a bench with a view

a bench with a view

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I just can't imagine, can you?

So we are kind of looking at houses here, maybe to buy one.  We might in the near future have a chunk of cash to invest and it might be good to invest in a house here, where we used to live or some place we might want to live down the road if/when we can ever retire.  If the house is elsewhere than here, we would rent it out. If here, we would live in it.  Can't really go into more specifics about things for a few months, but will keep everyone updated as I can.

So, like I said, we are looking at houses here.  They are definitely less expensive than houses in Southern California.  What you can get here, more square feet, etc., would cost at least one hundred thousand dollars or more in Southern California.  You truly do pay for the privilege of living in Southern California, mainly for the weather and the beach.

Yesterday hubby was looking at some houses here on the internet.  He was doing one of those calculator types of things if you put down this for a down payment what your payments would be over 30 years, etc.  What we might put down over a 30 year loan, adding on home owner's insurance and taxes, would be a reasonable amount, merely a few hundred dollars.

UNTIL

you added on in this particular housing development the home owner association fees.  Honestly, we thought it was a misprint until we did some checking and found out indeed it was true.

I'm sure a lot if not all of you are aware of homeowners associations.  You pay dues monthly, or maybe quarterly or yearly and you might or might not get some benefits being associated with the homeowners association.  We are currently living in one with the house we are renting (and come back and see G and H and R for my A/Z challenge and you'll see what I think of them). 

This particular house hubby looked at was 1912 square feet.  Three bedrooms, 3 baths.  Kind of a cute arrangement in that there was a separate building that had a bedroom and a bath (they called in the in-law suite). I would call it "the guest bedroom."  Nice corner lot.  Fenced yard pretty much all the way around if one wanted a dog down the line (and the jury continues to be out if we want another dog).

Reasonable price. 

EXCEPT

for the homeowners associated fee.  I kid you not. 

It was $421 a month.

Yes you read that right.

We double checked on the official homeowners' association site and indeed that was the monthly dues/fees/highway robbery; call it what you want.

Close to $5000 a year......

What did that $5000 get you? Well the association would pay for the maintenance of your landscape for the year.  And you got to use the club house with the pools (one indoor, one outdoor), the tennis courts, the exercise facility.

But $5000???? We drove around the neighborhood and saw at least 6 houses for sell.  Some had "reduced price" advertising. I'm thinking a lot aren't selling because of that outrageous fee.

Would you pay that much for a homeowners association fee?

49 comments:

Jacquelineand.... said...

Definitely not! Then again, I refuse to live under the governance of a housing association... there are enough persnickety, nosy folk in the world without paying them to stick their nose in my business, lol.

My mother once lived in an adorable wee enclave, under the auspices of an HA, which tried to fine her $500 for growing one. single. tomato plant... in a container!

TARYTERRE said...

Years ago we lived in a condo and had a fee we had to pay for upkeep. I guess it is similar to what you are talking about. We paid the price because we wanted to live there. But we only stayed about a year and a half. The fee like you said was outrageous.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

It might be worth it to have your landscape maintained and the club house to some people, but I would not like paying the price. I've always done my own and at my age probably wouldn't use the club house. I'd keep looking if I were you. Hope you find the right one.

Bijoux said...

Many places here have HOA fees, which also cover snow removal besides the things you mentioned. We specifically looked for a neighborhood that didn't! Our current neighborhood only charges $40/year for entrance maintenance, which is reasonable. You have to be careful reading the contracts because I've had people tell me their fees get raised every few years.

TBR/Committed Thoughts said...

ain't no way. In addition to the outrageous fees, (which is as much as our house payment) I've heard stories of how they step in and "don't allow" things, so if you happen to have something they don't like, you'll have to move it/get rid of it/fix it. I'd steer clear of thieves like that.

yaya said...

I've watched HGTV and always was completely shocked at HOA fees...sometimes in the thousands a month! I think having the pool and maintenance would be nice but seriously, not at that price. Hope you find a good fit for yourselves. We've talked about selling because the 6acres and upkeep are starting to get to us and I'm not sure I would actually ever buy a house again. Well, time will tell! Do enjoy living in that lovely climate!

Joanne Noragon said...

You're right; it's insane. A service would mow my grass for a lot less money.

Intense Guy said...

I would be very careful of living where there was a Homeowners Association - they tend to get carried away with their rules - and become "yet another layer" of Government.

But I am excited that you might find a home of your own!! :)

Ellie said...

$5000.00??? NO WAY!! That is ridiculous, and I also think they tend to raise the bar high with their rules on what you can and cannot do, and seemingly at their will, without your input. That is really disappointing that you found this cute place, and then there is this stuff lurking in the background!

Chatty Crone said...

We pay $430 a year!!!!!!!!!!!!! Are you kidding?

Jerralea said...

No way would I pay that. Actually, I'm against homeowner associations. Too many rules. Not that I'm a rule breaker but I've heard of some ridiculous stuff. I just feel an American should be able to do what they want with their own property.

Mevely317 said...

No way, Jose! Seriously, don't get me started on HOA's. In the beginning< I thought, "What a splendid concept?" Ha. In theory, perhaps - but our experience and those of our neighbors is anything but.

Sounds like you've lots to look forward to in the coming year, m'friend. Isn't the excitement of the hunt almost as good as the trophy?

Linda said...

Shocked ... until I read about the added luxuries it included. My sister sold her older townhome, was fine paying HOA, but not when talk of a huge extra outlay for new roofs and driveway. And their president was a nut case.

Just like 2-year-olds, "I'll do it myself," it would only be if we became snowbirds or physically challenged that we'd consider being part of a home association. Having said that, they offer a service of tasks some would like to avoid and seem to be ever present in the housing market.

jack69 said...

NO! I am anti HOA. But that is me. I planned to build one subdivision, my dream. Streets using the Grand kids names etc. All went well until MY CITY COUNCIL wanted to see the HOA documents. I said there would be none. They said of yes here will, so No Subdivision, I retired, travel full time and get upset about HOAs.

I have no kick about folks who buy into it, they must accept what they sign up for, but I am too independent for my neighbors to decide what I do on property I have paid for. $100 per week? Not this old guy.
WE are looking to add a house. Palm Bay Florida, I am looking at fix-r-uppers 1300 sq ft $40k.
Landscaped pretty homes no HOA 1500sqft $90,000. (As you can see the market is depressed here)

Pat Hatt said...

Pffft to that. That is nuts. One big money suck. Avoid that like the plague.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

The house sounds lovely but that is a very high fee. We pay $150. a month for our association fees. That takes care of common areas to be maintained and we have a lovely pool that we can use year round. (however they only heat it from Memorial Day to Labor Day) Here is California to would be nice to have it heated year round because of the cold evenings!

joeh said...

Over $200 and there is coming a special extra 175 for 3 years. Except that everyone knows it will never go down!!

Mary said...

That is absolutely ridiculous! We definitely wouldn't pay it!

Stephanie Faris said...

It's funny that you mention that. We're looking at houses and we were thinking about buying one in a brand new subdivision. The houses aren't even started yet but we looked at a model home in another neighborhood. While the monthly fee will only be $70 or so once it starts, those buying new homes are responsible for thousands of dollars in fees to get things started like the clubhouse and pool. I can't remember what they called the fee...but the house was already pushing our budget. We can get MUCH more house by choosing one that's already built, even though there are fees. (Although I haven't yet seen one over $100/month here in middle Tennessee. High-rise condos and homes in really upscale subdivisions often cost hundreds, or so I'm told. But you pay for things like having a gate, security (although most of them get rid of having 24/7 security guards after a while, I've found), NICE pools and community centers, etc.

Paula Kaye said...

There isn't any such thing as HOA fees here where I live. I can't imagine owning my own home and then paying a fee on top of that. Guess maybe there is something good about Kansas after all.

susie said...

$200 a month for a townhome 16 years ago. I think they just cut the grass and removed snow.

Liz A. said...

I have another name for HOAs, and it's not particularly nice. They tend to be more trouble than they're worth, and at that price, they're not worth that kind of trouble. Unless the grounds are spectacular, I'd look elsewhere.

Cindi said...

FL is the land of HOA. Some developments you must purchase "their" model of golf carts to drive around the community. Our last home our HOA was only 100 per month not bad, but when the Gestapo sent us a letter stating we were in violation of leaving our hose on the lawn , and not coiled up on the wall. I knew it was time to leave. So happy we are no longer in that community. NO more HOA's for me!

Megan Whitson Lee said...

Wow! That is a lot! I used to be against HOA's, but after living in a neighborhood that desperately, desperately need some, I've changed my mind.

Sharon said...

Home associations are the bane of existence. I am not a fan. When we decided to move 3 years ago, I said *never again*...

Well, famous last words. Here in the mountains, we're still in one. Although, to be fair, there are only 3 houses and 6 people in it!! And our dues pay for snow plowing and road maintenance. And it's pretty reasonable. I guess I can't complain. Most of the time it is highway robbery indeed.

Only good thing about HOA's is that they do tend to keep the neighborhood looking nice.

But, $5,000 a year??? PASS!

Stephen Tremp said...

I have to laugh as a condo, yes a condo, we sold a while ago has two association fees (one is a slope fee) and together they are over 400. Holy Frijoles Batman. What madness is that?

Sheethal Susan Jacob said...

Never heard of such a thing. In our country there is a commission for the real estate agent ... nothing else. And if you're living in a flat, then the monthly maintenance.. but that's also a small amount. pretty reasonable.

Mary said...

No way... my inlaws bought a cottage in a development that had an association, and it was a nightmare. They soak you with fees and want to dictate what you can do on your own property. What's more, when they tried to sell, the association made that difficult too.

Barbara In Caneyhead said...

I have a very rural Texas mentality. I don't want no part of any homeowner's association. I need no one telling me what I can and can't do on my land.
Life & Faith in Caneyhead

Juli G said...

Half of my mail route is in a planned community. The houses typically sell for 600K (small 2 bedroom town home style) to over 2.5M (3 bedroom with maid's quarters) NONE of them have more than 1/4 an acre and most are built within 50 feet of each other on all sides. You get a pool (indoor.outdoor) health center (racquetball, tennis, etc.) and a golf course.

The fee per month to live there?

over $1,000.

On the "retirement side"... $800. And they have to pay for the golf course.

I'll stick right where I am, thanks.

SweetMarie said...

the homes here in Cary are a more expensive than the homes in Orlando, but the crime and jobs are much better here. In Florida we paid $600 annually for our HOA, it included two swimming pools on the lake, two tennis courts, and a club house available for rent for a small fee. Here in Cary we're renting so we don't pay the HOA, but it's only $275, but includes nothing but strict laws regarding paint, landscaping and etc.. There is no way I would pay over $400 a month for HOA unless they maintain my yard, take out my garbage, cook dinner and give me massages...haha!!

Secret Agent Woman said...

No, definitely not. That's nuts.

Bobbi and Gracie said...

Woahhh ... that's crazy. That's almost a house payment. Good luck with your search.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Wow! I would never pay that. I had no idea those fees could be so high.

Kate Brainerd said...

Cool. You can pay all that money to get bossed around.

Veronica Lee said...

We only pay about RM3000 yearly for the maintenance of our landscape, clubhouse facilities, gym, swimming pool, tennis and squash courts and even a table-tennis room. And that comes up to only USD$809.89!

Bag Blog said...

Hey Betty, I though I would drop by your blog since you were so nice to stop by mine. Your bench view is lovely. It reminds me of a view overlooking Quito, Ecuador. The cost of living is much cheaper in Quito and the temps stay very nice year around. It is suppose to be a nice place to retire. And third world countries do not care much about homeowner associations.

Chrys Fey said...

Try to find a house is a pain. I'm going through that now, but I'm looking to rent. I certainly wouldn't pay that much for a homeowners association fee. I don't even have anywhere near that much! Haha!

Romance Reader said...

Shocking, I would never buy in that area. How horrendous.

Danielle L Zecher said...

That is INSANE! That's over half what our mortgage payment is, and I thought housing was expensive here (it is compared to where I moved from, but I guess it's all relative).

We didn't even consider buying in a place that had a Homeowner's Association; it just wouldn't have worked out for us.

Good luck in searching for a house to buy.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Um, no. But then, I've never lived in a neighborhood with a homeowner's association.
I hope you find the house you are looking for - a good dream home. :)

Saleslady371 said...

My mom lived in a mfd home park in Illinois on the Fox River and had all kinds of benefits. Lovely. Fees were over 700/mo and climbing.
We have a road association to maintain our road and voluntarily pay 15/mo for its upkeep! But we're country out here.

Thank you so much for visiting me and introducing yourself. Looking forward to getting to know you! Thank you for your follow. I'll follow back!

Blessing,
Mary

GSMarlene said...

Great view! I hope your move works out. We're very close to the end of 10 month process to move to Bend Oregon. 2 more weeks and then the huge process of moving us and our horses from Colorado begins.
Thanks for the blitz day visit to my blog!

Birgit said...

OK I have been flat on my back with the flu and bronchitis and am finally trying to get some strength back when your layed me right on my back again...$5,000 a year??!!! They are out of their rock solid minds! Now if you would use the pool daily and the exercise room constantly...maybe but No I could not do it. I would also be bothered if that Association would tell me what I could put out on my lawn or hang in my window.

DMS said...

That sounds like a lot of money to pay for a HOA! I don't think I would pay it unless I planned to swim and workout daily or multiple times a day. Maybe they should lower the fees a bit!
~Jess

Kat said...

Homeowners associations are ridiculous and you never get your money's worth from them. You also have to check with them first before you do ANYTHING to your own home. Want to paint your house? Better check with the HOA. What to put up a new fence? A new mailbox? A new front door? You have to get it approved by the HOA. So silly. I refuse to live where there is a HOA.

But I LOVE house hunting. I just love looking at houses. It is so much fun. Good luck on your search!

Carol Noren Johnson said...

It's good to carefully consider all the options! I just was excited about the offer on my house and then the buyer backed out. I wish she had been more cautious in her offer.
Hugs,
Carol

Hollie said...

Wow!! No way! I hope you guys find the perfect house soon! I can't wait to see it too!!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Nope. I'd pass. I've never lived in a place with a Home Owners Association. I don't know that I could adapt to all the rules or costs.