaced, so that adds an extra 3% raise on top of what you already owe to cover what will have to be paid in 10 years.

Whatever the HOA pays for, this comes out of the fees homeowners pay. Bottom line. We have casually gone over adding a pool to our community every few years, but that would cause fees to raise tremendously. Someone has to pay for it.
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:50 AM
 
Location: Lexington, SC
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In one HOA (townhouse) association I was a member of, after 20 years the siding product was no longer available and there were issues with ice dams, leaking, falling apart siding. They bit the bullet. Owners approved (8-2) a one time assessment of $25K per unit (over $4.3Mil) to do some other needed repairs plus reside all units.

When done the place looked more New Englandy (was located in MA) thus the units fitted in much better. Place got a rebirth. prices increased.

They were 175 homes with typical vlaue of over $400K each.
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:10 AM
 
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Bambooi, if you aren't familiar, beyond the monthly fee is this thing called special assessment. That can be levied by the master association if one is in one or for one of the th community items described by itz.

Also, if you are buying in now, you should get a copy of their latest financials, and their hoa meeting minutes, which will at least sometimes have the monthly financials. You should have a good reserve. (This would be for any master association as well as the sub-association within the master plan.) Note the age of things around you vis a vis the reserves. One community's monthly fee might be higher than another but perhaps that one has more amenities or has a good sound plan for the work on homes getting a little older. And a great place you like.

Or perhaps you just want a simple no fuss place, not much in the line of amenities, perhaps just an entrance sign, perhaps they're on city roads, no green space or pool and the montly fee should go accordingly.
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:11 AM
 
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>Do townhouses ever remodel the outside w/ hoa fee?

If you mean, do it over differently, the answer is probably "rarely." The intent is usually to maintain in serviceable condition.

What happens with all that money?

> Some it is called "reserves." It's for major, predictable expenditures. Replacing the roof. Painting the exterior. Stuff that a homeowner usually doesn't worry about until it's too late.

>I know they are suppose to upkeep the property but it seems like the HOA fees are much more than maintenance.

See above about reserves.

> Would someone be able to explain?

See above about reserves.

> Has HOA fees ever been used to make the property much nicer?

This should happen only after essential items are taken care of.

> If that happens do HOA fees go up?

Large increases usually require a vote of the homeowners.
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:15 AM
 
38 posts, read 61,331 times
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great information. I'm looking to buy so I'm interested in this information. Thank you all.
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:57 PM
Itz
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bambooi View Post
great information. I'm looking to buy so I'm interested in this information. Thank you all.
I would look over the covenants and rules & regulations as well!!! Before I even put a bid on my place I insisted on seeing these.
Take special note of who is responsible for maintaining and paying for what - especially in a condo situation. A friend of mine had her hot water heater go out and her HOA documents stated she was responsible for fixing her place and her neighbors, which was damaged as well. In my townhome, if my water heater busted the HOA paid for all the repairs, which we changed as soon as we could.

Also, talk to some people in the community about the HOA. Some HOAs out there are monsters! Find out who the management company is and see what people are saying about them. Most of the time the horror stories you hear are mostly due to management company crap.
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Old 02-27-2013, 07:23 PM
 
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It looks like they have 60 in reserves and 35 in a checking account. They take in over 200k in dues. Townhouses in this area are listed at 120k.

How does that look? How much of a reserve should they have? I have not finished reading the covenants/rules/by laws.
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