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Old 07-28-2015, 11:40 AM   #21
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HOA's are to maintain consistency in a community in order to keep up property values. Some provide maintenance for grass and assess charges to maintain swimming pools, etc.


At my last house, the HOA fees were expensive, and it was the upkeep on the 4 tennis courts that ate our pocketbooks alive. Very few used the courts. But the neighborhood pool was used a lot by the neighborhood swim team.


I personally prefer no HOA's, as I have too many boats, campers and cars--toys--that are not allowed. But we moved to a town with minimum 2 acre yards.
Before we bought our current home (no HOAs!), we lived in a condo complex that did have HOAs.

Now, that was in my younger years and some of the rules were overly...ana.....restrictive, imho.

You could not leave your vehicle outside of your garage (unless in the 2nd assigned parking space), nor could you leave your garage door open.

So, working on hobbies in the garage, or changing the oil in my car was frowned on if such unsightly activity could be seen - and if the garage door was closed, stifling hot and hard to ventilate.

Nor could you have untidy/unsightly front patios, which meant container gardening would illicit stern stares from some of the HOA tyrants...bags of soil, dirt, pots, hoses, watering cans, fertilizer were unwelcomed cluttering distractions to the complex.

Oh...a bbq? Better do a wind check - depending on which way the wind was blowing you would get nasty-gram left on your doorstep.

I hope to remain somewhat 'active' in later retirement - as such any outdoor-ish type of hobby may mean a no-HOA search if/when we relocate.
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Old 07-28-2015, 11:52 AM   #22
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I personally prefer no HOA's, as I have too many boats, campers and cars--toys--that are not allowed. But we moved to a town with minimum 2 acre yards.
Not having a HOA or real good zoning laws can affect property values if you happen to be stuck next to someone who decides to neglect or use their lot for undesirable activities. There's a house (no HOA) for sale along my jogging route, real nice house, 1 acre lot, beautiful mountain views, they keep reducing price but get no offers. They happen to have a next door neighbor that has 15 vehicles spread throughout their lot, half are on blocks. I'm guessing the neighbor will end up costing them at least 25-30% on the sale of their home.
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Old 07-28-2015, 02:47 PM   #23
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Before we bought our current home (no HOAs!), we lived in a condo complex that did have HOAs.

Now, that was in my younger years and some of the rules were overly...ana.....restrictive, imho.
My niece lived in a place like that. She installed a swing on the front porch for her baby girl- the type that hung from eyelets screwed into the ceiling of the porch roof. She was even careful to take the swing and chains into the house when not in use.

The HOA told her she had to remove the eyelets. She was really creeped out that somebody was nosy enough to sneak onto her porch and check it out. They sold the place soon after that.
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Old 07-28-2015, 02:52 PM   #24
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Oh...a bbq? Better do a wind check - depending on which way the wind was blowing you would get nasty-gram left on your doorstep.
no HOA in paradise, just zoning

speaking of BBQ, I had to clean my charcoal grill out yesterday and hit it with a high powered blower (and we had about a 15 mph wind into the hood) - try it some time, it's fun
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Old 07-28-2015, 07:46 PM   #25
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Our HOA covers lawn maintenance. I like it. Everybody's lawn is tidy. It's a 55+ community and many residents are winter Texans, so included lawn maintenance was pretty important.

I don't dare own a house down here without an HOA. There are plenty of unsightly properties and haphazard juxtapositions in our city - huge fancy houses next to a junky place.
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Old 07-28-2015, 08:08 PM   #26
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I'm still young and fit enough to do my own mowing, snow shoveling, and maintenance. The last thing I want to do is pay $$XX every single month for someone else to do it.
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Old 07-28-2015, 09:22 PM   #27
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One of my favorite aspects is that the neighbors don't mow their lawns on evenings or weekends.

We've had our share of overactive rule enforcement. But it comes and goes every few years with the board members. Nothing too bad and I know they generally mean well. Right now we're in a lax period.
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Old 07-29-2015, 12:20 AM   #28
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I have had good and bad experiences with HOAs. I was super careful in buying our current house to make certain the HOA was not overly restrictive.

Things I did before buying:

1. I read the restrictions of any place I seriously considered. If the restrictions were easily available online I looked before even going to houses. I looked for restrictions that I didn't like or that were overly picky (IMHO). I also looked for badly written restrictions where the rules weren't clear.

2. I tried to find info on how the HOA in the subdivisions worked. I found a variety of things for different subdivisions. Examples: subdivision newsletter that had articles about what the HOA was doing, HOA meeting minutes, subdivision forum where activities of the HOA were discussed. There were a couple of subdivisions that were OK "on paper" but these types of things showed problems I didn't like.

3. In some instances I talked to or emailed the HOA before buying a house. In one subdivision years ago, I actually ended an option to purchase a piece of property because I didn't like what I heard. In another instances, I was actually allowed to submit a request to build a fence before we closed on the house purchase, saving us valuable time.

Good and Bad experiences

1. Townhouse many years ago - Had huge roof problem with huge special assessment which didn't solve the problem. It was just a real headache and very expensive to deal with.

2. Prior home - This was an acreage subdivision. The restrictions on paper were....OK. However, there was one neighbor who really liked to be the neighborhood HOA policement and was constantly reporting people and making stuff difficult -- even with people were in compliance.

3. Current home - Acreage subdivision, a bit more laid back than last one. Have had to get approval for few things but hasn't been onerous. I like that the rules keep the houses looking nice, but they don't try to make every house look alike.

Things to look out for (in addition to above)

1. What type vote is required to approve things? One problem in our current subdivision is that certain things require a quorum at the meetings. Most people don't go to meetings. So, at times they have had trouble getting elections done because not enough people voted. This can end up being a huge problem if the majority of people in the subdivision won't vote, the HOA can essentially get to a point where no one has authority to do anything. Our subdivision has always managed to barely get the necessary votes but it often requires multiple meetings to get there.

2. Does the HOA use a management company? Our does and it seems to change almost every year. I was happy with the one when we moved in, they it was changed to one that was horrible. They were terrible at responding to problems and acted as gatekeepers to keep us from going directly to the HOA to complain about them. They eventually were booted out, but we weren't happy for months.

3. Can you contact the actual HOA members? One of my annoyances with my current HOA is that I have no info to be able to contact the actual HOA members. I have to go through the HOA. That is fine...except when you want to complain about the HOA. I guess I could go to an HOA meeting and tackle a member there, but it irritates me that I can't have an email address or phone number for the HOA members.
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Old 07-29-2015, 12:42 AM   #29
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I hadn't heard about one with all of the features you're talking about, except maybe for Condo-associations. Though perhaps some of the newer "lock and leave" neighborhoods I'm seeing in Austin or, perhaps, garden home neighborhoods have that sort of things.


Our experience has been mixed. Our neighborhood was only partially built before a housing crash happened in the late 1980's. That's when we bought our home (cheaply, I might add). Developer goes bankrupt. A few years later a new developer comes in and contracts with several builders to finish building up the neighborhood. During that time, our HOA was very active and, yes, we ran into Napoleon-types.


There is a fine line between doing the sorts of things all agree with preserve property values and imposing your own sense of taste on everybody. Anyway, the neighborhood has been built out for well over a decade and our HOA still exists, still meets, but there has been great difficulty in getting people to participate on the committees and board. Haven't heard any complaints in a very long time about folks not following the rules - but I suspect things would ramp up pretty quickly if those purple shutters showed up!
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Old 07-29-2015, 04:56 AM   #30
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On our last trip to Florida we visited several beautiful places with HOA fees. I decided that this definitely will not work for us. I rather pay for grass cutting, and home maintenance than live with those restrictions. We currently have close to one acre property, a lot of privacy, and no one is lurking into our house. We do follow all requirements that are enforced by our town. We live in upscale neighborhood, which is mix with older folks, and young family's. We do pay high taxes, and town office is the place to call if there is any neighborhood issue. No one cares if your garage is open, or if you have cars or bikes on your driveway. People mind their own business, most of them working and have no time to pay attention to the meaningless stuff. The sticky issue is only with barking dogs. I think since individuality is high on our must list, HOA properties will never work for us.
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Old 07-29-2015, 08:34 AM   #31
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The more things the HOA fees handle, the more concerned I'd be. It means you're trusting them to get the right vendors and service providers, and maintain reserves for contingencies such as a winter with heavy snowfall (if plowing is included in services). Otherwise there will be assessments and there will always be people who can't or won't pay up. Ours doesn't cover lawn maintenance and I'm OK with that.


We do have one great example of picky laws: we're very close to a state line and there's a huge rivalry between fans of the football teams of the two state universities (if you're into that stuff). We're allowed to fly team flags in front of the house only on game day!
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Old 07-29-2015, 11:39 AM   #32
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There are usually 2 entities: the management company that takes your dues and provides various services, and the HOA Board, which is a legally empowered governing body for the development and is made up of residents, elected by the other owners.

The management company does the HOA board members' bidding. The board membership will change over time, and can swing from downright lackadaisical to Gestapo-like, depending on who gets on the board. This will be reflected in the management company's behavior (e.g. sending threatening letters because your door light is tarnished).
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Old 07-29-2015, 12:10 PM   #33
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The HOA told her she had to remove the eyelets. She was really creeped out that somebody was nosy enough to sneak onto her porch and check it out. They sold the place soon after that.
Now that's actually disturbing. Where I live, we don't have an HOA, but county code enforcement comes by every once in awhile. However, they're not allowed to venture onto your property, so you only get cited for a violation if they can see it from the road.

One time, I got busted for having an "untagged/inoperable/wrecked/dismantled" vehicle on my property, because I had a '79 Chrysler with no front license plate, backed in the driveway, about 100 feet off the road. I bought the car in Pennsylvania, which doesn't require a front plate, so it didn't have a bracket to attach a plate.

I found out when the guy was coming through to re-inspect, and made sure the car was turned around with its rear facing the street. I also backed it up, almost to the road, because I didn't want the guy venturing onto the property and finding other violations! (this was before I learned that they weren't allowed to actually come onto your property and snoop around).
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Old 07-29-2015, 03:47 PM   #34
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It's interesting to see such strong feelings both for and against HOA's. I've fallen in both camps, at different times in my life. My first place was a single family house, no HOA. Instead I had a big garage filled with boy toys, every gasoline powered lawn/garden implement known to man, and a project car I never finished. I played electric guitar well into the night without issues.

Then I got married and moved into a nice townhome, now with a HOA. I ER'd and life is even better. I don't miss the old place, aka "money pit" at all. Life changes, but all's good.
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Old 07-29-2015, 06:27 PM   #35
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Funny, I adore purple. Yet every single time HOAx are discussed, someone mentions painting something purple as the ultimate sin. I hate Olive green, but it's everywhere. Hmph.
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Old 07-29-2015, 09:13 PM   #36
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Why not just join the HOA board? Then you get to make the rules.


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Old 07-29-2015, 10:57 PM   #37
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HOA can be good for some things, as a few posts have said. However, my general feeling is they are for old ladies with nothing better to do than worry about everyone else's business. You can find countless horror stories about them overstepping their bounds and authority, mostly by the people involved and not because the rules were violated to such an extreme. Just be very careful that you understand what you are signing up for with an HOA.

I personally think that HOA's are a creation of the devil himself. Not for me. I only have a slight opinion on this matter
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Old 07-30-2015, 09:21 AM   #38
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Funny, I adore purple. Yet every single time HOAx are discussed, someone mentions painting something purple as the ultimate sin. I hate Olive green, but it's everywhere. Hmph.
Somehow the previous owners of our house got away with this door color. (It happens to be one of the team colors of the two rival universities I mentioned earlier.) I like it!

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Old 07-30-2015, 04:32 PM   #39
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I've never lived where there is an HOA.

Would these in my front yard be totally out of the question ?
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Old 07-30-2015, 04:46 PM   #40
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The "architectural guidelines" for our (former) rental townhouse did not allow lawn sculptures of any kind. They would have sent a Threatening Letter demanding that you remove the flamingos immediately, on pain of a fine and lien on the property. If sculptures had been allowed, they would have had to be approved by the architectural committee after you got signatures from your 4 nearest neighbors saying the flamingos were OK.

I am not joking. We re-painted the townhouse's front porch columns, which were faded, to a nice clean white, and were "gigged" for not using the correct shade of white.

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I've never lived where there is an HOA.

Would these in my front yard be totally out of the question ?
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