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Old 11-16-2015, 11:13 AM   #41
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There's nothing wrong about wanting to have your development kept nice. I'm certainly similar in that regard. I worked hard for my possessions and respect my neighbors by keeping my place up. For some folks that is not a priority, that's fine. Perhaps they are rather well to do in that a drop in property value is not a concern or the conditions of there development is not a priority to them.
What I have experienced is that in highly populated city neighborhoods, when they get run down, depending on location, they can make incredible turn-a rounds. However suburban developments don't seem to have that resiliency. Once they begin to deteriorate, especially if the properties are large, they unfortunately spiral downward.
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Old 11-16-2015, 11:14 AM   #42
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Oh yeah, my lawn guys mow and trim. I guess the point was that I'd do it myself if it was "just" mowing, and if the summer temps weren't 100+...

Actually, it's a pretty good deal. If I pay for the mowing season upfront, I get a 10% discount, which works out to around $18/wk. Plus, I use a CC, so get cash back or air miles. Well worth it!

I hardly set foot on the lawn. It's mostly an expensive, pita buffer between me and the neighbors.
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Old 11-16-2015, 11:27 AM   #43
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Oh yeah, my lawn guys mow and trim. I guess the point was that I'd do it myself if it was "just" mowing, and if the summer temps weren't 100+...

Actually, it's a pretty good deal. If I pay for the mowing season upfront, I get a 10% discount, which works out to around $18/wk. Plus, I use a CC, so get cash back or air miles. Well worth it!

I hardly set foot on the lawn. It's mostly an expensive, pita buffer between me and the neighbors.
That's what mine is, too.

Oh good! I'm glad you get edging and I think it is WELL worth the price, especially in retirement (which should be for more enjoyable pastimes than mowing, IMO). Besides, my perception is that old people that keep mowing end up dying of heart attacks all the time while they are mowing. I'd rather not end up that way.

I pay $35/mow, which last year came to a little under $28/week. That is a lot but the guy has been mowing for Frank's family for half a century (he has helpers, now, and a rider mower). Anyway, I feel he is trustworthy and extremely reliable, and he knows when it is time to mow, so I prefer him to less costly services.
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Old 11-16-2015, 02:49 PM   #44
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Our prior house was in a neighborhood that started a rapid decline. There was no HOA. When we first moved there, it was very nice. Homes and yards were well maintained... mostly older original owners with teenage kids who soon became empty-nesters. As they moved out, more and more homes were being rented or sold to people who probably should not have qualified for a loan. We had done some fairly expensive improvements and hoped to stay forever. But once the direction was clear, we sold as fast as we could. Occasionally, we drive through there now and it's abundantly obvious that getting out early was a good choice.

The new place also has no HOA. It did originally back in the 60s, but was apparently dissolved in the early 80s, leaving no entity to enforce covenants. There are violations everywhere. But it's a heavily wooded area with 2 to 3 acre lots. We can barely see the neighbors. The houses are quite large and well maintained for the most part. There are a few people who went the "natural" route, i.e. literally live in a forest with no identifiable lawn areas, etc to maintain. Some people have a mix of conventional plus "natural," which I think works quite well. Recently, there have been a few tear-down's followed by a McMansion, which is fine too. We like the place for the privacy, natural beauty, and diversity. At this point, an HOA would just be an unnecessary intrusion. If things take a turn that we don't like for some reason, we'll just accelerate the downsize plan.
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Old 11-17-2015, 08:34 AM   #45
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Oddly enough, I feel some of this is a regional/location issue. We live in MN and could find a neighborhood where we felt comfortable to live in with no HOA restrictions. However around 10 years ago when we started to look for a second home in the Southern Utah area, we quickly realized it was HOA or nothing. Even fairly upscale newish neighborhoods have homes ( and I mean more then one or two) that decorate their yards in what I dubbed "Utah Chic"..which might mean no lawn care, a couple motorcycles parked in the front yard, perhaps some blow-up Santas still standing on the 4th of July and bonus points for a broken washer or car on blocks in the back yard. This is not a snobby issue or even a socioeconomic issue it's a culture issue.



It's not really about being snobby or controlling. We ended up never buying a house because we live on a farm and aren't comfortable telling people they can't park in their driveways or leave the garage door open. Yet we don't enjoy looking at other people's junk and unkempt properties.



To the OP go to your HOA and see if there are renting restrictions in place and if they are being enforced. See how many homes are delinquent on their HOA fee. This might give you a better idea of what is going on.

Ivinsfan, you made me chuckle. No wonder I am not bothered by certain things that appear to bother people....I am the one bothering people! I practically leave my garage door open all day long (and sometimes to forget to close it at night). It never occurred to me that was an eyesore. Probably an HOA violation somewhere.


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Old 11-17-2015, 08:53 AM   #46
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Ivinsfan, you made me chuckle. No wonder I am not bothered by certain things that appear to bother people....I am the one bothering people! I practically leave my garage door open all day long (and sometimes to forget to close it at night). It never occurred to me that was an eyesore. Probably an HOA violation somewhere.
Maybe the inside your garage isn't an eyesore. Mine is, and always assume that people who leave their garage doors up showing their nice, neatly organized garage that you can fit a car into are snobs and show-offs. And even in my highly regulated HOA in MD it's not against the rules to leave the garage door open.

I had always said I would never live in a house in an HOA. I've broken the rule, and I regret it. I don't like telling others what they can and can't do, and I certainly don't like them telling me. I got in trouble for planting trees without permission. Trees! Aargh. Never again, I swear (the HOA, not the trees).
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Old 11-17-2015, 09:01 AM   #47
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....I am the one bothering people! I practically leave my garage door open all day long (and sometimes to forget to close it at night). It never occurred to me that was an eyesore. Probably an HOA violation somewhere.


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I became the designated neighborhood spokesman who finally had to speak to a woman down the street who was creating an eyesore with about 150-200 soda cans strewn around her front yard (among other things). Her son would just toss them as he'd walk into the house.

I was a bit amazed that she didn't understand how anyone could see this as a problem. It wasn't a case of "none of your business", it was a case of "you mean people actually worry about things like that??".
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Old 11-17-2015, 09:03 AM   #48
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Maybe the inside your garage isn't an eyesore. Mine is, and always assume that people who leave their garage doors up showing their nice, neatly organized garage that you can fit a car into are snobs and show-offs. And even in my highly regulated HOA in MD it's not against the rules to leave the garage door open.

I had always said I would never live in a house in an HOA. I've broken the rule, and I regret it. I don't like telling others what they can and can't do, and I certainly don't like them telling me. I got in trouble for planting trees without permission. Trees! Aargh. Never again, I swear (the HOA, not the trees).

Mine is fairly clean but nothing inside to brag about including the vehicle unfortunately. My garage is a heat trap in the summer so I keep it open. Plus it is my preferred way to enter and leave the house. I feel like you do about it. Maybe when I am old cranky and I would not mind an HOA since I wouldn't be doing anything to my property anyways.


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Old 11-17-2015, 09:07 AM   #49
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About 10 years ago I built a really nice shed in my back yard. It wasnt metal. It was just like the ones you see at Home Depot, but I built it from scratch so it was nicer than those and I custom painted it to match the colors of my house. I still had a neighbor tell me that it would bring the property values down. But then this was the same guy who successfully lobbied the City to put speed bumps on HIS street and his street only to slow cars down because he had a small child. This was a street that probably had 10 cars per day drive down it. He was a serious busy body that thought he was too good for the rest of the neighborhood. Amazingly enough, he didnt work. His wife is a doctor.
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Old 11-17-2015, 09:17 AM   #50
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I got in trouble for planting trees without permission. Trees! Aargh. Never again, I swear (the HOA, not the trees).
You're upset that your HOA enforced the rules? From this thread it sounds like the bigger issue is lack of enforcement.
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Old 11-17-2015, 09:33 AM   #51
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You're upset that your HOA enforced the rules? From this thread it sounds like the bigger issue is lack of enforcement.
That's the problem with HOAs. A lot of the rules are stupid (like not allowing trees to be planted), but everyone's ideas of what a stupid rule is, is different. I would never live in a neighborhood with an HOA. I find that the neighborhoods in upper income areas tend to pretty much be void of cars on blocks in the front yard and dont need all that much oversight from people on HOA boards who tend to be power hungry.
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Old 11-17-2015, 09:34 AM   #52
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You're upset that your HOA enforced the rules? From this thread it sounds like the bigger issue is lack of enforcement.
No, I'm more upset that they would even have such a dumb rule. I could see a rule saying not to plant anything that would block someone else's view, but that's about it.

Seriously, when we had the HOA/ARB fascists in charge the neighborhood was a miserable place to live, with people measuring the length of other people's grass and what not. We almost didn't move in there due to the bickering and name calling at the HOA meetings. Since a new, more relaxed regime has taken over it's become a much more friendly and tolerant place to live. People are talking to each other in the streets, and (mostly) no one minds if someone keeps their boat or RV in the driveway for a week or two. People work together to keep the common ponds and gardens cleaned up, and generally get along better. The old group doesn't come to the neighborhood parties, but it's not a big loss.

Still, having lived through both aspects of HOA life, I'm going to make sure that future homes (if any) are in non-HOA neighborhoods. I feel more comfortable that way. I guess I'll have rules when I finally end up in an old-folks home, but what can you do?
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Old 11-17-2015, 09:58 AM   #53
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That's the problem with HOAs. A lot of the rules are stupid (like not allowing trees to be planted), but everyone's ideas of what a stupid rule is, is different.
If the rules are stupid why live there? Hopefully one reads the CC&R's thoroughly before purchasing.
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Old 11-17-2015, 10:12 AM   #54
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If the rules are stupid why live there? Hopefully one reads the CC&R's thoroughly before purchasing.
Exactly. I haven't had any negative experiences with the HOA's I've been subjected to. The rules are fair and apply to everyone for the betterment of the community. If someone doesn't like the rules, they have the right to live somewhere else.
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Old 11-17-2015, 10:27 AM   #55
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I've lived in HOA's and Condo Associations most of my adult life. The rules, and standards, are there because the residents want them. Not agreeing with something doesn't make it wrong, especially if it is a personal choice.

I would say that it is foolish to live in an HOA if the homeowner doesn't want or agree with the regulations.
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Old 11-17-2015, 10:30 AM   #56
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I am the OP and I appreciate the great info and feedback.....

Update and my plans:

  • A neighbor (former board member) and I are in agreement about the concern we have that the HOA rules are not being enforced...Come to find out he had sent in similar concerns.
  • We met with a Board Member and he agreed with our one incident and when we pointed out all the other violations, his reaction was that he was not that familiar with the rules. It was very cordial.
  • We (neighbor & I) are on the agenda for the next board meeting (a little concerned that there is no date yet set for the December meeting)
  • My goal at the board meeting is to find out if the board is interested in enforcing the rules we all signed up for (I plan to bring a document with the rule and the number of violations I have found). There will be no yelling...that's not me. I am there to help.
  • We are continuing to update the house for selling it/or not.
  • We are thinking/researching where we would go if we decide to leave.
One of the greatest benefits of reaching FI, is that it's great to have options and the freedom to choose!

Again, thanks for the insights. I luv this board for this very reason.
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Old 11-17-2015, 10:31 AM   #57
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If the rules are stupid why live there? Hopefully one reads the CC&R's thoroughly before purchasing.
As with all laws, the devil is in the details. A rule that states "all landscaping projects must be approved by the ARB" doesn't mean you can't plant a tree to me. That's not a landscaping project. Building a deck is a landscaping project, and I submitted my plans before I did it. But I plant trees, bushes, flowers, etc. every week. I move them around, cut them down, etc. I garden. So just because you read the rules doesn't mean you interpret them the same way the HOA board does.

Anyway, I find it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission. My trees are still there.
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Old 11-17-2015, 11:11 AM   #58
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If the rules are stupid why live there? Hopefully one reads the CC&R's thoroughly before purchasing.
If you read my post, you saw that I did say I would never live in a neighborhood with an HOA.
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Old 11-17-2015, 01:34 PM   #59
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If you read my post, you saw that I did say I would never live in a neighborhood with an HOA.
I think he/she was talking to me.
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Old 11-17-2015, 01:49 PM   #60
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He said that while quoting my post, not yours. Post #53.
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