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Old Yesterday, 09:28 PM   #1
Tee2 OP
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HOA's, Yes or No?

I will be looking to buy a house soon in the Phoenix area and need to know about HOA's. My thought is stay away, but the wife would really like some of the benefits they offer.

What do you think? I now live where I can do what ever I want, when ever I want.

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Old Yesterday, 09:58 PM   #2
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Read the documentation carefully, HOAs can be very over reaching in their rules and requirements. Also the folks that tend to run the HOA are the same kids in grade school that wanted everybody to play the game their way or they got pissed.

Go to one of the HOA meetings if you can, that will give you a good look at the folks running it.

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Old Yesterday, 10:22 PM   #3
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In most of the Phoenix metro area you won't have much choice, most newer housing there are in HOA ruled developments.

I'm not a big fan of HOAs, but living there, I didn't have any problems either.
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Old Yesterday, 11:01 PM   #4
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Run away. Far away.

Or do what I did and become VP of the HOA board, because there is no law when you are the law.
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Old Today, 12:54 AM   #5
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Make sure the HOA rules wont have a problem with your hobbies-like wrenching on your bikes in the garage or washing your car.Or maybe your pet pitbull.
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Old Today, 02:23 AM   #6
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At their best they're mildly annoying. At their worst, you'll have the worst of American political feuding right in your backyard.

In my last home, the builder who bought the remaining empty lots in our small sub controlled the HOA from that point on. Everyone in the neighborhood had travel trailers and no one cared if they were in the driveway until the change. It became a 100 dollar a month fine to do something all the existing residents were cool with. HOA fees went up 150 dollars a year for no valid reason, and the pettiness continued to grow.

Bought 5 acres in the country and couldn't be happier. The convenience of living in town, and the status of living in a beautiful subdivision comes at a price. Not one I was willing to pay anymore. I wouldn't buy in an unfinished sub, because the builder will trump everyone's votes. Before buying in an established sub, talk to a sampling of the neighbors, and ask their opinions of the HOA. Good luck.
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Old Today, 03:07 AM   #7
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What are the up sides of HOAs? They tend to keep the trashy people in line. Unfortunately I am the one they probably would harass the most. Sometimes I am too busy riding the motorcycle and don't mow one week. Right now I have a pile of scaffolding and a skid steer in the driveway. That is why I live in the woods away from people. I don't want my mess offending other people, and I don't want to hear them bitching.
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Old Today, 03:22 AM   #8
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Some are fine, some are very difficult to work with.

If you have pets, motorcycles, work trucks, a camper, like to DIY on home projects or landscaping, you may have issues.

I had a neighbor report me to the HOA when my dog peed on the grass. I bought acres in country and couldn't be happier.
I'm just lookin' for clues at the scene of the crime.

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Old Today, 04:05 AM   #9
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Just say NO to HOAs!

If you are a very prim & proper person who likes to keep everything neat & in line, an HOA is for you.

BUT, if you like your freedom and don't want to be harassed for some down right petty things, like flying the American flag, the HOA is NOT for you.

You don't have to be a slob to have problems with an HOA. It seems most HOAs are controlled by people who want to control every facet of your life. If you fit in with them no problems, but differ with them and you WILL be constantly harassed.

There are plenty of quality properies in the greater Phoenix area that are not HOAs in established neighborhoods. Yeah, most are older (pre-2000) homes but a lot have been updated & remodeled.

I would NEVER live in an HOA as I like my freedom. When you agree to live in a a HOA you are signing your freedoms away and are now living in a Facist style community.
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Old Today, 05:14 AM   #10
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I currently live in a HOA community, I will never live in one again. I serve on the board to try to keep some sanity and common sense in play and the amount of ridiculous complaints and petty crap that goes on is amazing.
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Old Today, 05:24 AM   #11
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There are no cap's to HOA dues.
It will not take many years before the HOA payment
is a significant portion of your house payment.
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Old Today, 05:25 AM   #12
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I lived in a HOA neighborhood for about 10 years, my first house. It was a PITA, but part of me enjoyed going against the establishment. But I never got into a situation where they started levying fines on my property. I found that the board was made up of mainly retired people who had nothing better to do than to drive around and see if you had mildew on your roof, or if your yard needed watering. You even had to get permission to paint your house, even if the same color. Some homeowners like that "security," not me.

About 16 years ago I bought 5 acres in a non-deed restricted neighborhood close to town with a rural type zoning (but no green belt). I have my horses, trailers, tractors, as many buildings as I want. We keep our house and property up very nice, some of my neighbors, not so much. But with 5 or more acres you learn to "not see" how messy the neighbor is. Most of my neighbors are older, and really great friends. It's a very unique piece of property for SW Florida. You can live with your horse, or walk out your back door, and check the pattern of your shotgun, yet walk to The grocery store in 5 minutes. Since we have no deed restrictions, development of your property is determined strictly by the County land use regulations (and sometimes you have to have the blessing of your neighbors at Planning Commission meetings if you are wanting a Special Exception or Rezone).

I knew all this when I bought. It works both ways though. So when you buy in an area like this, without any covenants, there is no guarantee that the neighborhood will stay the way you want as time goes on. In my case, our neighborhood (20+ 5 acre lots) are surrounded by much higher zoning, primarily residential. I would like to see it stay this way until I'm ready to retire (a few more years) but many of my neighbors are now signing contracts to sell their parcel for $1-2M, my neighbor bought his for $17,000 and asked me to look at a contract he is considering for 1.6M. So although I'd like to see everything "stay the same" I also realize that selling for that kind of money would let me retire earlier and I could completely relocate.

So, while you're looking at parcels, especially those without deed restrictions and a HOA, look 15-20 years down the road and try to consider the different scenarios, what you might do with your property and what your neighbors might do with theirs. Good luck!

Edit - be sure to find out "who" owns the roads if your buy in a development. My neighbors deeded the roads back to the County years before I moved here. They were tired of maintaining them. Once you give up the road(s) you lose all control of what happens to your neighborhood. Adjacent developments can tie into your road(s) markedly increasing traffic and congestion.
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Old Today, 06:13 AM   #13
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In Phoenix most (if not all) of the modern tract housing will come with an HOA. To avoid it you either have to get something old, or something very expensive.

If you can keep the front yard cleaned up, not have dead vehicles in front of the house, and keep what's in the back yard below the 6' fence line you will do fine. It pretty much rules out parking an old motorhome in the driveway or the back yard.

If you are a slob or like to collect a lot of junk it isn't good.

I am pretty much stuck with them. I am not willing to drop into the slums where anything goes and can't afford to buy something above the HOA price range. I spent months with my realtor (who is a car guy that understands me) looking for something acceptable. I finally caved and got a house with HOA. It does sterilize the neighborhood a little, all the homes look about the same.

So far I have had 3 places with HOAs. The first one was a rental, and the old retired man across the street who had nothing better to do than write letters. Even the HOA hated this guy. The other two places I have been OK with. Random letter that I have weeds in the yard. I put a pool in the last place and they left ruts from the equipment. They day they pulled out of the back yard they wrote a letter asking to fix the ruts.

Now some places (like Anthem) are horid. The slightest bit of character (without approval) and you get letters written in an hour. But that is a well known extreme neighborhood, most are not that bad.

I walked into my HOA office and asked about putting an ocean container in the back yard. After a little discussion, they thought it would work. Had to follow the building code of 7' off structure and 4' off property line, I have the room that most don't. But we both agreed that I couldn't just drop a rusty orange container in the back yard and call it done. Stucco and paint to match the house so it blends in. Just need the generic neighbor trampoline consent form (since it would be above the height of the wall). I haven't done it yet, looking for a stick built structure that will fit my extra storage space needs a little better (shorter and wider would be better).

As for the places that don't have an HOA in Phoenix. You find they tend to collect the eclectic and the collectors of junk.
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Old Today, 07:13 AM   #14
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Some very valid comments posted above.

My take: if you have an opportunity to read thru the Rules & Regulations before you buy, I highly recommend it. If you have the ability to review the financial statements, I highly recommend it.

I live in a townhouse community with an HOA. I come from a single family home environment while my wife came from living in apartment buildings. She preferred the t-house. I do miss working in the yard but am glad not to have to mow when it's hot/humid. I still shovel my own driveway because I do a better job and it's done before I leave for work. I trim my own bushes because the landscaper hires Mexicans that don't care/know what they're doing.

My wife (CPA) was the first treasurer. She set everything up for financial stability. The current president has a financial background as did the treasurer who succeeded my wife (when she opened her own business). We have never had a special assessment and the reserve funds are in-place to pay for large ticket items, like roofs & windows. We need approval, from the Board, to park our camper in the driveway when it needs work. I store it in a enclosed shed about 30 miles away because I would prefer it not sit in the elements when not being used. I have never been harassed about my bikes nor working on my cars (I do my own wrenching).

So, it really depends on how the HOA is run and how it's financially set. I doubt I will ever live in a community that's controlled by an HOA again. But, for now, it's OK.
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Old Today, 07:33 AM   #15
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I don't understand why there are so many HOA's in the land of freedom loving Americans.

I am taking the advice of all those people that told me, "Hey kid, why don't you go play in traffic!"
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