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Subject: What to Look for When Buying into an HOA/COA
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Author Messages
BancsS
(Iowa)

Posts:100


10/01/2021 4:37 PM  
As Augie suggested, I am starting a new thread. I will begin with what I am looking for in an HOA. A stand alone or a side by side townhome is what I am looking for in the type of home. I am not interested in many amenities. No pools, lakes, ponds, parks, social activities, or an HOA/COA that is responsible for utilities of any kind, or road maintenance. What I am looking for is snow removal and lawn maintenance. I think I can tolerate a townhome that provides those services as long as the garages are in the middle of the two sides. A fence dividing the two areas in the back yard is a must have.

My personal experience in my current HOA shapes my opinion. I believe the least amount of amenities, the chance of conflicts are diminished. I would like to see an HOA board that maintains the common areas period. The looks of a neighborhood is important to me of course but I am pretty tolerant of neighbors who love to adorn their yards with multiple statues, flags, blow ups, or whatever floats their boat. I would find confederate flags, swastikas, and vulgar political signs distasteful but I chalk those things up to free speech. Board members who canvass a neighborhood looking for violations troubles me. Fining homeowners for violations troubles me. If it's a safety issue, that is another matter. But I would let law enforcement handle those issues. I have been fortunate in my life to live in areas where the neighbors were considerate of each other. One of my previous neighbors was a hoarder of sorts and their yard was pretty junky but it didn't deter buyers as the house sold in a few days. They were super nice people and had trouble keeping up with the yard.

I believe it was JohnC46 who mentioned that the front yards in his HOA are restricted by some written rules/covenants but the backyards are whatever the homeowner wants to do with it or in it. I see that as the best of both worlds. Something like that appeals to me.

I have time to look and see what the housing market does in the next a year or so. My home sold in a day for $5,000 over asking price. Now its a mad dash to pack and move on to another life adventure.
AugustinD


Posts:1905


10/01/2021 4:50 PM  
Posted By BancsS on 10/01/2021 4:37 PM ...
I would find confederate flags, swastikas, and vulgar political signs distasteful but I chalk those things up to free speech.
Minimal or even no common elements will be important to me as well.

As for swastikas, I would be submitting a fair housing complaint.

I am not sure where HUD is with confederate flags at this point, especially if the only sign that the owner is a jerk is the flag.

I think it's almost guaranteed that I will not be happy with most boards. There's a number of people here who I think are or were great directors. But the newbie directors who post here almost always scare the hell out of me. If everything else looks good except the board, I have to be ready to accept 'good enough, because I sure as heck do not want to do all the work.'
BancsS
(Iowa)

Posts:100


10/01/2021 5:20 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 10/01/2021 4:50 PM
Posted By BancsS on 10/01/2021 4:37 PM
...

As for swastikas, I would be submitting a fair housing complaint.

I am not sure where HUD is with confederate flags at this point, especially if the only sign that the owner is a jerk is the flag. these thin

Augie, I didn't realize these were or might be subject to fair housing laws. Of course these things are terribly offensive. Poor choice of examples on my part. I would not be as tolerant as it sounded. I live in an area where some confederate flags appear on vehicles and vulgar political signs appear in yards. But swastikas, no. Even rednecks have some constraints on their behavior. My point was that I have tolerance for less than perfect looking lawns and am tolerant of peoples' political views even if I find them distasteful.

TimB4
(Tennessee)

Posts:17841


10/01/2021 5:33 PM  
Bancs,

My suggestion is to read the governing documents prior to finalizing purchasing. If a sales contract doesn't provide it, put it in as a contingency. This way, you will know what is and isn't provided.

I would also suggest that you insist on a review of the financial statement and the past 6 board meeting minutes. This will allow you to determine where the Association is financially and what they are currently thinking (or issues they are dealing with). Again, make your review and acceptance a condition of the sale.

I would suggest requesting 3-5 days to review the documents once received.


Congrats on the sale of your home.
Good luck in finding the home you desire.

Tim
BancsS
(Iowa)

Posts:100


10/01/2021 5:39 PM  
Posted By TimB4 on 10/01/2021 5:33 PM
Bancs,

My suggestion is to read the governing documents prior to finalizing purchasing. If a sales contract doesn't provide it, put it in as a contingency. This way, you will know what is and isn't provided.

I would also suggest that you insist on a review of the financial statement and the past 6 board meeting minutes. This will allow you to determine where the Association is financially and what they are currently thinking (or issues they are dealing with). Again, make your review and acceptance a condition of the sale.

I would suggest requesting 3-5 days to review the documents once received.


Congrats on the sale of your home.
Good luck in finding the home you desire.

Tim



Good advice Tim. Thank you for your input.
AugustinD


Posts:1905


10/01/2021 5:40 PM  
Posted By BancsS on 10/01/2021 5:20 PM
Augie, I didn't realize these were or might be subject to fair housing laws. Of course these things are terribly offensive. Poor choice of examples on my part. I would not be as tolerant as it sounded. I live in an area where some confederate flags appear on vehicles and vulgar political signs appear in yards. But swastikas, no. Even rednecks have some constraints on their behavior. My point was that I have tolerance for less than perfect looking lawns and am tolerant of peoples' political views even if I find them distasteful.
FWIW, it's the 'hostile environment' aspect of Fair Housing law that may result in swastikas on display being the subject of a viable Fair Housing complaint.

I looked up the ten most (liberal or conservative; pick your preference) cities in the state where I am moving and headed to one of them. I too can cope with the lawn signs, as long as I can pick and choose with whom I hang out.

I think you and I are packing at the same time. The key for me each day is a short list of what I am going to pack that day. Then go bike ride and drop some things off at the thrift store.
AugustinD


Posts:1905


10/01/2021 5:43 PM  
Posted By TimB4 on 10/01/2021 5:33 PM
I would also suggest that you insist on a review of the financial statement and the past 6 board meeting minutes. This will allow you to determine where the Association is financially and what they are currently thinking (or issues they are dealing with). Again, make your review and acceptance a condition of the sale.

I would suggest requesting 3-5 days to review the documents once received.
Simply making the above review a condition of the sale never occurred to me. Great suggestion. Because I want those recent Minutes. Plus I want a half hour to review the most recent reserve study.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1594


10/01/2021 6:27 PM  
I've handled escrows for the past 13 years and never been asked for any HOA docs of a purchaser when they signed a purchase agreement. I've never been asked to provide documents from a seller to give to a person that had just signed a purchase contract. Once the purchaser was selected, the documents are provided in escrow.

A year after I moved into a HOA, I built a website for the community which provided all the documents, agendas, minutes, financials, reserve studies, annual reviews, governing documents, budgets and annual disclosures. This was gone with full blessing of the board. The PM, not the board, tried to sue me. Guess they thought I was infringing upon their revenue stream. But, people who might be considering buying into that community had a leg up on most any other community.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4284


10/01/2021 6:45 PM  
It won't always be possible, but I would try to have a sit down with the seller. You can ask questions about the house, the neighbors (at least the ones living next door and across the street) and the association.

We know there are homeowners who have no clue whatsoever as to what's going on in the association, some who are very involved, some who are troublemakers and do stupid things because that's how they are, others who've fought and fought with the association for all sorts of reasons and are getting the hell out and everyone else.

I'd be worried about the ones who don't have a clue because something may be brewing that you need to know about - that applies to the house AND the association! You don't want to be the target of people who still have beef with the departing asshole - or the board, whose welcome message may be to get rid of whatever the former neighbors out in and refuse to bring into compliance (and both sides insist they're right, putting you in the middle).

People (including you) aren't perfect, but if you ask open ended questions and listen carefully, you may pick up a vibe the warrants a little more investigation. That's why a walk around the neighborhood is useful - do people seem friendly and the houses look like they're well cared for? Try to visit at different times of the day and week to get a good sense of what you may be walking into.

By the way as far as the Confederate flag and swastikas go, I know I wouldn't be amused by that because I'm African-American. Some of you may have seen the articles about the black family in Virginia beach who've had to put up with the neighbor from Hellboy thinks it's funny or something to point a sound system at their house to play racist music and the N-word constantly along with a motion activated system that plays monkey sounds every time someone comes in or out of the house. Incredibly, the cops say they can't interfere (free speech), but then again, Virginia beach has its history of not being nice to people of color.

So for me, I want neighbors who I can respect and vice versa - we don't have to agree on everything, but as long as I don't let my dog poop on your yard or let the grass on my lawn grow up to my nose, leave me the hell alone.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:1104


10/01/2021 7:15 PM  
There is an easy solution to most problems: read the CC&Rs before you buy. It is better to buy into an HOA that has rules that you agree with (or at least can live with) rather than hope you have a board that will enforce only the rules that you like.
AugustinD


Posts:1905


10/01/2021 8:31 PM  
Posted By SheliaH on 10/01/2021 6:45 PM
Some of you may have seen the articles about the black family in Virginia beach who've had to put up with the neighbor from Hellboy thinks it's funny or something to point a sound system at their house to play racist music and the N-word constantly along with a motion activated system that plays monkey sounds every time someone comes in or out of the house. Incredibly, the cops say they can't interfere (free speech), but then again, Virginia beach has its history of not being nice to people of color.
The cops said the neighbor's actions do not rise to a criminal offense. One report:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/sep/30/virginia-beach-family-neighbor-racial-slurs-police

Statement from the police department:
The VBPD has responded to several calls for service over the past several months related to nuisance/loud music complaints on Jessamine Court. As appalling and offensive as the neighbors' behaviors are, the city attorney and Virginia magistrates have separately determined that the actions reported thus far did not rise to a level that Virginia law defines as criminal behavior. This means the VBPD has had no authority to intervene and warrants were not supported. We will closely monitor the situation, investigate complaints and, within the limits of the law, help this family with this most unpleasant situation.

Of course I think HUD would have a lot to say about this. The family should submit a Fair Housing complaint. This moron is causing a hostile environment resulting in the family not being able to enjoy its housing and so driving them out of the home.
TimB4
(Tennessee)

Posts:17841


10/01/2021 8:39 PM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 10/01/2021 6:27 PM
I've handled escrows for the past 13 years and never been asked for any HOA docs of a purchaser when they signed a purchase agreement. I've never been asked to provide documents from a seller to give to a person that had just signed a purchase contract. Once the purchaser was selected, the documents are provided in escrow.




It varies by State. Virginia actually requires everything I mentioned to be provided as a condition of sale and, by statute, the buyer has time to review and withdraw the offer with zero penalty.

See: § 55.1-1808. Contract disclosure statement; right of cancellation
and
§ 55.1-1809. Contents of association disclosure packet; delivery of packet. for more info.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1594


10/01/2021 8:50 PM  
Posted By TimB4 on 10/01/2021 8:39 PM
Posted By MaxB4 on 10/01/2021 6:27 PM
I've handled escrows for the past 13 years and never been asked for any HOA docs of a purchaser when they signed a purchase agreement. I've never been asked to provide documents from a seller to give to a person that had just signed a purchase contract. Once the purchaser was selected, the documents are provided in escrow.




It varies by State. Virginia actually requires everything I mentioned to be provided as a condition of sale and, by statute, the buyer has time to review and withdraw the offer with zero penalty.

See: § 55.1-1808. Contract disclosure statement; right of cancellation
and
§ 55.1-1809. Contents of association disclosure packet; delivery of packet. for more info.



This type of information would be provided at time of time, which may be the same thing you process goes through.
BancsS
(Iowa)

Posts:100


10/02/2021 5:45 AM  
Posted By SheliaH on 10/01/2021 6:45 PM


So for me, I want neighbors who I can respect and vice versa - we don't have to agree on everything, but as long as I don't let my dog poop on your yard or let the grass on my lawn grow up to my nose, leave me the hell alone.




Shelia,

Said way better than I said. I should clarify. My tolerance only goes so far. One or two homes in a neighborhood with unkempt lawns and distasteful lawn displays do not alarm me. Any more than that, I will give a thumbs down.

I am moving back to a small city in the Midwest that I previously lived in for 20 years to be closer to family. Certainly some things have changed since I left 13 years ago, but I am pretty familiar with the neighborhoods with the exception of the newer developments. Most neighborhoods are not governed by an HOA but this seems to be changing as the new developments all are governed by an HOA.

Time is on my side. I can take my time to investigate the parameters of these new developments which is what I am leaning towards. Thanks to this site, I am armed with some great information.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2588


10/02/2021 5:57 AM  
Re: free speech in HOAs/COAs

"Free speech" means the *government* can't prosecute people for what they say. There is very limited free speech protection on private property, which is what HOAs/COAs are.

As others have noted, community associations may regulate what kinds of signage and other displays people may put up, both on the common elements and even on people's own lots. As always with this stuff, the rules can be ambiguous.

In general, things that can result in Fair Housing complaints should be regulated (eg. swastikas). Regardless of one's personal opinions on this stuff, a complaint can result in significant legal expense for the association which will be passed on to homeowners. A complaint also can attract media notice and lead to conflict between neighbors. This does nobody any good.

On the other hand, a certain amount of political speech may be protected (such as displaying campaign signs). However, the community may have restrictions on signage (condos in particular do since everything outside is common area, and all owners have an undivided ownership interest in these areas).

Communities must allow the display of the American flag, service flags, and the like. The association may make reasonable limits on sizes, numbers, and placement.

One thing I've noticed is that signage, decorative flags, and other kinds of "personalization" tend to metastasize until the community looks junky and down market, not to put too fine a point on it. If you look at model homes in new communities, you won't see any of that junk, and there is a good reason: the developer wants to get top dollar for the homes he's selling, and "stuff" is a turnoff for the average buyer. Another reason to avoid "stuff" is that almost everything has been politicized to the point of insanity now, and it does nothing to promote neighborliness or other nice traditional values. Just the opposite, in fact.



CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2588


10/02/2021 6:57 AM  
I divide a home search into two phases, Vetting and Getting Serious.

The Vetting stage:

* Think about whether you're looking for re-sale or new construction. If the latter, do some research on developers in your area and stick to the ones with good reputations and happy customers.

* Start reading the CC&Rs and other legal agreements (usually available on the county recorder's website) and eliminate the communities with deal breakers or vague/ambiguous provisions. The latter can result in poor enforcement and/or continuous squabbling.

* Deal breakers for me include amenities, especially pools or "attractive nuisances", and other potentially expensive or hazardous maintenance items such as ponds. I'm going for the minimalist look. I also don't want neighbors above or below me, which eliminates many condos. I'd also eliminate communities over a certain age, especially with condos since it can be hard for outsiders to get a true picture of its physical condition.

* An absolute must-have for me: a strict, unambiguous rental restriction with a clear prohibition on short-term "rentals". This is more important for condos since these communities attract investors, and they can ruin a community. Owner-occupants and investors have differing interests, period - and I think people are generally happier in communities where they're more like their neighbors than not.

* For those communities that get past these things, I'd visit them and seeing what kind of condition they're in. For communities that are no longer under development, you can probably get a feel for how well the common area is being maintained, whether or not restrictions are being enforced, and even a sense of "neighborliness" if you visit when people are normally out walking dogs and the like. Visiting can also give you a feel for what it is like to live there. Eliminate or at least put a question mark next to the ones where you see issues. Communities under development automatically stay on the list unless there is a big chunk of undeveloped land right next to it, in which case they get a question mark.

The Getting Serious stage:

* This will depend in part on the housing market in your area. Right now resales in my area are being snapped up overnight and selling for well over asking prices, which likely means an unwise financial decision since buyers won't have time to do the necessary financial evaluation of the community. If this describes your area, I'd recommend holding off unless you happen to find a screaming deal that is worth the financial/legal risk you'll take. Or limit yourself to new construction (which has its own risks but these can be planned for).

* Sticking with new construction will make financial evaluations easier. It also can make it easier for you to get elected to the board while the community's direction is still being set. It's much better to start off right than it is to have to change course after s series of financial missteps.

Things to Remember:

* Fast decisions tend to be unwise decisions, which is why my vetting stage takes the most time and why I don't want to like in a hot housing market.

* Communities change, and individuals' housing needs change. Don't assume you will live in your new home until they carry you out feet first.

* Condo communities generally have more turnover in the membership and can change "personality" more quickly than an HOA with single family homes.

* If you're older, a 55+ community may be attractive. However, there are a number of legal hoops the community must jump through to maintain that status, which will put more demands on the board and the community manager - you'll have less wiggle room to elect/hire mediocre people.

AugustinD


Posts:1905


10/02/2021 7:36 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 10/02/2021 6:57 AM
* An absolute must-have for me: a strict, unambiguous rental restriction with a clear prohibition on short-term "rentals". This is more important for condos since these communities attract investors, and they can ruin a community. Owner-occupants and investors have differing interests, period - and I think people are generally happier in communities where they're more like their neighbors than not.
Good one.

If I end up favoring a townhome over a stand alone house, I do wonder whether any of the townhome communities will be up to snuff. Will I have to settle for certain things about the community that I know are huge red flags, because I might become more resistant to wanting a stand alone house?

Understood about not rushing. The hot housing market is particularly troubling. I am glad I lived through a similar market a few times now in my life and witnessed the insanity.

If I do not buy property, I know renting is not such a bad deal financially. The catch for me is that I want a garage, and this (1) will cost more; and (2) this limits my rental choices.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2588


10/02/2021 9:00 AM  
I've actually been thinking about this a lot.

Once a person gets to a certain age, they can develop physical limitations and this can happen unexpectedly and overnight. It can limit the type of housing they want: single floor, accessible features, probably an attached garage for the remaining years they'll still be driving, and no outside work beyond maybe planting a few flowers in pots on a patio. This in turn means either renting, owning in a condo/townhome community, or owning a single family home and hiring their own contractors to handle the exterior maintenance.

Choices are limited, are often constrained by money and location, and I hear you about possibly having to accept red flags because the other options are worse.

I've said in the past that if I have to live around a bunch of tenants, then I want the benefits of being one myself. What I do not want is the downside of living around transients along with the obligations of home ownership.

I was thinking earlier about the business of landlords vs. owner-occupants. I think when the laws governing HOAs/COAs were developed, lawmakers envisioned owner-occupants in the homes - landlords were an afterthought at best, and sort of snuck their way into the conversation because being able to rent out your property is traditionally a right of homeowners from the pre-HOA days.

Nobody has thought much about whether or not being a landlord is compatible with our notions of owning in a community association.

Issues don't come up unless the percentage of landlords goes beyond a certain number, at which point there can be problems (increasing violations, loss of FHA or other mortgage opportunities, neighbor-to-neighbor conflicts, inability to fill board positions, inability to make quorum at annual meetings, etc.). The problem becomes much more obvious in condo communities where this sort of thing happens more often, and it can go as far as a group of investors gaining control of the association and turning the entire project into rental property, as happened in Florida during The Great Recession.

Right now condo communities are more at risk, but I've heard talk that investors are starting to target single family home HOAs as well.

The interests of people who treat their property as an investment do not coincide with those who live in their property. This becomes more obvious when the two groups are legal and financial partners.

I go back to the notion of an HOA/COA as a corporation/business. If all of the owners are able to act in their own interests (true in HOAs/COAs) and act in ways that are detrimental to the well being of the business, how long will that business be able to function? In small for-profit businesses, a problematic partner is often bought out by the remaining partners, but that can't happen in an HOA.

I fear if this issue becomes obvious enough to get lawmakers' attention, they'll opt for preserving the rights of individual owners over the well being of community associations. But I have to wonder about how many handicaps you can pile onto community associations before they simply cease to function as designed.

Questions I got, answers I don't got.




JeffT2
(Iowa)

Posts:637


10/02/2021 10:32 AM  
Iowa does not have HOA laws, other than real estate covenants and the non-profit law. As you know from your previous home, covenants expire after 21 years, except for the sharing of common expenses. I would check on the status of the covenants to see if they have been renewed.

Other suggestions:

Read the protections in the CC&Rs, which are more important since there are few laws to back it up. I think you have some experience trying to get documents from your previous association.

Check on the current status of the corporation (if any) on the SOS website. A corporation also gives you protections.

Talk to the board before the sale.

Many townhouses (and even some separate houses) are condominiums, which do not expire. Condominiums usually have more structure and a few protections, such as open board meetings, kinda.

You're really giving up the lake? Make sure they allow dog(s).
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4284


10/02/2021 10:35 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 10/01/2021 8:31 PM
Posted By SheliaH on 10/01/2021 6:45 PM
Some of you may have seen the articles about the black family in Virginia beach who've had to put up with the neighbor from Hellboy thinks it's funny or something to point a sound system at their house to play racist music and the N-word constantly along with a motion activated system that plays monkey sounds every time someone comes in or out of the house. Incredibly, the cops say they can't interfere (free speech), but then again, Virginia beach has its history of not being nice to people of color.
The cops said the neighbor's actions do not rise to a criminal offense. One report:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/sep/30/virginia-beach-family-neighbor-racial-slurs-police

Statement from the police department:
The VBPD has responded to several calls for service over the past several months related to nuisance/loud music complaints on Jessamine Court. As appalling and offensive as the neighbors' behaviors are, the city attorney and Virginia magistrates have separately determined that the actions reported thus far did not rise to a level that Virginia law defines as criminal behavior. This means the VBPD has had no authority to intervene and warrants were not supported. We will closely monitor the situation, investigate complaints and, within the limits of the law, help this family with this most unpleasant situation.

Of course I think HUD would have a lot to say about this. The family should submit a Fair Housing complaint. This moron is causing a hostile environment resulting in the family not being able to enjoy its housing and so driving them out of the home.





it figures the police would say that. I wonder what the response would be If the situation were reversed - and sadly, I'm pretty sure I know (and so do you).

I agree legal action by Someone is warranted at this point. I don't know how HUD would respond or how quickly, but as someone said on another website, there should be an attorney out there somewhere who'd help this family sue the hell out of this asshat. Maybe the neighbors could join in - I recall reading about one who recorded the racket and posted it on Facebook with the family's blessing. The guys address has already been published, so it'll be interesting to see how the other show drops.

Which brings us back to the subject at hand and why I think it's really useful to walk around and talk up the neighbors. There may not be a situation like this, but perhaps you can get a glimpse of how people address issues with their neighbors. Some want the HOA board to do everything, while others have a knack for trading tit for tat - and we know how that can escalate. A few actually behave like the adults they are - hopefully that's the majority.

For the board's part I would want to see one that encourages people to try and work out disputes like adults and make it clear what they will and will not address. This also leads into how CCR violations are handled. Ask the neighbors how that works. Is the board trying to be consistent and fair - or does there seem to be certain people who nitpick over every damned thing?

BancsS
(Iowa)

Posts:100


10/02/2021 10:48 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 10/02/2021 7:36 AM
Posted By CathyA3 on 10/02/2021 6:57 AM
*

If I do not buy property, I know renting is not such a bad deal financially. The catch for me is that I want a garage, and this (1) will cost more; and (2) this limits my rental choices.







I am renting a duplex with an attached garage that may end up being a more permanent arrangement than buying another house or townhouse. My husband has developed some health problems and just recently got Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever from a tick bite. Of all the weird things! It's pretty rare to get in Iowa. Not knowing what it was, he let it go too long and is now suffering from long term affects. One of them being difficulty lifting his arms and some mobility issues from hip and leg pain. This is the main reason for moving not to mention the hot sellers' market right now. I am particularly excited about the lawn care and snow removal that comes with the duplex. I have a mild heart condition so I would prefer not to take over those tasks. The garages are in the middle of the two sides and there is a fence dividing the backyards. But...hubby is not excited about renting so time will tell.

CathyA3 mentioned that lawn decor can become problematic for developers who want to keep things uncluttered to sell their properties. I understand that but I love the Fall decor that is popping up this time of year. I see many attractive porches decorated with Fall mums, pumpkins, and other Fall related stuff. My neighbor just put up several Halloween blow ups that light up at night. I also love Christmas decorations and lights. It gives a neighborhood some character and an annual event at our house is to drive around and look at the lights. Some neighborhoods really get into it.

Of course there are those who over do it and the decor can look tacky. I have 3 mums and 1 small Fall mini flag in my front yard. I hope to find an HOA that doesn't limit those things too much. I love them!

HOA or not, I am blessed to have choices and am armed with a lot of knowledge, and I can hopefully make a good decision for me and my family.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4284


10/02/2021 10:49 AM  
Cathy has some great suggestions! To her point on the developer, I think I'd have to add asking the developer when the community will be turned over to the homeowners and what's being done to prepare for that. Anything can affect the first question, but the answer to the second is what would play a larger role in my decision.

Ideally, there would be training for the soon to be new board members and an initial reserve study. If there's already an interim board, I'd So THEM about training (did they take advantage?). Are the homeowners being informed regularly? You can't be responsible for how they feel, but to make sure complete and accurate information is available. I'd also want to see if the assessment has be set at a realistic level from the start so I forgave to worry about a 50% or higher increase the month after the homeowners took over.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2588


10/02/2021 11:34 AM  
Quote:

"CathyA3 mentioned that lawn decor can become problematic for developers who want to keep things uncluttered to sell their properties. I understand that but I love the Fall decor that is popping up this time of year. I see many attractive porches decorated with Fall mums, pumpkins, and other Fall related stuff. My neighbor just put up several Halloween blow ups that light up at night. I also love Christmas decorations and lights. It gives a neighborhood some character and an annual event at our house is to drive around and look at the lights. Some neighborhoods really get into it. "

Oh, I enjoy the decorations, too - and for Halloween, I say the tackier the better. :-)

The issue that associations run into is that they can't regulate taste, and for every display involving a few mums and pumpkins you'll get the ones with plastic junk that lights up and blinks. So the association has to put reasonable limits on all of it.

Condos as usual can make more rules because everything outside is common elements, and many condo CC&Rs require approval for any exterior modifications. Reasonable rules can include prohibiting any decorations that penetrate surfaces with nails and the like, as well as time limitations (no Christmas decorations still on display at Easter) and where the decorations can be placed since they can interfere with the landscaping crew's ability to do their jobs. I've also seen rules prohibiting inflatable stuff, blinking lights, and music. The blinking lights and music prohibitions make sense since they can be nuisances for people who work different schedules or who have seizure issues.

In HOAs people have more leeway. However, every year we see stories about people who create over-the-top holiday displays that draw traffic into the HOA, causing traffic jams, complaints from other homeowners, and other problems. And every time the media uses this latest story to promote the on-going narrative about terrible HOAs that won't let the residents have their fun. It gets tiresome...
AugustinD


Posts:1905


10/02/2021 11:47 AM  
Posted By SheliaH on 10/02/2021 10:35 AM

it figures the police would say that. I wonder what the response would be If the situation were reversed - and sadly, I'm pretty sure I know (and so do you).
I am not sure I agree. At my former condo, a few years I immediately reported harassment, including a threat of sexual assault, by a neighbor to the cops. (Anyone scratching their head: Yes, I am pulling a George Sand on this forum.) The cops said they could do nothing. They did not even make an official report.

I have called the police two more times since I started renting a few years ago, due to ruckuses down the street where people were threatening each other. The cops never even showed up.

I read an op-ed piece in my local paper where someone else reported the same problem.

At this moment, I suspect the staggering increase in the number of homeless folks nationwide has overwhelmed police departments.

For the Virginia Beach family, there may be criminal harassment statutes. But I remember ten years ago in my overwhelmingly white HOA the police were adamant that they were not going to address harassment. The police said it was a civil matter.

I too was thinking a pro bono attorney might step up and address the Virginia Beach situation.

I expect the state of Virginia also has fair housing laws and likely some agencies that will process a complaint.

The last several weeks I have been helping a Floridian with a Fair Housing complaint. I am pretty sure the condo was targeting his of-Asian-descent wife. He got a lot of action and quick out of his state agency. Settlement talks are nearly complete. Knock on wood.

It's great that the Virginia Beach situation is getting so much media coverage.

I think there is a lot of injustice in this world. More and more I realize the media cannot get to everything.

Because of the increase in homelessness and the bloated stock and housing markets, indicating the gap between rich and poor is exploding, I think a revolution, like the French Revolution, is likely in the next several years.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4284


10/02/2021 4:44 PM  
Yup. I remember Eddie Huang ( the creator of Off the boat) saying every 50 years or so you need a revolution to bring a society back into balance. There have been so many things off in this country that it's taken a pandemic to bring all if it to the forefront - and people can't ignore it like they used to because it IS at your front door.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10584


10/02/2021 10:42 PM  
For me, I looked at what I really wanted. A HOA has it's "benefits". Which people seem to overlook. If I were looking for a place that had a clubhouse/pool/gym/other amenities then it would trigger in me more concerns/questions. I also would recognize those come at a price. Am I willing to pay that expense for the access and joy it may give me? Well I do like a pool but I don't want one in my back yard. Have to take care of it 24/7. Plus take up yard space.

When looking to build knew everything is basically HOA now a days. So I decided to look for one with the least amount of amenities but still had rules for consistency. We have retaining ponds that only fill up when it rains. So the future expenses will be minimal in the future.

My new neighbor next door said "I wish had moved into an HOA that had a pool". I looked at him and told him "You have to PAY for that". People often overlook the facts of what they will have to pay for in the future when you want a lifetime of amenities.

Former HOA President
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11659


10/03/2021 11:20 AM  
Good advice so far. I would say that after reading all the docs, financial reports, etc. and all is well, I would troll the neighborhood and introduce myself as a potential buyer and ask their opinion.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2588


10/03/2021 12:34 PM  
One minor issue that buyers need to be aware of:

Many condos include utilities such as water in the monthly assessments. If you live alone, be aware that you will be subsidizing the water usage of those who live with others. In fact my communities governing docs contain a statement that including utilities in assessments may provide an unfair advantage to some owners and an unfair disadvantage to others. (This annoys the cookies out of some of our single homeowners.)

Townhome style communities tend to not include things like water because each unit can be separately metered. But it's still worth paying attention to just in case.
AugustinD


Posts:1905


10/03/2021 12:48 PM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 10/03/2021 12:34 PM
Many condos include utilities such as water in the monthly assessments. If you live alone, be aware that you will be subsidizing the water usage of those who live with others. In fact my communities governing docs contain a statement that including utilities in assessments may provide an unfair advantage to some owners and an unfair disadvantage to others. (This annoys the cookies out of some of our single homeowners.)

Townhome style communities tend to not include things like water because each unit can be separately metered. But it's still worth paying attention to just in case.
This is another good one. I lived in one townhome community with sub-metered units. I lived in a condo community with no sub-metering. The lack of sub-metering yielded a board, manager, and a one-person sub-committee that intruded in a number of ways on individual units to get water usage down. E.g. commode inspections; leak searches (when the meter for a building showed a spike); requirements to replace the commode's tank parts when no leakage was occurring. Mostly their actions were understandable. But I did not like opening my unit to the maintenance person and his assistant so often.

Water sub-metering, along with renters and status of reserve funding, are high on my check-off list.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11659


10/03/2021 2:30 PM  
I lived in one townhouse association where we had a master watering meter. We switched to individual meters. It was very easy. required a 30 minute plumbing job. I admit I remember no numbers but I do remember as an owner I was not unhappy with it. Finally I could have a hose and wash my car in the driveway which I could not do before.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8720


10/08/2021 8:40 AM  
I may have missed this one: IF able to review the reserve study, it's possible that a newer HOA will listed an estimated useful life of some components that's far longer that accurate, and replacements costs that're far lower than is realistic. Some developers do this to keep dues lower as a selling point. This was the case at my HOA.
AugustinD


Posts:1905


10/13/2021 6:08 PM  
Update:
In my new state, I have a realtor helping me find both stand-alone houses and townhomes with garages. The townhomes tend to be individually metered for water. Some of the townhomes where I am are quite nice for my price range, in good neighborhoods, some with basements. I asked about roofs at one. My realtor made inquiries and said the HOA had a specific plan for new roofs, starting in 2025. Having a plan is half the battle.

All new or recent construction homes belong to HOAs, typically with a pool. I won't touch them.

What is hard is seeing a home I like and finding it is under contract within a day or so.

I believe sellers continue to get asking prices and then some.

The realtors consistently say "This is not a bubble. Buyers are bringing cash, lots of it. In particular, many out of state buyers are purchasing homes for rentals. This is because of a housing shortage. These folks, who bring cash, are driving up home prices." The realtors say the low interest rates are not behind the increase in home prices.

I am not sure the realtors are being accurate on the point.

One city not far from where I am now has cracked down on short term rentals, because they are hurting the chances of people who want to own a home.

The realtors also say what is going on now is far less frenzied than this past summer.

I think home prices where I am climbed around 10% since I was here a few weeks ago and made an offer.

I have no regrets leaving my former state.

I try to take things one day at a time. Autumn is gorgeous here. I remain prepared to buy either a townhome or small house. Starting Friday, I take a few weeks off from house hunting per se to be with my folks five hours away.
BancsS
(Iowa)

Posts:100


10/14/2021 5:49 AM  
Augustine,

Thank you for sharing an update in your home buying adventure. I say adventure because that is the attitude I am trying to maintain right now. I also agree with taking it one day at a time.

To make things more complex, I am selling a rental property in another state. Like I said, cashing in on the housing market is upper most in my mind right now. Personally, I think prices will fall some in the near future. I am no real estate expert but I don't see how the market can sustain these overinflated home prices in the long term.

I'm still packing and making preparations for the move. I do check the multiple listing service in the city I am moving to daily. My budget runs from buying a fixer upper to a new home without remodeling stress. The fixer uppers tend to be in older neighborhoods with no HOA and the new ones almost 100% have an HOA. They are still under developer control so that makes me a little nervous not to mention this city was hit pretty hard by the 2019 Spring floods. These new areas are in low lying areas of the city.

I am rambling on so carry on folks. Good luck Augie.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2588


10/14/2021 6:06 AM  
I agree that the realtor's idea of a "bubble" is off. I define a bubble as prices rising well beyond valuation, for whatever reason - I don't care why, only that real estate prices are not reasonable.

I guess the realtor's point is that it's different if buyers are paying cash rather than financing via a (possibly unaffordable) mortgage as happened during The Great Recession. And that's legit: losing your own cash is different from losing the bank's cash (your credit score won't take a hit for the former but it can for the latter).

Where I think the housing market could see problems is in the increasing move of investors into single-family HOAs as well as into COAs, since this group tends to finance their purchases using "other people's money".

Also, the housing market can be bubbly in one region and not so much in another.

Housing prices go up and they go down. Ya pays yer money an' ya takes yer chances.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11659


10/14/2021 9:09 AM  
Has anyone ever heard a realtor say anything other than: The market is up/down, but I am doing well.
AugustinD


Posts:1905


10/14/2021 11:35 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 10/14/2021 6:06 AM
I agree that the realtor's idea of a "bubble" is off. I define a bubble as prices rising well beyond valuation, for whatever reason - I don't care why, only that real estate prices are not reasonable.

I guess the realtor's point is that it's different if buyers are paying cash rather than financing via a (possibly unaffordable) mortgage as happened during The Great Recession. And that's legit: losing your own cash is different from losing the bank's cash (your credit score won't take a hit for the former but it can for the latter).
What you posted adds some clarity for me on why the realtors are saying this. The realtors are younger and I think versed in what the banks did with outrageous lending practices leading largely to the Great Recession. As all here know, houses circa 2004-2007 or so were often bought 'on margin' (that is, with borrowed money). As is often repeated, owners did not have enough 'skin in the game.'

Today the lending is diminished. Banks are supposedly stricter.

If this alleged (by my anyway) bubble bursts, it may be because the house supply goes up again. As in new homes are being built at the same rates as pre-pandemic. I have not looked up the statistics, but I understand a shortage of building materials is driving a real housing shortage.

As of late last night, I have a purchase agreement on a small house with tidy homes galore all about. The homes date to the 1950s. I paid near the upper end of my house purchase budget. I am having a bit of buyer's remorse. The detached (oops) garage is dilapidated on the inside. Then again: the roof and furnace are just a few years old; the flooring is relatively new and attractive; the windows are new-ish; kitchen appliances are new-ish; and the bathroom is large, with a skylight. I suspect this will not be the last property I own but this is fine. Where I am now is much more peaceful and carefully planned than where I was in the western United States.

If the inspector finds any major issues, I will not hesitate to walk away or more likely, ask for a price adjustment. The seller is not calling the shots the way some sellers are. Though it's all relative.

Fixer-uppers were certainly out there but not priced low enough, in my opinion. Of course, who knows what a seller would have accepted. Still I did not want to live in dumpy surroundings for many weeks (months?). I happily paid more for a property in good shape at purchase. I can re-hab the garage at my own happy pace.

BancsS, I had spent a lot of time on realtor.com but then, a few days ago, connected with a realtor at one of the homes I was checking out. The realtor set me up with some better online software.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2588


10/14/2021 12:29 PM  
You're lucky to be able to walk away based on an inspector's findings. Here things are still so crazy that buyers are waiving contingencies in order to have their offers accepted. It's a different kind of mania - and a real risk as well if the buyer doesn't have enough resources to address whatever issues are revealed after they sign on the dotted line.

No sign of things slowing down either, based on info my employer has shared recently.

(I kinda have my heart set on a Mid-Century Modern house. Two problems. One, these homes were built prior to the 70s oil crisis, and energy efficiency was not a thing back then. Two, these houses are being sold as tear-downs around here, which means they're way overpriced since you're essentially buying a lot for the cost of a house that you'll also have to pay someone to remove. I could cry. No HOA, though.)

On an amusing note, I watched a YouTube video of some guy who turned his Prius into a small RV. It may come to that...
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1462


10/14/2021 5:19 PM  
Always look at the financials. How healthy are the Reserves, any major delinquencies, is the perspective HOA facing any litigation and what for!! All of this has to be disclosed to not only owners, but perspective
buyers are allowed to have this information before buying.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8720


10/14/2021 5:51 PM  
Looks like you might be closing in on a good one, Augustin.

In our coastal urban zip code most buyers have long bought high rises with all cash. There is no difference now than from 15 years ago in that regard. But things are going nuts here, too. More purchasers than is common are buying here as second homes. Had been about 11% of our 200+ condos, but now seems to be closer to 15%. We're not seeing investors to any large degree. There were about a dozen condos on the market a month ago, which rapidly sold. There now are only 2 listings. One is at the high end, $2.7m. 25th (top) floor "penthouse." Interestingly, the owner is our former board prez who resigned when her evil buddies on the Board weren't reelected. the 2nd is one of the smallest units and is on the 3rd floor, which means no Bay or ocean views. It has, however, a 1,500 sf deck, which the sellers seem to have thought was worth a lot. They just dropped their asking price after 6 weeks on the market from $889k to about $820. Identical units with 100sf balconies go for about $650

Part of strong sales might be pent-up demand since lotsa folks were not out house hunting during '20 & early '21. As the pandemic seemed to ease AND prospective buyers had had quite enough of all the time spent in their old digs, they started being on the move. Another trigger might be that at the higher levels of income, many were/are getting handsome job offers (I know some) at much higher salaries than a year ago = more buying power.

Finally, the pandemic caused all kinds of ruptures and rapid changes in the lives of many. For some, it may have prompted feelings of wanting new living styles or settings. Change in some areas can prompt change and the desire for it in other areas. Call it a paradigm shift, perhaps? Or the results of so-called effervescent moments, when everything seems tossed in the air and new formations occur.
AugustinD


Posts:1905


10/26/2021 6:19 AM  
Inspection turned up undesirables on the one house. I backed out of the deal. Forward.

A 2/2 spacious condo with garage came up on my search where I am. The condo fees were $500 per month. I am used to seeing $200 per month or less for the size of condo/townhome I want. "All utilities included in condo fee!" the ad boasts. For a moment I thought, "Cool." Then I came to my senses: No I do not want to share water, gas and electric with a 100 or so other owners (bar room party-ers, as SheliaH aptly puts it), as the board battles to contain costs. Given that utilities are expected to skyrocket, this is particularly so.

I am looking at a nice 1950s but updated, 1000 sq. foot home on 1.4 acres, largely grassed but also with forest on two sides and a grass yard enclosed by nice wood fencing. Very private. The subdivision's lots are each around 1.4 acres. By my standards it's practically an estate. It comes with a tractor mower. Do I want to mow at least weekly the half acre or so that is not forested? This is the price of pretty serious privacy. Not sure.

Houses where I am seem to be staying on the market longer. Home prices seem to have stabilized some.
TimB4
(Tennessee)

Posts:17841


10/26/2021 7:20 AM  
Posted By BancsS on 10/01/2021 4:37 PM

A stand alone or a side by side townhome is what I am looking for in the type of home. I am not interested in many amenities. No pools, lakes, ponds, parks, social activities, or an HOA/COA that is responsible for utilities of any kind, or road maintenance. What I am looking for is snow removal and lawn maintenance.




Keep in mind that most town home communities have private roads - so the roads will be maintained by the Association.

Keep in mind that snow removal is only done on private roads - so the roads will be maintained by the Association.



That said, I agree with you on the type of Association you are looking for.
I found it.
No common area to maintain. No amenities. County roads.
Assessments are set at $50 per year in the covenants (hence not likely to be changed and with zero common area, no real need to). We do our own yard work, but that can be hired out - so no real issues there.


Good luck.


JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11659


10/26/2021 9:51 AM  
In my last purchase I wanted an HOA with no amenities, city streets, city water and sewage, all landscaping included, builder installed fencing and no changes allowed, no home exterior changes nor landscaping changed allowed without ARC permission, single family patio home, over 65% built out, no new sections at a later time, Covenants and Bylaws I could live with, and probably more but enough for now.
BancsS
(Iowa)

Posts:100


10/27/2021 4:40 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 10/26/2021 6:19 AM
Inspection turned up undesirables on the one house. I backed out of the deal. Forward.

A 2/2 spacious condo with garage came up on my search where I am. The condo fees were $500 per month. I am used to seeing $200 per month or less for the size of condo/townhome I want. "All utilities included in condo fee!" the ad boasts. For a moment I thought, "Cool." Then I came to my senses: No I do not want to share water, gas and electric with a 100 or so other owners (bar room party-ers, as SheliaH aptly puts it), as the board battles to contain costs. Given that utilities are expected to skyrocket, this is particularly so.

I am looking at a nice 1950s but updated, 1000 sq. foot home on 1.4 acres, largely grassed but also with forest on two sides and a grass yard enclosed by nice wood fencing. Very private. The subdivision's lots are each around 1.4 acres. By my standards it's practically an estate. It comes with a tractor mower. Do I want to mow at least weekly the half acre or so that is not forested? This is the price of pretty serious privacy. Not sure.

Houses where I am seem to be staying on the market longer. Home prices seem to have stabilized some.



Sounds like some nice privacy there. We are used to our neighbors being a small distance away and we have no neighbors behind us, directly next to us, or across the roads from us. It's on a corner. When we first moved in my closest neighbor would walk around his yard in bikini underwear. Yuck! The city I am moving to tends to have houses fairly close together so that will take some getting used to. Keep us informed Augustin. I am interested in hearing about your house buying adventures. Particularly the HOA aspects.
BancsS
(Iowa)

Posts:100


10/27/2021 4:52 PM  
Posted By TimB4 on 10/26/2021 7:20 AM
Posted By BancsS on 10/01/2021 4:37 PM

A stand alone or a side by side townhome is what I am looking for in the type of home. I am not interested in many amenities. No pools, lakes, ponds, parks, social activities, or an HOA/COA that is responsible for utilities of any kind, or road maintenance. What I am looking for is snow removal and lawn maintenance.




Keep in mind that most town home communities have private roads - so the roads will be maintained by the Association.

Keep in mind that snow removal is only done on private roads - so the roads will be maintained by the Association.



That said, I agree with you on the type of Association you are looking for.
I found it.
No common area to maintain. No amenities. County roads.
Assessments are set at $50 per year in the covenants (hence not likely to be changed and with zero common area, no real need to). We do our own yard work, but that can be hired out - so no real issues there.


Good luck.





Tim, I understand what you are saying. I was speaking of the townhomes that are mixed in neighborhoods with stand alone houses. They would probably require the owner to maintain their own yards and take care of the snow removal. There is a new townhome community in a town close by that may have those benefits but I would guess that you are correct that the community is responsible for road maintenance. It sounds like you have found a good community with a very reasonable assessment.

I have not done a lot of research at this point. Time will tell how the market behaves. It does show some signs of slowing down a bit.

Thank you for your input.
TimB4
(Tennessee)

Posts:17841


10/28/2021 2:00 AM  
Posted By BancsS on 10/27/2021 4:52 PM

Tim, I understand what you are saying. I was speaking of the townhomes that are mixed in neighborhoods with stand alone houses.




What I've seen in these type of developments is that the Townhomes have their own HOA. Either independent of the HOA for the single family homes or as a sub-association to a master association.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2588


10/28/2021 6:09 AM  
Posted By TimB4 on 10/28/2021 2:00 AM
Posted By BancsS on 10/27/2021 4:52 PM

Tim, I understand what you are saying. I was speaking of the townhomes that are mixed in neighborhoods with stand alone houses.




What I've seen in these type of developments is that the Townhomes have their own HOA. Either independent of the HOA for the single family homes or as a sub-association to a master association.



I've seen the same thing Tim has for communities with townhomes in addition to stand alone homes. A typical set up would involve an annual fee for the entire community (to cover the main entrance, greenspace, and community clubhouse/pool) plus a monthly assessment for the townhome owners to cover lawn care and snow removal.

But you really have to read the CC&Rs to see how assessments are structured.

I've seen HOAs with detached homes on individually-owned lots that provide lawn care. And the communities with townhome sub-associations may have separate amenities for the townhome owners which could require an additional assessment for those owners. Recently we saw a post from someone whose community has a 55+ section with its own amenities in addition to whole-community amenities that everyone, including the 55+ crowd, could use.

So the devil is in the details.


JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11659


10/28/2021 8:17 AM  
In one HOA we had both townhomes and private homes. The HOA did all landscaping to maintain a common look. Dues were based on square footage of ones unit regardless of it being a townhome or standalone.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11659


10/28/2021 8:17 AM  
In one HOA we had both townhomes and private homes. The HOA did all landscaping to maintain a common look. Dues were based on square footage of ones unit regardless of it being a townhome or standalone.
BancsS
(Iowa)

Posts:100


10/28/2021 12:22 PM  
Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and experiences on this topic.
AugustinD


Posts:1905


11/07/2021 5:42 AM  
I attended an open house for a fixer upper yesterday in a great neighborhood with good school districts etc. I looked around. The listing agent was present, answering questions. Here is a summary of the agent's and my exchange:

Me: Have you set a deadline for offers?

Agent (pleasantly): Yes. It's 5 PM today.

Me: May I ask whether the house has any offers?

Agent: Yes. There are three offers so far. One was sight unseen.

Me: How many are investors?

Agent: The seller has agreed I am allowed to divulge certain information. Here is what I have: All three offers are from investors. One is below asking. One is at asking. One is above asking. None have escalation clauses. I think one investor is from out of state. Another investor is in-state. I have told all buyers to bring me their best and highest offer. This is a standard blind bidding process. ... In general, some investors are setting terms that seem to be intended to tie up a house in case home prices fall. Meaning such offers are not desirable to sellers. [So you should not hesitate to bring me another offer on this fixer-upper?] It's a wild ride but it's still far better than this past summer.


My realtor told me about Zillow and its corporate friends buying homes and now having 7000 homes nationwide it wants to sell. Excerpt from one article:


Zillow's homebuying unit is having a rough couple of weeks.

The $25 billion property giant spent the past couple of years buying up thousands of homes through Zillow Offers, its instant buyer, or iBuyer, arm.

The bad news started rolling in October 17, when it announced that it would stop buying homes for the remainder of 2021. Jeremy Wacksman, its chief operating officer, said it was because of "an operational backlog for renovations and closings" that he blamed on "a labor- and supply-constrained economy inside a competitive real estate market."

That move sent the stock plummeting, as investors had bet on Zillow Offers as a big driver of company revenue.


More at https://www.businessinsider.com/zillow-offers-looking-to-sell-7000-homes-after-ibuyer-pause-2021-11

CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2588


11/07/2021 6:43 AM  
Interesting about Zillow. The fact that they're temporarily stuck with a lot of homes suggests that the market is finally slowing in places. If anything, existing home sales should be getting a boost because supply chain issues are slowing down new construction - the normal contract-to-closing time frame is getting stretched out, and some buyers just don't have the time to wait.

I know that investors have been jumping in, suggesting that they believe there is money to be made (not sure they're correct about that since the market is at a high, although "all real estate is local"). Investors also don't take the same risks that owner occupants do since they usually hold property in an LLC, meaning that their losses are limited to whatever that LLC owns - unlike an owner occupant who probably holds the property under their own name and potentially puts their other assets at risk if things go badly sideways with the house.

Investors have been buying single family homes in HOAs as well as condos, which means that anybody living in community associations should be concerned about rental restrictions.

Another thing that concerns me is that home prices are becoming increasingly unaffordable for those with more modest means, and investors snapping up homes is further decreasing the options for those who want to buy.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1594


11/07/2021 9:23 AM  
Zillow has shut down Zillow Offers and is laying off 25% of its workforce.
AugustinD


Posts:1905


11/14/2021 9:42 AM  
Reinforcement for CathyA3's points on the housing market appears in this New York Times article and its accompanying comments:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/12/magazine/real-estate-pandemic.html

Ironically, the very airbnbs, of which the article and comments speak with contempt, have enabled me to live cheaply as I searched for a home. Granted sometimes the cheapness came at the price of creature comforts. One airbnb was scary.

From this airbnb-ing experience, that airbnbs are mostly hurting neighborhoods is clear to me. The bad airbnbs are in bad neighborhoods. Which came first? I am not sure it matters. I think the airbnbs are going to make bad neighborhoods even worse.

Some airbnbs do strike me as good, modern boarding houses. Basement efficiencies seem to be the best ones, especially those that are limited to either "male only" or "female only." Granted I am not sure the neighbors of these high quality but inexpensive (relatively) airbnbs feel the same way.

On the third hand, the less expensive hotels have become magnets for drug deals prostitution, and folks on hard times who cannot take care of themselves. Airbnbs are safer and still cost less than even the discount hotels.

I am under contract for a functional (and I mean that in a good way) house in a good neighborhood in a desirable suburb of the large city where I am now. I checked the political demographics for the county. They are what I favor. Because I do not like going to the pool and hearing from irrational you-know-what extremists on either side. Home inspection happens later this week. Hopefully it's mostly just an inspection where I learn minutiae of the house's structural, electrical and mechanical features, and nothing serious arises.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8720


11/14/2021 12:33 PM  
Sounds promising, Augustin.

Because this has been an issue lately in our 20 y.o. high rise, it's on my mind: I hope the inspector makes sure that all of the main & direct valves for the sinks, laundry, toilet, etc. are fairly easy to exercise or turn. If the inspector won't check them, you'll want to. As you say, you want to know the minutia of the house. If they are" frozen" or you see signs of rust, imo, you'll want the seller to fix them.

I was a realtor a couple of times for a total of 5 years--eons before home inspectors existed. In walkthroughs with my buyers, we'd also look really closely at the ceilings for signs of leak stains or fresh paint. this includes ceilings in closets and built-in cabinets.

Best of luck next week!

Oh, demographics. You're savvy about such things so know that some counties might be the color you prefer, but there may be solid pockets therein of the opposite color. I think one way to learn more, if you wish, is to look at the agendas of the city council, county board of supervisors or even of "your" school district's board.

JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:793


11/14/2021 1:18 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 11/14/2021 12:33 PM
Sounds promising, Augustin.

Because this has been an issue lately in our 20 y.o. high rise, it's on my mind: I hope the inspector makes sure that all of the main & direct valves for the sinks, laundry, toilet, etc. are fairly easy to exercise or turn. If the inspector won't check them, you'll want to. As you say, you want to know the minutia of the house. If they are" frozen" or you see signs of rust, imo, you'll want the seller to fix them.

I was a realtor a couple of times for a total of 5 years--eons before home inspectors existed. In walkthroughs with my buyers, we'd also look really closely at the ceilings for signs of leak stains or fresh paint. this includes ceilings in closets and built-in cabinets.

Best of luck next week!

Oh, demographics. You're savvy about such things so know that some counties might be the color you prefer, but there may be solid pockets therein of the opposite color. I think one way to learn more, if you wish, is to look at the agendas of the city council, county board of supervisors or even of "your" school district's board.





Just to clarify, is 'color' code for race or politics?
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11659


11/14/2021 2:03 PM  
Posted By JohnT38 on 11/14/2021 1:18 PM
Posted By KerryL1 on 11/14/2021 12:33 PM
Sounds promising, Augustin.

Because this has been an issue lately in our 20 y.o. high rise, it's on my mind: I hope the inspector makes sure that all of the main & direct valves for the sinks, laundry, toilet, etc. are fairly easy to exercise or turn. If the inspector won't check them, you'll want to. As you say, you want to know the minutia of the house. If they are" frozen" or you see signs of rust, imo, you'll want the seller to fix them.

I was a realtor a couple of times for a total of 5 years--eons before home inspectors existed. In walkthroughs with my buyers, we'd also look really closely at the ceilings for signs of leak stains or fresh paint. this includes ceilings in closets and built-in cabinets.

Best of luck next week!

Oh, demographics. You're savvy about such things so know that some counties might be the color you prefer, but there may be solid pockets therein of the opposite color. I think one way to learn more, if you wish, is to look at the agendas of the city council, county board of supervisors or even of "your" school district's board.





Just to clarify, is 'color' code for race or politics?




I assume politics. Red or Blue. When mixed, Purple......LOL
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:793


11/14/2021 2:10 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 11/14/2021 2:03 PM
Posted By JohnT38 on 11/14/2021 1:18 PM
Posted By KerryL1 on 11/14/2021 12:33 PM
Sounds promising, Augustin.

Because this has been an issue lately in our 20 y.o. high rise, it's on my mind: I hope the inspector makes sure that all of the main & direct valves for the sinks, laundry, toilet, etc. are fairly easy to exercise or turn. If the inspector won't check them, you'll want to. As you say, you want to know the minutia of the house. If they are" frozen" or you see signs of rust, imo, you'll want the seller to fix them.

I was a realtor a couple of times for a total of 5 years--eons before home inspectors existed. In walkthroughs with my buyers, we'd also look really closely at the ceilings for signs of leak stains or fresh paint. this includes ceilings in closets and built-in cabinets.

Best of luck next week!

Oh, demographics. You're savvy about such things so know that some counties might be the color you prefer, but there may be solid pockets therein of the opposite color. I think one way to learn more, if you wish, is to look at the agendas of the city council, county board of supervisors or even of "your" school district's board.





Just to clarify, is 'color' code for race or politics?




I assume politics. Red or Blue. When mixed, Purple......LOL




I'm sure you are right but anyone that is new here may wonder which is what prompted my response.
AugustinD


Posts:1905


11/14/2021 4:49 PM  
KerryL1, good suggestion regarding the localized shut-off valves. Will do. The roof is pretty new but I agree about checking for stains or paint jobs.

I almost did not hire an inspector because the place looks so spick and span. The owner is a mechanical type guy, with a sizable workbench in the garage (one of the "little" features I love). The house has upgrades galore. Still the house dates to 1950.

Most importantly, I am having the sewer lines camera'd. I am in a state where shady neighborhoods are common, and tree roots have a field day. Every seller gets queried: Has the sewage line from home to city connection been replaced?

Regarding the (political) color: It's pretty solidly ____ color. My new congressional representative is a member of my preferred political party, as is the governor. But I would call the state purpl-ish.

The house was on the market about a day. I offered the asking price, cash deal, to close whenever the seller wanted. Twelve hours after I submitted my offer my realtor informed me several people had made offers. I had written it off and was making appointments with my realtor for further home showings. One day later the seller accepted my offer. Signs are that few of the offers could close quickly. The seller supposedly wanted a quick close and had to weigh it all? I hope this means others offered more money but not quite as good terms, so the house was truly "bargained for"?

I am fine if the housing market plunges 30%. I am going to live in the house and enjoy it, after all.

No HOA. Though a HOA with minimal amenities continues to be okay in my book.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8720


11/14/2021 5:54 PM  
I'd say a good work bench is a very positive sign, Augustin.

I can see your concern JohnT. but I was replying to Augie, who'd referred specifically to politics.

Here's my story about "color." Long ago, when my spouse & I had 3 very young daughters, we moved from a home with a pool in Miami, FL, to downtown Los Gatos, CA with only a tiny back yard. I'd just finished my first year of community college and had become much more aware of issues around inequality--social class, race, ethnicity, gender, etc.

One daughter was quite the swimmer & another was learning tennis so we decided to splurge & join a nearby swim & racket club for the summer. A very nice women showed us all of the facilities. Perfect. We then sat in her office for sort of a an orientation session. At some point she said, "By the way, we used to be strictly whites only, but now we permit pastels." I almost fell off the chair with outraged shock. But then....I got it.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2588


11/15/2021 6:44 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 11/14/2021 9:42 AM
... snip ...
Some airbnbs do strike me as good, modern boarding houses. Basement efficiencies seem to be the best ones, especially those that are limited to either "male only" or "female only." Granted I am not sure the neighbors of these high quality but inexpensive (relatively) airbnbs feel the same way.
... snip ....



The part in bold jumped out at me. Are airbnb's not subject to Fair Housing laws? If not, that undermines the narrative that these things are "rentals" and subject to normal HOA/COA rental restrictions. I personally have never bought the narrative, I believe they are prohibited commercial use of property that is zoned residential, same as hotels/motels.

(On another thread, the OP mentioned that her community is mostly short term "rentals", and one of our knowledgeable regular posters commented that the HOA is now considered to be commercial use for insurance purposes and may even need to get a business license from the local government. The OP also noted that buyers can't get the normal purchase mortgages but need to get business loans, as do other investors. So the insurance and banking industries support my point of view on STRs.)
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