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Subject: Doing it again...
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Author Messages
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9862


12/27/2020 5:53 PM  
Well seems I am jumping back into the "HOA game". Just found a new place to call home. Decided to build in a subdivision with a HOA! The dues are still very low. It's at the beginning of the 2nd phase of building. So far only see a retaining pond for "common area". The other 2 areas. It's kind of odd set up on the 2nd common area. It's on the other developer's land. There is a fee to pay to join and then a yearly dues. Waiting to get a copy of the HOA documents.

So what do you all suggest I do "early" before HOA can stop me from doing it? LOL!

Former HOA President
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3670


12/27/2020 6:06 PM  
Build a shed in the backyard? Or a swimming pool and say you need it for therapy??
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9862


12/27/2020 6:22 PM  
Good ideas! Can never go wrong with building a shed in a HOA! A pool is even more of a plus! LOL!

Former HOA President
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3670


12/27/2020 6:35 PM  
you could also take a cue from your tenant back in the day and get your own emu- tell them you're training it for the next liberty mutual commercial (they don't need to know half of what you see of that bird is generated by CGI!)
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3602


12/27/2020 8:44 PM  
Melissa,

The pond is likely a "detention" pond used for stormwater management purposes.

Is it owned by the HOA or the county? In our area, detention ponds are county owned, unless inside a private loaded neighborhood (usually means a gated community). My current community has 17 detention ponds - they are private and expensive to maintain.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:17180


12/27/2020 11:14 PM  
fences, decks, sheds, pools, covered/screened porches, lighting (flood lights, driveway entrance, etc.)and gazebos are all good things to get approved by the builder. Say you need them to close the deal.

As you know, expect assessments to increase when the developer leaves (financial planning)
If the streets are narrow, expect parking restrictions.
Look at the PLAT to see what is planned common areas (will determine future assessments).
Find out who maintains storm water management (i.e. your pond - as this can be a big expense)

MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9862


12/28/2020 4:21 AM  
Thank you. My first developer owned/operated HOA. Good thing I've got a great resource to ask questions to!

One of the reasons I bought in this HOA is because there are no playgrounds or amenities. The common areas are most likely all going to be places for water retention/detention. I've seen a few of their other developments with similar set ups. My dogs love to play in water. There are other HOA's nearby that have all amenities.

I am still waiting on getting a copy of the CC&R's to view them. So far I know must plant a tree and approved for wood fencing. What sucks is they want to use pine straw for flower beds. I can hate that stuff as it is all over my current yard. So I do have a free source for that! LOL!

Former HOA President
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:17180


12/28/2020 5:08 AM  
When I was looking for our retirement home, we looked in a lot of developments that required pine straw (another name for pine needles).

I used pine needles in scouting as tinder for camp fires because they lit quickly and burned hot.

I refused to purchase in those developments that required the pine straw because I didn't want to surround my home with tinder.


But that's me.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1484


12/28/2020 6:13 AM  
I'd tell you the same thing that I tell anyone who is looking at an HOA or COA: start with "no" and look for reasons to change your mind to "yes".

Is there anything that this new community would give you that you could not have in your old one? If there is, write it down in black and white, hard dollars and facts. That should chase out any magical thinking. If there isn't, you're trying to solve a different problem that needs a different solution.

*Read* the governing docs and think of all the ways things can go wrong. Look for deal-breakers (eg. no rental restriction). Take a hard look at the financials, if you can see them.

How do you plan to unload this beast if things go wrong? What is the likely re-sale market?

There is always a risk in buying while the community is still under development. The builder could go bust. What's the developer's history? Worsening economics can result in significant changes to development plans: if it isn't there now, don't rely on it being there in the future. (A common procedure is to delay development of any amenities until the final phase. If things don't go according to plan, the early buyers can be left with open lots, no clubhouse or pool, and no realistic plans to move on from there.)
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10366


12/28/2020 7:58 AM  
Mel

Got some good advice from others. I would take a close look at the relationship/linkage between the current two phases and any future phases.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10366


12/28/2020 8:00 AM  
Mel

One of the main reasons I bought into my present HOA is we have no amenities and very little common area. Amenities cost and arguing about can kill an association.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:17180


12/28/2020 8:06 AM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 12/28/2020 8:00 AM
Mel

One of the main reasons I bought into my present HOA is we have no amenities and very little common area. Amenities cost and arguing about can kill an association.




Amen.


I purchased our retirement home in similar development:

No common area.
No amenities.
County Roads.
Public Utilities.
Purpose of Association, mainly architectural approvals (with specifics plainly spelled out in covenants).
Assessment amount set by covenants.

We have two entrance monuments that sit on easements (hence no landscaping done around them as it's private property).
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3602


12/28/2020 9:18 AM  
Another angle :-)

I really like our HOA - clubhouse, adult and kiddie pools, tennis and basketball courts, private roads, nice common area landscaping, tough covenants and by the book violation process, funded reserves, etc.

Not perfect, certainly, but nice.

Just wanted a casual reader to understand some HOAs with significant infrastructure are great! One simply needs to be willing to pay for the infrastructure.
AugustinD


Posts:4828


12/28/2020 9:37 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 12/28/2020 9:18 AM
Just wanted a casual reader to understand some HOAs with significant infrastructure are great! One simply needs to be willing to pay for the infrastructure.
I agree some HOAs with much infrastructure can be great. But the part I do not like is rolling the dice on a board who understands reserve planning and will, year-after-year, ignore the whining from members who do not understand why $2500k sits in the reserve fund (when the previous year's reserve study says $500k is needed at the current point in time) and yet the assessments are going up again.

Respectfully, here's my vote for buying only into HOAs with truly minimal common elements. Like under $500 per year of maintenance for same, with an end-of-life replacement cost under $10,000.
AugustinD


Posts:4828


12/28/2020 9:38 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 12/28/2020 9:37 AM
who do not understand why $2500k sits in the reserve fund
Typ-o. Make that $250k.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3602


12/28/2020 9:49 AM  
Augustin,

Certainly agree wrt adequate reserves - that is a management issue - and, a shared failure in the case of inadequate reserves.

One of the major real world consistencies throughout thousands of COA/POA/HOA threads I have read is the absolute need for a professional reserve study - and the near requirement to follow 95% of content of the study.
AugustinD


Posts:4828


12/28/2020 9:58 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 12/28/2020 9:49 AM

One of the major real world consistencies throughout thousands of COA/POA/HOA threads I have read is the absolute need for a professional reserve study - and the near requirement to follow 95% of content of the study.
Agreed: Once every three years for HOAs with buildings and infrastructure over 15 years old. (Five years between reserve studies is too long for older HOAs/condos in my opinion.) A requirement to be within 25% of the recommended reserve amount each year seems fair to me. Any Board not liking that requirement can, without too much difficulty, work with the reserve study analysts to tweak things some. I expect the analysts will make reasonable arguments if what the Board wants is too inconsistent with reality when it comes to costs of replacement and life expectancies of major reserve components.

In a perfect HOA/condo world.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9862


12/28/2020 3:22 PM  
I just now got the HOA documents. Going to read them shortly. Just wanted to comment about the pine straw. My former HOA many people used mulch. It was next to their homes. Which attracted termites. Those termites then moved into the homes. Supposedly if you use pine materials termites don't like it. So the use of pine straw is popular for pest control measures.

So far the documents are missing some fill in dates and clearly done by developer. The good news is I do see the filed dates/locations on them. So know they are filed.

Former HOA President
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9862


12/28/2020 4:29 PM  
TimT6 when you buy you join. Simple as that. I know what I am getting into. Knew to request a copy which was given to me without needing to look them up or go to the courthouse. It's all developer controlled right now. If I play my cards right I may see if can join the board if available. That way I can join in the decision making process instead of having it put upon me. Of course, it's developer owned now but once turned over to the owners can be instrumental to making necessary changes. Been there and done that.

So I do plan on getting involved but with eyes open and educated. The HOA so far has no amenities. Just common area to deal with rain water. It also is there for "appearances" reasons which I have no problems with.

My real concern is that noticed the road is a bit narrow. Forgot how awful that is to deal with. It's in the county so they can do it that way. I did buy the lot that is right before a traffic island. You have to make a 3 point turn to turn around.

So if you don't like a HOA then by all means do not buy in one and become a member. Now a days good luck in finding new developments that don't have one. My current house doesn't and it's not always that green on this side of the street either. Just ask the few neighbors whom had what looks like constant yard sales all over their front yards...

Former HOA President
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:4242


12/29/2020 1:51 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 12/28/2020 9:49 AM
Augustin,

Certainly agree wrt adequate reserves - that is a management issue - and, a shared failure in the case of inadequate reserves.

One of the major real world consistencies throughout thousands of COA/POA/HOA threads I have read is the absolute need for a professional reserve study - and the near requirement to follow 95% of content of the study.

Would be nice if that was legally required for HOAs in Florida. Unfortunately, it's not. That reduces any clout individual homeowners have to show the wisdom and need of a Reserve Stury to their Board if the Board doesn't want to see it (e.g. toesn't want to pay for a Reserve Study).
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:4242


12/29/2020 3:37 PM  
Mulch does noe attract termites. They will eat it if they discover it, but the mulch itself does not "attract" them like bait.
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