Author Topic: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?  (Read 16643 times)

EconDiva

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Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« on: August 21, 2017, 11:04:36 AM »
Do many single family homes have an HOA?

I'm starting to wonder if I should avoid an HOA when I buy a home next year.  I was set on a condo really until I started hearing more about the amounts people are paying in HOA fees in my area and the HOA boards.

Do you have a SFH and a have an HOA?  What does it cover?  Any issues with them?

Would it be wise to try 'not' to have one as a first time home buyer? 

Pigeon

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2017, 11:12:45 AM »
That depends entirely on where you live.  Where I live there are very, very few single family homes with a HOA.  Where my sister lives, you can hardly buy one without an HOA.

Whether or not to buy with one is largely personal preference.  I wouldn't like it.  I've owned several houses in different suburban locations and have never had problems with owners letting things get run down.  I'm not horribly picky though, and don't care if the neighbor has some crabgrass.  Other people say if you don't have an HOA, every other house will have three rusting trucks and an old washing machine on the front porch. 

My sister loves her HOA.  I would last there ten minutes.  They can cite you for painting your interior walls the wrong color.

patchyfacialhair

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2017, 11:21:58 AM »
I bought a home recently and it's not in an HOA.

There are pros and cons for both, but in my humble opinion, I prefer not to live in an HOA.

As I get older (and I'm very young, relatively), I care less and less about what other people think, especially my neighbors. So if I want to paint my house a different color, I don't have to get it approved. If I want to park my cars outside, I can, without repercussions. I deal with enough bureaucracy in my daily life at work, that I'd rather not deal with more of it, only to be told that my Halloween/Christmas decorations are obnoxious and must be taken down (they are, but we love them). That being said, we're boring people and would probably keep neutral colors and normal architecture, as most of the homes do nearby.

Sure, my neighbor can paint their house black or hot pink, but that's about the worst that can happen. If they let their grass get overgrown with weeds, code enforcement for the city cites them. If the house is in ill repair, code enforcement will cite/condemn. If they repeatedly throw parties, then the police will get involved. Those repercussions are no different whether we live in an HOA or not.

Overall though, I have a healthy mix of blue collar dual income families, white collar single income families, a ton of kids, teenagers, and retirees. Since the price point of our neighborhood is north of 400k, that helps keep out some of the riffraff (not all, there's a high school nearby lol).

Also, we've had so much going on that I'm going every 2-3 weeks between lawn mowing. Does my grass get a little unkempt? Depends on your opinion of unkempt, but to most HOAs, the answer is yes, despite it not looking bad at all. Most of my neighbors regularly pull weeds, so the block looks quite nice.

I guess all that is to say...."it depends." There are certainly trashy neighborhoods in my city that have no HOA.

DeltaBond

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2017, 11:31:34 AM »
I have bought two homes in the last 4 years, and I specifically shopped for homes without an HOA.  I ended up buying in places that weren't in a traditional neighborhood, and that's fine with me.

lbmustache

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2017, 11:37:36 AM »


My sister loves her HOA.  I would last there ten minutes.  They can cite you for painting your interior walls the wrong color.

Wow, that's an intense HOA.

I have one (condo), but they're only strict about what goes on outside. I haven't found them to be overbearing.

I would ask neighbors about the HOA to see if they are pleased or not, before I committed to buying a place with an HOA.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2017, 11:56:30 AM »
I personally like having an HOA, but that's because they take care of the basic neighborhood look/property values.

I live in a solid blue collar middle-class neighborhood, and we absolutely would end up with that crap if they didn't enforce the HOA standards. They don't have crazy rules, and sometimes it takes them a while to get someone to fix code violations, but they do it right.

It's the crazy drunk-with-power HOAs you have to watch out for - the ones that come measure your grass or tell you that only 3 shades of paint is allowed, or chalk your tires on the car to see if you moved it within 24 hours... those HOAs suck. But many of them don't go to that extreme.

Agree that if you like a neighborhood that has an HOA, speak to a few neighbors to see what they think of it. It shouldn't be an automatic negative.

JLee

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2017, 12:49:57 PM »
Keep in mind that an HOA can also change the rules on you and you're still stuck with them.

Jrr85

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2017, 12:52:09 PM »
Do many single family homes have an HOA?

I'm starting to wonder if I should avoid an HOA when I buy a home next year.  I was set on a condo really until I started hearing more about the amounts people are paying in HOA fees in my area and the HOA boards.

Do you have a SFH and a have an HOA?  What does it cover?  Any issues with them?

Would it be wise to try 'not' to have one as a first time home buyer?

HOAs for neighborhoods tend not to carry the financial risks that HOAs for condos carry.  For condos, HOAs will usually be responsible for the lion's share of long term maintenance.  So if you have an HOA that is short sighted and doesn't keep an adequate reserve for things like roof and window replacements and potential issues like foundation repairs etc., you can end up with massive special assessments that not only hammer your pocket book but hammer the value of your condo as a reputation of not having adequate reserves issuing special assessments will hammer your resale value. 

For a neighborhood HOA, they are often not responsible for anything other than a pool and a clubhouse, and maybe an entry gate.  It will be jursidiction specific, but most places I'm familiar with the city/county/parish whatever retains responsibility for roads unless entry to the neighborhood is actually restricted.  So your risk with SFH HOAs is more that they are filled with busy bodies that make having a home their miserable. 

The one caveat would be that if you have a small subdivision, like a six house subdivision with a pool and some boat docks, that can get expensive quick.  You can also just have a small subdivision that is controlled by people with a lot of money and who commit the HOA to expensive projects that aren't spread out over enough houses to avoid hefty HOA fees. 

SwordGuy

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2017, 02:21:50 PM »
I have one (condo), but they're only strict about what goes on outside. I haven't found them to be overbearing.

I would ask neighbors about the HOA to see if they are pleased or not, before I committed to buying a place with an HOA.

You are only one El Supremo wanna-be on the HOA board away from a horrible experience.

Mr. Green

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2017, 02:24:13 PM »
Keep in mind that an HOA can also change the rules on you and you're still stuck with them.
Most require a large majority vote, like 75% of owners to change declarations. In larger neighborhoods it can be almost impossible to change anything because, between absentee owners (landlords) and people who may not agree, they just can't get the votes. Anyone buying a home in an HOA should read the covenants before buying so they know just what to expect.

FLBiker

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2017, 02:56:30 PM »
When we were looking for houses (NE Tampa, 6 years ago) HOAs were a deal-breaker.  By us, they tend to be VERY controlling.  Colleagues in (different) HOAs have been cited for length of grass (well within "acceptable" length), having their garage door open for too long, etc.  Plus, the ones near us mandate certain plants in your landscaping, etc., and we wanted to grow food.  We have found that city code enforcement is good enough, while allowing us plenty of latitude.  I could see paying HOA fees for access to stuff like a pool, etc, as long as they weren't too high and didn't come with draconian restrictions.

tralfamadorian

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2017, 05:31:36 PM »
HOAs for neighborhoods tend not to carry the financial risks that HOAs for condos carry. ..

But they can.  My dad's HOA just hit everyone in the 200+ house neighborhood with a 10k+ special assessment for losses and rebranding of their clubhouse.  And it's not a HCOL area; MCOL at most. 

OP, for a first time home buyer I would suggest looking for a house without a HOA or one where the dues are $5/mo to weed wack the neighborhood entrance sign.  Buying a home for the first time is consuming enough; you don't need to have to worry about sussing out whether the HOA is solvent, whether the board is fair and even-handed, whether the presence of a HOA is a drag on home prices and/or ability to sell the home as easily as those in surrounding areas...

EconDiva

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2017, 05:41:27 PM »
Keep in mind that an HOA can also change the rules on you and you're still stuck with them.

My biggest concern:

Can the HOA up the monthly fee?

Because I can't wrap my head around having an HOA starting at say $250 a month and be paying $350 a month 3 years later...is that possible?  I hate the thought of that being such a huge unknown.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2017, 05:44:45 PM by EconDiva »

seattlecyclone

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2017, 05:41:43 PM »
In my experience, single-family HOAs tend not to exist in neighborhoods that were originally built up before the middle of the 20th century. I'm not interested in living under one that does much nitpicking of the type mentioned here in this thread.

Whether you have an HOA or not your city will have some rules that everyone has to follow. These rules may or may be enforced strictly, just as HOA rules may or may not be enforced strictly. It's worth looking into this aspect before buying.

MayDay

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2017, 07:41:48 PM »
Keep in mind that an HOA can also change the rules on you and you're still stuck with them.

My biggest concern:

Can the HOA up the monthly fee?

Because I can't wrap my head around having an HOA starting at say $250 a month and be paying $350 a month 3 years later...is that possible?  I hate the thought of that being such a huge unknown.

For sure.

I was on our HOA board. We never needed to but all it took to increase dues was two of three board members voting for it.

Board members tends to be those with time on their hands. It's not always a great combo.

Dicey

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2017, 07:50:04 PM »
Keep in mind that an HOA can also change the rules on you and you're still stuck with them.

My biggest concern:

Can the HOA up the monthly fee?

Because I can't wrap my head around having an HOA starting at say $250 a month and be paying $350 a month 3 years later...is that possible?  I hate the thought of that being such a huge unknown.
Of course they can, and you should budget for it like clockwork. Assessments are based on expenses, which tend to rise over time. The best way to deal with an HOA is to get on the board, or attend meetings at the very least. It's good to know what's going on.

I was on a condo board that was slated to have all the roofs replaced. The extra assessment was going to be about 1.5 month's payment. I did not have that kind of ready cash, so I asked if all the roofs had to be replaced at once. The roofing company inspected and came back with a three-year plan, which eliminated the need for a special assessment, whew! The subsequent rounds were done better because the contractor figured out ways to streamline the process during the first round.

Mustachianism for the win!

The other part of your question. I've had up close and personal experience with four different HOA Boards. Two were good, one was godawful, and the current one drives me fucking nuts with their stupid-ass rules. However, the place has tons of amenities, looks great, and the reserves are well funded, so at least we get something for our money, even if they are a complete Pain In The Ass. So much so that an acronym just won't do.

OTOH, our primary home has no HOA and it's a million+ property. (High COLA, not a mansion.) There are two neighbors with total POS properties and the city won't do a damn thing about them.

egillespie

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2017, 04:21:15 AM »
HOAs are more common in newer communities that were built prior to municipal incorporation.

HOAs typically are not regulated as much as a municipal government, and while government has a well deserved bad reputation, an HOA can be much worse.  In my experience HOAs can easily choose to violate laws and the property owner has little options but a hefty lawsuit.

There is debate about whether HOAs actually increase property values.

I've lived in both.  I prefer to live in an area that doesn't need or want an HOA. 

Miss Piggy

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2017, 04:35:07 AM »
I would say it depends on your preferences.

Do you like to live in a place where it looks like most people care what their property looks like? If so, then you might be better of with an HOA that can at least pretend to enforce such a thing if necessary. I specifically moved to a neighborhood WITH an HOA because I wanted to get away from an area without one, where it felt (and in some cases, looked) more like a trailer park than a neighborhood of single-family homes and proud homeowners. Living next door to a guy who hadn't mowed his lawn in 15 years (no, that's not an exaggeration...it was a jungle) took its toll on me.

I totally get it that HOAs are not preferred by a whole lotta people out there, and the topic has been debated ad nauseum here on this forum. To each their own; I'll take my HOA.




Jrr85

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2017, 08:23:36 AM »
HOAs for neighborhoods tend not to carry the financial risks that HOAs for condos carry. ..

But they can.  My dad's HOA just hit everyone in the 200+ house neighborhood with a 10k+ special assessment for losses and rebranding of their clubhouse.  And it's not a HCOL area; MCOL at most. 

To have a $2M assessment like that in a non-condo though requires a lot more incompetence/malfeasance by the board.  A $2M assessment for say a high rise condo can be just not adequately funding the reserves. 

A $2M assessment in a 200+ house neighborhood requires that they have an amenity like a private golf club or that they be responsible for the maintenance of streets themselves.  Outside of something like that, 200+ HOA fees will finance and cash flow a lot. 

I guess alternatively the HOA could just be controlled by people who refuse for the HOA to carry debt, which that's probably not entirely a bad thing although it's hell on cash flow for the owners. 

tralfamadorian

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2017, 10:11:20 AM »
an amenity like a private golf club or that they be responsible for the maintenance of streets themselves...

Yep. This. 

I'm not trying to suggest that every neighborhood is going to have this happen but just as a cautionary tale for the OP that all HOAs carry risk.  Determining what that risk is and whether it is worth the benefit is up to the purchaser. 

GuitarStv

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2017, 10:12:42 AM »
Ugh.  Having spent time in my life renting in places with HOAs, I will never, EVER consider buying property controlled by one.

Scandium

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2017, 10:50:41 AM »
Why is the focus always on whether or not they control your grass lengths? Our HOA does plenty more, and I'd hesitate to move out of it. They maintain walking/bike paths (90 miles of it), playgrounds/tot-lots, fields and lakes. Paths are plowed and cleaned of fallen trees insanely fast, and for example bridges are always maintained. They also run several relatively cheap gyms, and many (cheap) community pools. For $1k/year I'd consider it a pretty good deal. In fact I'd say it allows some pretty mustachian living with all the things we can do with the kids for free/cheap around here.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2017, 11:09:44 AM »
Why is the focus always on whether or not they control your grass lengths? Our HOA does plenty more, and I'd hesitate to move out of it. They maintain walking/bike paths (90 miles of it), playgrounds/tot-lots, fields and lakes. Paths are plowed and cleaned of fallen trees insanely fast, and for example bridges are always maintained. They also run several relatively cheap gyms, and many (cheap) community pools. For $1k/year I'd consider it a pretty good deal. In fact I'd say it allows some pretty mustachian living with all the things we can do with the kids for free/cheap around here.

These are all things that the municipal government does around here, and they also don't care how often I cut the grass. I'll call that a win-win.

patchyfacialhair

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2017, 12:14:10 PM »
Why is the focus always on whether or not they control your grass lengths? Our HOA does plenty more, and I'd hesitate to move out of it. They maintain walking/bike paths (90 miles of it), playgrounds/tot-lots, fields and lakes. Paths are plowed and cleaned of fallen trees insanely fast, and for example bridges are always maintained. They also run several relatively cheap gyms, and many (cheap) community pools. For $1k/year I'd consider it a pretty good deal. In fact I'd say it allows some pretty mustachian living with all the things we can do with the kids for free/cheap around here.

These are all things that the municipal government does around here, and they also don't care how often I cut the grass. I'll call that a win-win.

Yup: we were originally under contract in a planned community that had all those things ($1500/yr). We backed out for other reasons, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The house we ended up purchasing just had a new regional park open with pool/splash park/premium turf fields 3/4 mile away. Also, gym became free at work. Also, my taxes are 1k less per year than the HOA house cause it's in an established neighborhood without the need for additional levies.

Scandium

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2017, 12:25:30 PM »
Why is the focus always on whether or not they control your grass lengths? Our HOA does plenty more, and I'd hesitate to move out of it. They maintain walking/bike paths (90 miles of it), playgrounds/tot-lots, fields and lakes. Paths are plowed and cleaned of fallen trees insanely fast, and for example bridges are always maintained. They also run several relatively cheap gyms, and many (cheap) community pools. For $1k/year I'd consider it a pretty good deal. In fact I'd say it allows some pretty mustachian living with all the things we can do with the kids for free/cheap around here.

These are all things that the municipal government does around here, and they also don't care how often I cut the grass. I'll call that a win-win.

Rarely cutting the grass I can say that neither does my HOA. Though I guess it's really a "community organization", or somesuch.

Pigeon

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #25 on: August 23, 2017, 04:47:39 AM »
If you want new construction, I don't think it is reasonable to find a house not in an HOA unless you are going with a custom build.  We shopped around for locations, builders and HOA rules.  Made it a bit more difficult to find the right spot for us.

$96/month covers a pool, clubhouse, neighborhood parks, clearing snow from the streets, trash, recycling.

People not in HOAs will also get letters from the city about cutting their grass and painting the exterior of their homes with the main difference being that you have more flexibility in the colors.  My brother-in-law just received a warning a couple months ago of fines from the city if they don't repaint the exterior of the house.  Sister in-law often received warnings from the city for not-mowing the lawn often enough.
This is regional. Most new single family homes where I live do not have HOAs.

Fomerly known as something

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2017, 04:03:17 PM »
It varies, I'm buying a SFH in an HOA on Friday the 25th.  HOA dues cover common landscaping, trash removal and snow removal (private roads in the winter in the upper midwest).  Dues are approximately $800 which seem to be not excessive IMHO.

They don't seem overly burdensome and the location of the neighborhood is a perfect fit for me so that was more important than being out of a HOA.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2017, 04:04:48 PM by neverrun »

MrSal

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2017, 04:26:36 PM »
That depends entirely on where you live.  Where I live there are very, very few single family homes with a HOA.  Where my sister lives, you can hardly buy one without an HOA.

Whether or not to buy with one is largely personal preference.  I wouldn't like it.  I've owned several houses in different suburban locations and have never had problems with owners letting things get run down.  I'm not horribly picky though, and don't care if the neighbor has some crabgrass.  Other people say if you don't have an HOA, every other house will have three rusting trucks and an old washing machine on the front porch. 

My sister loves her HOA.  I would last there ten minutes.  They can cite you for painting your interior walls the wrong color.

Thats ridiculous... one of the charms in Lisbon and what makes it known as the city of light/colors is due to the fact of so many colors the buildings/houses are painted ...

EconDiva

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #28 on: August 25, 2017, 10:55:48 AM »
If you want new construction, I don't think it is reasonable to find a house not in an HOA unless you are going with a custom build.  We shopped around for locations, builders and HOA rules.  Made it a bit more difficult to find the right spot for us.

$96/month covers a pool, clubhouse, neighborhood parks, clearing snow from the streets, trash, recycling.

People not in HOAs will also get letters from the city about cutting their grass and painting the exterior of their homes with the main difference being that you have more flexibility in the colors.  My brother-in-law just received a warning a couple months ago of fines from the city if they don't repaint the exterior of the house.  Sister in-law often received warnings from the city for not-mowing the lawn often enough.

I guess I'm just trying to consider how much less of a mortgage I can afford based on an HOA.  Right now my best friend is looking to buy a 130k 3/2 townhome in a decent but not the greatest (safest) side of town with an HOA of $250 a month (half the lot of the property/subdivision is undone as they never finished building when they started 10 years ago and is just lots of high grass). 

A condo for $165k in the city I just saw online yesterday that's a 2/2 has a $400 HOA. 

Whacking either $250 or $400 off my mortgage payment to allow for the HOA cost is a huge deal financially.  That's a lot less mortgage.  And that's assuming it doesn't go up 'much' during the duration of the time I'm still paying on the mortgage.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2017, 10:57:55 AM by EconDiva »

tralfamadorian

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #29 on: August 25, 2017, 03:15:42 PM »
130k 3/2 townhome in a decent but not the greatest (safest) side of town with an HOA of $250 a month..
...A condo for $165k in the city I just saw online yesterday that's a 2/2 has a $400 HOA... 

IMO those HOAs are ridiculous compared to the housing costs.  Run away!

FireHiker

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #30 on: August 25, 2017, 04:08:34 PM »
There is nothing within our school zone that isn't part of an HOA, so we're kind of stuck unless we move out of the area. Even the older, nearby neighborhood (next elementary school over) has an HOA, and many of those houses were built back in the 70's/80's. At least ours is pretty cheap at $85/mo (hasn't gone up in the 4.5 years we've lived here). They aren't too bad. They'll get on you about the grass length or leaving your trash can out front for a week, but not interior stuff. There are several HOA-sponsored community events throughout the year, including a Christmas light contest (we un-mustachianly won a consolation prize once), 4th of July carnival that's $5 for kids/free for adults (games, bouncies, some small rides), free fireworks (they charge $$$ at the next closest neighborhood but our HOA covers it for ours I guess), etc. There's a good splash park, a couple other HOA-maintained parks, common area maintenance.

Before I moved in with my now-husband I had a 2/1.5 condo with a monthly HOA of $300+, and didn't get much for it. They were SO badly managed. It didn't even include the extra $360/year for the community center with the pool, etc.

EconDiva

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #31 on: August 25, 2017, 09:06:25 PM »
130k 3/2 townhome in a decent but not the greatest (safest) side of town with an HOA of $250 a month..
...A condo for $165k in the city I just saw online yesterday that's a 2/2 has a $400 HOA... 

IMO those HOAs are ridiculous compared to the housing costs.  Run away!

And one of my close friends is AirBnB'ing a 2/2 loft-style condo in a not good area he bought for 100k and that HOA is 230/month.

So this not uncommon here.  And like I said adding on $200-$400 a month to my mortgage in HOA fees is a lot so I was wondering if I should look for a property without one.  I mean...what if the fee goes up from $200 to $300?  Or $400 to $500? 

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #32 on: August 25, 2017, 09:23:50 PM »
I'll chime in with this tidbit: I have several friends who are lawyers, and they constantly get calls from friends with HOAs.  Turns out, you remember that guy from grade school everyone picked on who didn't have the greatest social skills, and wasn't destined to be a leader, but managed to make it through?  Apparently he bought a house and learned that by walking door to door, his neighbors will give him power over the entire neighborhood...and he revels in this power.  It's the greatest power he'll ever have, and he rules with an iron fist.  Don't like it?  Fine, he'll gin up reasons to put a lien on your home. 

I've heard nightmare story after nightmare story after nightmare story.  Personally, I'll never own where there's an HOA for the legal/political reasons alone...

jo552006

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #33 on: August 25, 2017, 10:44:02 PM »
In short answer to your question, yest lots of homes have HOAs.  I will never buy one with an active HOA (my previous house had one, but there were no dues, and the entire neighborhood didn't care it technically existed).  The mere idea that other people (outside of the local municipality) could potentially tell me what to do with my property or money bothers me.  Especially when in the long term.

For a lot of people they are great, but in my experience those people are typically the ones who feel like they were going to do everything the HOA is doing anyway, and enforcing neighbors to do the same is merely a way of protecting their investment, or they like the amenities that an HOA provides.  (Biking trails being an example)

For me, I'd literally be listing my home the first time I was fined for not mowing my lawn because I was on a 2 week vacation.  Of course, I know myself and just wouldn't get into that situation.

JLee

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #34 on: September 19, 2017, 11:52:47 PM »
Why is the focus always on whether or not they control your grass lengths? Our HOA does plenty more, and I'd hesitate to move out of it. They maintain walking/bike paths (90 miles of it), playgrounds/tot-lots, fields and lakes. Paths are plowed and cleaned of fallen trees insanely fast, and for example bridges are always maintained. They also run several relatively cheap gyms, and many (cheap) community pools. For $1k/year I'd consider it a pretty good deal. In fact I'd say it allows some pretty mustachian living with all the things we can do with the kids for free/cheap around here.

These are all things that the municipal government does around here, and they also don't care how often I cut the grass. I'll call that a win-win.

Some municipalities do care how long your grass is. I paid a $165 fine because my friends renting my house didn't cut the lawn and didn't tell me about the repeated warnings that got sent to the house...

Laura33

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #35 on: September 20, 2017, 06:30:29 AM »
If you want new construction, I don't think it is reasonable to find a house not in an HOA unless you are going with a custom build.  We shopped around for locations, builders and HOA rules.  Made it a bit more difficult to find the right spot for us.

$96/month covers a pool, clubhouse, neighborhood parks, clearing snow from the streets, trash, recycling.

People not in HOAs will also get letters from the city about cutting their grass and painting the exterior of their homes with the main difference being that you have more flexibility in the colors.  My brother-in-law just received a warning a couple months ago of fines from the city if they don't repaint the exterior of the house.  Sister in-law often received warnings from the city for not-mowing the lawn often enough.

I guess I'm just trying to consider how much less of a mortgage I can afford based on an HOA.  Right now my best friend is looking to buy a 130k 3/2 townhome in a decent but not the greatest (safest) side of town with an HOA of $250 a month (half the lot of the property/subdivision is undone as they never finished building when they started 10 years ago and is just lots of high grass). 

A condo for $165k in the city I just saw online yesterday that's a 2/2 has a $400 HOA. 

Whacking either $250 or $400 off my mortgage payment to allow for the HOA cost is a huge deal financially.  That's a lot less mortgage.  And that's assuming it doesn't go up 'much' during the duration of the time I'm still paying on the mortgage.

Yes, the ultimate question is whether you can afford it, assuming they will go up over time.  But the good news is that you have a better sense going in what things cost.  Much of what a properly-run HOA covers is stuff that homeowners would otherwise have to pay for themselves -- exterior maintenance/replacement, landscaping, trash, sometimes water/sewer, etc.  HOAs are required by law to maintain a sufficient kitty to properly maintain whatever it is responsible for; many people who buy homes, OTOH, don't necessarily budget/save up for things like replacing the roof or repainting the outside, and then end up either deferring necessary maintenance or taking out loans to cover the costs.  The reality is that if you buy a home that isn't in an HOA, and the roof goes unexpectedly, that's on you, whereas if you're in a condo, your HOA fees should have already planned for that.  So in that regard, HOA fees represent good planning and forced savings (again, assuming a well-run HOA).  So basically, if the HOA fees are $400/mo, then a significant chunk of that figure should represent "what you should save anyway to cover long-term maintenance needs."  HOAs also cover the cost of various amenities -- pools, gyms, building security, etc.  That can be a pro or a con for you, depending on whether the amenities are things you would otherwise pay for (when I was in a condo with a gym, I definitely used that gym and saved on the costs of a membership somewhere else).

The thing is, an HOA is made up of your neighbors, so its priorities reflect the priorities of your neighbors.  If your neighbors are officious pricks, the HOA will be as well -- but then why would you want to live in that kind of neighborhood anyway?  And if your neighbors are not officious pricks but the HOA Board is, then vote them out!  Some HOAs are self-run, while others hire management companies; if you choose the former, your fees will be lower, but you are dependent on residents being willing to devote the time to manage the issues (and having the appropriate skill sets to do so -- sometimes you get what you pay for); if you choose the latter, your fees will be higher to cover those outsourced costs, but you can likely be more confident that it is professionally run.  It's just like living in any community; you trade some ability to do whatever you want for the benefits of living with and cooperating with your neighbors (which can be anywhere from "I want every house to look the same!" to "hey, we can get cheaper trash service if we do it together").

The things that I would look out for:  #1 is read the condo documents.  Know what you can/can't do, what the HOA can/can't do, and see if that fits with your priorities.  Check out the funding and the current budgets -- if they don't have sufficient reserves, you will very likely see either rising fees or special assessments.  Also watch out for HOAs that are still run by the developer -- the two HOAs that I have personal experience with ended up with special assessments and in litigation because of decisions the developer made while he still controlled the board.  For example, it seems to be pretty common for the developer to want to keep HOA fees low to make the building more attractive to buyers, but then when the owners take over after a few years, they discover that they don't have enough reserves for the maintenance that needs to be done, so they need to increase dues or impose a special assessment or both.  And never, ever buy into a condo that is in litigation -- that will suck fees for years (I am 2 for 3 in that regard).

Pigeon

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #36 on: September 20, 2017, 06:35:17 AM »
Why is the focus always on whether or not they control your grass lengths? Our HOA does plenty more, and I'd hesitate to move out of it. They maintain walking/bike paths (90 miles of it), playgrounds/tot-lots, fields and lakes. Paths are plowed and cleaned of fallen trees insanely fast, and for example bridges are always maintained. They also run several relatively cheap gyms, and many (cheap) community pools. For $1k/year I'd consider it a pretty good deal. In fact I'd say it allows some pretty mustachian living with all the things we can do with the kids for free/cheap around here.


These are all things that the municipal government does around here, and they also don't care how often I cut the grass. I'll call that a win-win.

Some municipalities do care how long your grass is. I paid a $165 fine because my friends renting my house didn't cut the lawn and didn't tell me about the repeated warnings that got sent to the house...

My guess is the point at which the municipality is going to care is very different than the point a HOA is going to get its panties in a twist.

JLee

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #37 on: September 20, 2017, 05:42:58 PM »
Why is the focus always on whether or not they control your grass lengths? Our HOA does plenty more, and I'd hesitate to move out of it. They maintain walking/bike paths (90 miles of it), playgrounds/tot-lots, fields and lakes. Paths are plowed and cleaned of fallen trees insanely fast, and for example bridges are always maintained. They also run several relatively cheap gyms, and many (cheap) community pools. For $1k/year I'd consider it a pretty good deal. In fact I'd say it allows some pretty mustachian living with all the things we can do with the kids for free/cheap around here.


These are all things that the municipal government does around here, and they also don't care how often I cut the grass. I'll call that a win-win.

Some municipalities do care how long your grass is. I paid a $165 fine because my friends renting my house didn't cut the lawn and didn't tell me about the repeated warnings that got sent to the house...

My guess is the point at which the municipality is going to care is very different than the point a HOA is going to get its panties in a twist.

Probably. The city will fine you if grass / vegetation is higher than six inches.

Cadman

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #38 on: September 20, 2017, 07:52:51 PM »
From both a financial and a peace of mind standpoint, it's a huge risk. Only you can decide if it's worth the gamble. Understand the current regulations of the neighborhood before buying, and realize the rules, leadership and fees can change in the future. Are you comfortable with that? Many people are.

Where I live, I can leave the garage door open for hours on end while working on a Saturday, park a car out front in the driveway overnight, plant any number and types of trees and flowers, and paint the house any color I like. No cable TV? Of course, I can put an OTA antenna up without being in violation. A clothesline? Sure. A garden shed and flag pole? Perfectly acceptable. None of these things are technically allowed in my friends' HOA developments, and all you need is one busy-body, or to piss off a neighbor with a little power, and you're SOL.

MMMWannaBe

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #39 on: September 20, 2017, 10:03:01 PM »
I do not know that you can find a one size fits all answers.  HOA's are so variable.  It is the price to be paid for planned communities that have amenities.  I currently live in a community with an HOA (and I am also on the Board - not because I want to be but because nobody is interested in the thankless position).  For $140/ year we have street lights and a maintained entrance.  It is a well run HOA and I appreciate that our planned community has sidewalks.  We have not raised the rates since the builders turned over the development to the HOA 13+ years ago.  That can all change; if we ever turn it over to a management company the rates will increase.

I personally do not see an HOA as a plus.  if an HOA exists for a property I like I would consider the costs, benefits, and risk.  I would not eliminate purchasing a property merely because it has an HOA.

former player

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #40 on: September 21, 2017, 02:02:13 AM »
This thread is giving me a whole new insight into the Land of the Free.

The racist associations would give me considerable pause before buying into an HOA, even apart from all the other issues.  Yes, I see that they've been technically resolved but the stench lingers.

farfromfire

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #41 on: September 21, 2017, 04:10:29 AM »
From both a financial and a peace of mind standpoint, it's a huge risk. Only you can decide if it's worth the gamble. Understand the current regulations of the neighborhood before buying, and realize the rules, leadership and fees can change in the future. Are you comfortable with that? Many people are.

Where I live, I can leave the garage door open for hours on end while working on a Saturday, park a car out front in the driveway overnight, plant any number and types of trees and flowers, and paint the house any color I like. No cable TV? Of course, I can put an OTA antenna up without being in violation. A clothesline? Sure. A garden shed and flag pole? Perfectly acceptable. None of these things are technically allowed in my friends' HOA developments, and all you need is one busy-body, or to piss off a neighbor with a little power, and you're SOL.
Any idea how much your friends pay for this luxury, and which specific benefits they get?

ETA +1 former player
« Last Edit: September 21, 2017, 04:22:33 AM by farfromfire »

boarder42

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #42 on: September 21, 2017, 05:31:22 AM »
most of your concerns can be answered by talking to the HOA before you buy a house there.  In my community our covenants prevent the board from raising dues faster than inflation but they can choose to not raise at inflation and it takes a 2/3rds majority of all voters to do a special assessment.  That means of total houses say 1k 667 have to vote for an assessment or we cant do it.  now we can ask again and again and again if we arent actually getting a majority of responses and decrease the number required each time but they are extremely hard to pass in my community. 

I'm on the board and we actually have a big problem with dues b/c they werent escalated at inflation many boards did not raise at inflation and we're paying for it now.  We have a lot to maintain including an active boating lake.  I moved into the community b/c the HOA dues were incredibly cheap compared to the other lake communities.  but you do get what you pay for and there are lots of maintenance issues arisiing that have to be pushed out years b/c of higher priority maint. issues. 

all that said we have incredible value in our HOA and we do make it work on the board.  our Dues are equivalent to all the non lake HOAs in the area and chaeper than many. 

boarder42

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #43 on: September 21, 2017, 05:35:54 AM »
From both a financial and a peace of mind standpoint, it's a huge risk. Only you can decide if it's worth the gamble. Understand the current regulations of the neighborhood before buying, and realize the rules, leadership and fees can change in the future. Are you comfortable with that? Many people are.

Where I live, I can leave the garage door open for hours on end while working on a Saturday, park a car out front in the driveway overnight, plant any number and types of trees and flowers, and paint the house any color I like. No cable TV? Of course, I can put an OTA antenna up without being in violation. A clothesline? Sure. A garden shed and flag pole? Perfectly acceptable. None of these things are technically allowed in my friends' HOA developments, and all you need is one busy-body, or to piss off a neighbor with a little power, and you're SOL.

you just need to know the rules and follow them, its an agreement you sign up for when you buy in an HOA.  ignorance of the law is no excuse.  HOA rules are similar to city ordinances,  and state laws and federal laws.  they exist b/c a group of people decided they should exist to improve what they perceive at greater well being you have a choice where you live from the country all the way down to the HOA. 

Cadman

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #44 on: September 23, 2017, 04:43:12 PM »
Quote
you just need to know the rules and follow them, its an agreement you sign up for when you buy in an HOA.  ignorance of the law is no excuse.  HOA rules are similar to city ordinances,  and state laws and federal laws.  they exist b/c a group of people decided they should exist to improve what they perceive at greater well being you have a choice where you live from the country all the way down to the HOA. 

Not only do you need to know the rules, you have to be okay with them changing on you, that was my point. But you've reminded me of a story, the kind of thing that gives HOAs a bad name.

In another group I'm in, this topic was discussed regarding antennas. A radio/ham enthusiast moved into a nice area knowing outside antennas were not allowed. The intent of the rule was to keep conventional TV antennas off roofs which made for a cluttered look. A few years later, this property owner installed a wire on the inside of his backyard fence running the perimeter, visible only from within his yard. The neighborhood do-gooder was snooping and didn't especially care for this fellow. She discovered it was "an antenna" and raised holy hell. He was fined, received legally prepared papers in his mailbox and had to remove this "antenna".

He pointed out that her house as well as half the houses in the development had satellite dishes on the back of their roofs, clearly visible from the ground and that this also violated the no-antenna policy. Unfortunately, the section on "antennas" was written before the advent of the small dish, and so didn't disqualify it by name. Go figure, there was no great enthusiasm to update the verbiage...people might have to take those dishes down you know.

lbmustache

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #45 on: September 23, 2017, 10:01:20 PM »
Quote
you just need to know the rules and follow them, its an agreement you sign up for when you buy in an HOA.  ignorance of the law is no excuse.  HOA rules are similar to city ordinances,  and state laws and federal laws.  they exist b/c a group of people decided they should exist to improve what they perceive at greater well being you have a choice where you live from the country all the way down to the HOA. 

She discovered it was "an antenna" and raised holy hell. He was fined, received legally prepared papers in his mailbox and had to remove this "antenna".


I'll chime in and say either his HOA is insane - or he refused to do what they asked. Typically the HOA (or at least, mine) will send a "warning" type of notice first, before resorting to fining, and ultimately attempting further legal action.

redbird

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #46 on: September 24, 2017, 12:08:15 AM »
Definitely depends on the area. In my area, the houses seem to be mostly built in the 1970s and older (not in an HOA) and built in the 2000s and newer (in an HOA). My house is part of an HOA. But I bought some land that's not part of an HOA so I can build a new house and not have to be part of that nonsense eventually.

My HOA isn't too bad though. It's only about $250 per year (to maintain the community pool, community walking paths, and to mow community areas) and they really only care that the front of your house and front yard looks nice. They don't seem to be that picky either, luckily. My main reasons for wanting to get out from under it are, well, the expense (even if really reasonable, not having to pay it would be nice) but also worries about inflation and the HOA cost going up over time. I can easily afford it, I just don't WANT to. :)

boarder42

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #47 on: September 25, 2017, 05:17:23 PM »
Quote
you just need to know the rules and follow them, its an agreement you sign up for when you buy in an HOA.  ignorance of the law is no excuse.  HOA rules are similar to city ordinances,  and state laws and federal laws.  they exist b/c a group of people decided they should exist to improve what they perceive at greater well being you have a choice where you live from the country all the way down to the HOA. 

Not only do you need to know the rules, you have to be okay with them changing on you, that was my point. But you've reminded me of a story, the kind of thing that gives HOAs a bad name.

In another group I'm in, this topic was discussed regarding antennas. A radio/ham enthusiast moved into a nice area knowing outside antennas were not allowed. The intent of the rule was to keep conventional TV antennas off roofs which made for a cluttered look. A few years later, this property owner installed a wire on the inside of his backyard fence running the perimeter, visible only from within his yard. The neighborhood do-gooder was snooping and didn't especially care for this fellow. She discovered it was "an antenna" and raised holy hell. He was fined, received legally prepared papers in his mailbox and had to remove this "antenna".

He pointed out that her house as well as half the houses in the development had satellite dishes on the back of their roofs, clearly visible from the ground and that this also violated the no-antenna policy. Unfortunately, the section on "antennas" was written before the advent of the small dish, and so didn't disqualify it by name. Go figure, there was no great enthusiasm to update the verbiage...people might have to take those dishes down you know.

This sounded like he knowingly violated a rule then told a neighbor about it who decided to report it. If it's illegal to kill someone and bury them in you back yard and you tell me about it should I report it or let it go unnoticed bc lots of my neighbors bury dogs in their back yards.

The person's act you describe is worse on many levels than the communities chosen action against him. It was an intentional deception of a know regulatuon

EconDiva

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #48 on: September 25, 2017, 05:53:51 PM »
Definitely depends on the area. In my area, the houses seem to be mostly built in the 1970s and older (not in an HOA) and built in the 2000s and newer (in an HOA). My house is part of an HOA. But I bought some land that's not part of an HOA so I can build a new house and not have to be part of that nonsense eventually.

My HOA isn't too bad though. It's only about $250 per year (to maintain the community pool, community walking paths, and to mow community areas) and they really only care that the front of your house and front yard looks nice. They don't seem to be that picky either, luckily. My main reasons for wanting to get out from under it are, well, the expense (even if really reasonable, not having to pay it would be nice) but also worries about inflation and the HOA cost going up over time. I can easily afford it, I just don't WANT to. :)

$250 a year...I could do that.

But $250+ a month....?  That's what made me start this thread....

Goldielocks

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Re: Dumb question...do many single family homes have an HOA?
« Reply #49 on: September 26, 2017, 01:31:43 AM »
Google is a marvelous thing.   

"There are over 351,000 homeowner associations in the United States. Collectively, this represents over 40 million households or 53% of the owner occupied households in the America. "


from https://www.hoa-usa.com/about  70.5 million homes (total) are owner occupied.  statista.com

Total owner occupied households in the USA:

60% of all homes are detached (whether rented or owner occupied), or just shy of 70 million homes in the USA are detached homes. 
(https://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/census/historic/units.html)

15 million detached homes are rented (http://www.nmhc.org/Content.aspx?id=4708) leaving 55 million detached homes owner occupied.
27 million multi family homes are owner-occupied (and up to 3 million of those are duplexes).
 
So, let's assume that ALL of the multi-family units are HOA's, leaving 13-16 million detached homes in HOAs, or 16% to 24% of detached homes are in HOAs in the USA.

wow.. that is a lot.  About 1 in 5 detached homes have an HOA in the USA.



Obviously, numbers from the internet, and not fact checked or even on the same years..