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The Subdivision is looking shabby....Are we doomed?
Old 11-14-2015, 09:15 AM   #1
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The Subdivision is looking shabby....Are we doomed?

We are recent empty nesters and we have begun updating the home.

The question we are struggling with is "Should we stay or go?".

The big elephant in the room is the concern we have about our subdivision and where it is headed.

Property values have remained high but we have noticed in the last few years that many of the HOA rules are not being followed and the place is starting to look shabby (trash cans out, satellite dishes, fences in disrepair, cars parked in yards, boats & trailers in driveways, broken lamp posts, sheds being built not meeting requirements, and on and on).

I sent in a complaint to the association about a trailer in a yard and I was shocked to see that the board had allowed it temporarily but no end date. An obvious violation.

My plan is to document many of the violations I see and attend the next board meeting to understand what the board's position is on following the required covenants.

Does anyone have any experience with issues of the neighborhood slipping and then turning back around...or not? Is it worth fighting or am I just swimming upstream? We do very much like where we are but I am not going to enjoy watching the place slide downhill and possibly my house value too.

I look forward to comments from folks who have experienced a similar situation.

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Old 11-14-2015, 09:29 AM   #2
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My opinion… MoveOn. It does not seem you are happy where you are at. We also recently moved because our neighborhood was changing. We were in a residential area, but with low interest rates some homes were sold to people who perhaps could not have afforded them otherwise. Lawns were not being kept up, and yards not maintained the same way. We still drive through the neighborhood, and now notice so much more than when we were living at that location and seeing it every day-because you don't see it then.

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Old 11-14-2015, 09:34 AM   #3
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Many years ago, we had this happen, based on that adventure, run away now! It got really bad fast, we were renters so it didn't have bad financial outcome on us, a friend claimed to have lost 25% of their principal.
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Old 11-14-2015, 09:39 AM   #4
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I've seen quite a number of subdivisions go that route, but have yet to see one of them turn around. May be time for a move.
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Old 11-14-2015, 09:54 AM   #5
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That normally happens when a neighborhood gets older and there are less and less owners living there and more and more renters.
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Old 11-14-2015, 09:56 AM   #6
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Sounds like the neighborhood is becoming low-rent, so I'd move on. Sell now and get a good price while you can, before the place declines more.
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Old 11-14-2015, 10:01 AM   #7
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Yes. Run. The animals always outnumber the zookeepers. The bad guys always win in these situations. It's just a matter of time.
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Old 11-14-2015, 10:04 AM   #8
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Been there, done that. In my case, the condo development I was in still had some class, the surrounding neighborhoods were deteriorating. The result was break-ins, with more and more owners putting up security grilles on their doors and windows. I got out (because I was transferred elsewhere) but I was back there recently and saw that the same conditions prevailed so I count myself lucky to have moved without losing any money on the home.

In your case, I would say don't focus on your home's value but on your quality of life. It sounds as if you would be happier elsewhere, so move sooner rather than later and that will take care of the value issue as well.
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Old 11-14-2015, 10:11 AM   #9
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Ya , start looking for your next home.

These things don't get better. Sure, you get a seat on the HOA board, and make it an unpaid full time job to get the rules enforced. That would be a massive waste of your time and likely not successful IMO.
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Old 11-14-2015, 10:54 AM   #10
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I'll take a different approach, get involved with your HOA and get others with similar concerns involved as well. Too often HOAs go down hill because HOA Boards get stale and residents become apathetic. Most people just want to pay their dues and let others do the heavy lifting. I don't care how nice of a subdivision you move into if you don't take an active part in helping the HOA, it will go down hill.

Too often the same people that sit back and bitch about the HOA and the neighborhood are the same ones that don't want to pitch in and help. Yes, you can move but the situation will present itself again if you and the residents don't take an active part in the HOA.
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Old 11-14-2015, 11:19 AM   #11
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I would look at the long term price trend. We have some houses in disrepair with elderly original owners because of the age of the neighborhood. But the prices keep going up and as soon as the houses get sold they are usually renovated by the new owners.
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The Subdivision is looking shabby....Are we doomed?
Old 11-14-2015, 11:59 AM   #12
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The Subdivision is looking shabby....Are we doomed?

Move. I live in a center city neighborhood that was an early prime residential neighborhood, with large quality lots and ideal access to CBD. It began a social downtrend in the early 1940s that only turned around in the new millennium. And only happened because the city population has been increasing and many of the new residents are very well paid and cosmopolitan tech workers, and my neighborhood has good bones and very handy access to growing employment centers and attractive amenities.

This is not a typical outcome, and this is not a turnaround that often happens in the suburbs.

Get out of Dodge.


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Old 11-14-2015, 12:29 PM   #13
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I lived in a very lush 400 house swim/tennis community outside Atlanta with a strong HOA. The HOA was very strong--not even allowing overnight parking on the street, campers or boats outside garages. We were very fortunate to sell to the 3rd person that looked at our house for list price. It was meant for us to move.

The neighborhood is now 20 years old, and it's aging very, very well. However house prices have taken a 25% dip.

We have noticed that in The Burbs, there is a turnover of neighbors about every 10 years. After that, there is a good chance resale prices will drop. Get your repairs made now, and put your house on the market by February--start of the Spring Selling Season.
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Old 11-14-2015, 12:32 PM   #14
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Leaving would be a good choice but be careful how much you put into updating your home. DD and SIL had a cute first home bought close to the boom top. Very cute safe neighborhood, but not quite an inner ring suburb. Cape cod style home with big yards, they got a really nice well kept up house. They had a family and a bunch of job promotions paid the house off well into positive equity. 3 years ago found their dream home on 5 acres going thru a distressed sale due to divorce. They moved and rented home number one since it had a good positive cash flow and they were hoping for some price improvement . As my SIL would drive by to check on the house he began to notice the area just didn't look at "nice" as it used too. Just a little run down and such. After 2 years of booming prices in our area (MSP), the renter left and they decided to sell. They did pickup some price improvement, but it was well below the average metro %.The day the for sale sign went up, a neighbor across the street came up and said to them. "You are selling just in time, I don't think this neighborhood is going anywhere but down. "

So, if you as an owner think things are going badly, imagine the reaction of possible buyers when they are simply doing a first impression drive by of your area.
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Old 11-14-2015, 02:12 PM   #15
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I'll vote with the majority this time: it's time to go, especially while property values are good. It's not just a matter of enforcement of the HOA rules, but rather the fundamental attitudes of individual members. If the issues are very isolated to few problem units, but rather represent a general trend, then it would be wise to leave if you are uncomfortable. Except for minor HOA issues, fundamental downtrends could take years even decades to reverse.

We just sold our old place in a deteriorating neighborhood. Moved to a smaller place in a much nicer neighborhood. DW feels much safer and we love the friendly new neighbors and beautiful location. No regrets at all!
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Old 11-14-2015, 04:24 PM   #16
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If the prices are still high and you suspect they're headed down sell. If the prices already have dropped, move out and rent it. Don't sell low! If it's a good location, neighborhoods will come back. Depending on where in the cycle you are, it might take 15 or 25 years though, and that's only if it's not in a place where they can slap up new construction nearby (not space constrained).
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Old 11-15-2015, 05:51 AM   #17
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My experience is once the rule breaking starts, it's not going to stop. There's no getting the cat back in the bag without an exceptional HOA. One person does a non-conforming modification that's allowed and it's a slippery slope.

We lived in a nice new small subdivision at one time. No HOA but we had covenants. Once it was nearly built out, the developer couldn't get anyone to take over the administration of the covenants (approvals of changes etc.). Wham-Bam - the above ground pools and metal sheds appeared faster than you could believe.

OK, maybe this means some fraction of the homeowners didn't want the covenants.

I'd find out if there's any "passion" left in the HOA for enforcement and start getting ready to move.
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Old 11-15-2015, 05:57 AM   #18
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+1 on moving. Fighting the HOA your neighbors is just going to leave you more unhappy. Sell while the price is still right.
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Old 11-15-2015, 06:29 AM   #19
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Agree with others. No need to fight it. I'm in the process of making a move for the same reasons. Only in my case, the house I'm in is one my mom owned and the neighborhood went past the point of no return many years ago. I couldn't talk my mom into moving, so I inherited the house and have been living here since she passed away 2 years ago. I have a vacation place on the coast and thought this house might be ok for part time living, but I can't handle the neighbor even on a part time basis.

Too bad I couldn't talk my mom into moving as the value of the home has dropped quite a bit over the years. The house has been maintained, but the location sucks. But, she was happy and the location was good for her(close to stores).
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Old 11-15-2015, 06:32 AM   #20
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My experience is a little different. Early on in the development I live in the HOA was lax in enforcing some of the rules although it hadn't reached the level as the OP described. About 12 years ago we hired an outside management company to manage the HOA and there has been a big improvement since them. We still have local residents on the HOA board but the management company has helped to add consistency to enforcing the rules. Initially those who were in violation and had to make changes may not have been happy but they came around.

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