The Love-Hate Relationship with HOA’s

The Love-Hate Relationship with HOA’s

  More than once I have heard from a client, “I don’t want to live in a neighborhood with an HOA.” Some people love them – some people love to hate them. But why the love-hate relationship with HOA’s? Well, there seems to be some common threads on both sides. Let’s look at both.   Pros Your insurance could be cheaper Help to maintain property values Sanford and his son won’t live next to you Common areas are not your responsibility You may have nice amenities to use at no extra expense They maintain gated entrances and landscaping Neighborhood events Quarterly or yearly HOA meetings   Cons An extra monthly expense Approval is required to make any changes to your property You may receive a letter if your trash can is left out an extra day The restrictions may prohibit an excessive number of items You won’t be able to paint your front door pink They may be hard to reach if you have an issue Possibility of dues increases or assessments Quarterly or yearly HOA meetings   In theory, a Home Owner’s Association is put in place to help maintain or increase property values and to beautify the neighborhood through dues. Some HOA’s are simply in place to mow a small patch of grass and maintain the sign at the entrance of a neighborhood. Some HOA’s are even voluntary and you are not required to pay any dues at all. On the other end of the spectrum, some HOA’s will not allow certain breeds of animals or allow parking on the street. It is very important that you receive and review a copy of the by-laws as well as the CC&R’s (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions) prior to purchasing a property that has an HOA. You may be surprised at what they will or won’t allow and you need to be sure you can abide by them. Just because a neighbor says they don’t enforce a certain restriction doesn’t mean it won’t happen. I had a recent client need to sell their house or get a different work vehicle because when they bought the home (Disclaimer: I did not represent them for their purchase) several years ago, they were told they could park a work van in their driveway. All of a sudden, they received a letter from the Property Management Company telling them it was not allowed. If the HOA hires a new Property Management Company or a neighbor decides to turn you in, the rules that were “never enforced” might cause you to need to make an inconvenient change. Be educated and be informed prior to buying and even though you may lean on the side of...

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A Walk of Thankfulness

A Walk of Thankfulness

  Last night I was taking one of my dogs for a walk (yes, I only take one because the other one literally barks and chokes herself the entire time – bad parenting, I know). I use this time to clear my mind of the day, greet neighbors, and get a little time away from technology. Last night was a beautiful evening. The temperature was comfortable and the air was moving softly. As we rounded a corner behind my house, we entered a story book setting. The sidewalk took us past perfectly groomed plants and trees that have had years to branch toward the sky and jet out over the walkway. There was a playground with a wooden bench. I could almost see the swing swaying as if a child had just jumped off to head home for dinner. There was a picnic table for a picturesque lunch. To our right was a pond surrounded by lush greenery with fish swimming to the surface, frogs talking to each other and a reflection of the setting sun. On our left was a babbling brook whose water ran over smooth rocks, the sound so mesmerizing, I wanted to stay all night. The rope swing invited children of all ages and the birds seemed to be singing just for me and my pup. Suddenly I realized I was smiling, ear to ear. This is how I have felt when I have been on vacation, walking through a beautiful city or driving through country hillsides. Haven’t you visited a place and wished you could move there? Have you been on a trip you never wanted to return from? My heart was flooded with thankfulness. I LIVE here! I live in the type of place that I have dreamt of. I was immediately grateful for the beauty that surrounds me in my own world, my own city, my own neighborhood. I have lived with very little to my name. I was just as happy – it was just different. We can find things in our lives, no matter what our circumstance, location, or bank account, to be thankful for. Sometimes we may have to look a little harder but we can be assured that there is always someone else that would be HAPPY to have our “problems”. I love times that I am shown a little perspective. If you need some, maybe you should take a walk.   Photo courtesy of anankkml via...

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Home Inspections for New Construction

Home Inspections for New Construction

  “I am buying a new construction home, I don’t need a home inspection.” STOP!! Let’s take a step back and think about this before “saving” $500. I have heard this argument from more than one Buyer. The builder may be great. They may have great people working for them. However, even great people make mistakes. What if they had to use a new vendor or subcontractor? What if the material was defective? What if someone was rushing to beat the rain and missed something?   Many inspectors will do multiple inspections throughout the building process. There are generally 3 phases of inspection. Framing Mechanical Insulation Doing phase inspections enables inspectors to check the footers and look for any variance in framing measurements. They can view the electrical and plumbing prior to the drywall being installed as well as making sure insulation is in walls, around windows and everywhere else it should be.   Home inspector, Bill Gunther of BJK Property Inspections has seen some unfortunate things in new construction homes over the years. Plumbers have come in after framing and cut joists for piping and not properly supported the joists that were cut. This could cause structural issues, not to mention, perhaps void possible warranties. Bill has also seen entire sections of walls without insulation. Too bad the home buyer didn’t have him come in before the drywall was put in.   That brings me to the final point. Don’t fret if you found the house further along in the building process and you have not had phase inspections. A home inspector can still find things, and most likely WILL find things. It doesn’t matter how old a house is, a good inspector will find items that got missed. And don’t be fooled that “It wouldn’t have passed the Codes inspection if it wasn’t done correctly.” Again, humans make mistakes. My best suggestion is that you have a home inspection any time you buy anything someone will live in. If you need a recommendation for a good home inspector, most Realtors can give you a list of inspectors they or their clients have used or you can look online. www.Ashi.org is also a good resource.   Photo courtesy of khunaspix via...

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5 tips when moving with a pet

5 tips when moving with a pet

Pets are a huge part of American life. I, for one, don’t know what I would do without a dog…or two in my home. So, as I work with pet owners to find a home or sell a home, I definitely take into consideration their particular needs with regard to the pet(s). Is there a fence or can one be added? Is the street busy? Are there sidewalks? Where are the closest dog parks and veterinary offices? Does the neighborhood have a home owner’s association and if so, do they have breed restrictions? If it is a condominium building, do they have pet restrictions? Will the pets be home for showings? There are so many things to consider when purchasing a home and even selling a home when there are pets involved. Pets have different personalities and, just like people, can react differently to change. Here are 5 tips to help your pet acclimate to their new environment: 1. Explore the space together If you are like me, the last thing you want to do when there are a million things to get done is just sit and do nothing. I am the person that wants to have everything out of boxes and pictures hung ASAP. When pets are involved, however, it is a good idea to just sit with them in each room and let them explore. They will sniff every inch of that place (it’s also a good idea to be with them to avoid any marking!) 2. Take them on a walk Lots of pets like walks, not just dogs. One thing I have learned first hand is that if you take the time to walk your pet around your neighborhood, there is a much better chance of them ending up back home on their own should they get out unexpectedly. 3. Make sure their things are the first ones to make it in the house Moving is stressful for your pets too. If they have familiar things, it will make them more comfortable. Get their bed set up. Give them their favorite toys. Lay down the same food and water bowls they have been using. Perhaps, even a blanket or rug on the floor will make them feel at home more quickly.  4. Meet the neighbors Just like people should meet their new neighbors, pets should too. If your pet is friendly, it will be a fun activity for them. If your pet is scared or not social, show your neighbors a picture. Either way, it is good for your neighbors to know how many and what kind of pets you have so that should they escape, the neighbor may be of help in locating them....

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