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View Full Version : HOA experiences anyone?


vaknitter
05-27-2009, 01:51 PM
The hubby and I are selling our house and trying to move closer to work. The issue is that all the neighborhoods seem to have HOA's. We have an HOA where we live that is pretty redneck so it's never been an issue. We build and renovate as we wish and nothing is ever said. They did question my fence being visible from the road and I said YUP, I own the land, I'm fencing it in for the dogs.
The new neighborhood will be less redneck than our current neighborhood and I am afraid more snooty about its HOA rules. The one house we like has an HOA rule that reads - no fence over 4ft, no privacy fence, fence may begin and back corners of house and run straight back to property line. Now, we have a jumping boxer mix who has proven she can jump a 4 ft fence and we are getting a great dane and the rescue requires a 5-6ft fence. Do we a - not buy the house b- lobby with HOA before buying house c - buy house, build fence, ignore HOA ? Anyone have experience with HOA's? Are they likely to be reasonable? Seriously what is the difference btwn a 4ft paddock fence and a 5 ft if it keeps the neighborhood cats safe from my dogs?
Personally I would move out to umpteen acres somewhere, but the fact is we cannot afford that and if we are going to have children we need to be in a better school district.

sakura-panda
05-27-2009, 02:38 PM
I would not recommend ignoring the HOA. If you really want a taller fence, then that particular neighborhood may not be the way for you to go.

OffJumpsJack
05-27-2009, 02:44 PM
It depends on the HOA.

Around here, they are pretty much like Nazi SS "The Stepford Wives" (1972) of cookie cutter same neighborhoods.

Over at Yahoo they have a list of 10 thing HOA's won't tell you...

http://loan.yahoo.com/m/primer13.html

I'm still looking for something I'd call a good referral, but don't hold your breath.

HOAs have the same power as local governments (incorporated towns, village, borough, or city) to impose zoning or ordinances limiting your rights concerning your house and property.

Here is one called Understanding HOAs (http://www.nolo.com/article.cfm/objectId/62C6A8D3-4D6E-4BD7-9C5D953B038B4A52/213/243/267/ART/) Essential Guide for First-Time Homeowners

From that site I spotted this point.
Some associations enforce every rule with the enthusiasm of a military drill sergeant; others are run in a more relaxed way. Most associations try to make decisions that will enhance the value of the houses.

Which takes me back to my first answer, "I depends." :shrug:

ETA:

If you are a charismatic, persuasive speaker, you can "sell" the idea that a slightly taller fence will enhance the property values by giving the impression of greater security, enhanced privacy, etc. but be able to back it up with statistics.

Alternatives:
Not all neighborhoods have associations, especially if they are with in the city or borough limits.

You may want to go with an electronic fence and collars, such as the "Invisible Fence" brand.

Good luck with your house hunting.

2) ETA:

I'm surprised no one has tried to apply thin film display (http://www.eurekalert.org/features/doe/2004-08/dnnl-tfe082404.php) technology on fences to make a stealth fence (http://science.howstuffworks.com/invisibility-cloak.htm). Imagine a fence with a coating that displays and image of what is behind the fence (minus the people, pets, and personal property) or a vista of your choosing? Don't like the look of your neighbors yard? Put up a stealth fence and instead you see an ocean view. ("Stealth Fence" copyright by john stevens, May 2009)

busyknitmom
05-27-2009, 03:03 PM
I worked for an attorney who handled things for HOAs and people who went up against HOAs. I would not touch a deal like that with a 10 foot pole. Many HOAs will be all over you for that fence. Liens, fines added daily, interest, nasty, nasty attorney fees (yours and theirs!) ... really keep looking. Or at least get a waiver in writing before even putting an offer in on the house.

cftwo
05-27-2009, 03:14 PM
From everything I've heard about HOA's, I'd keep looking for a neighborhood that will let you have your 5' fence. Some HOA's are pains, and others are not. When she was househunting, my sister found that even living one street over with a different HOA could mean much lower dues and much fewer headaches.

vaknitter
05-27-2009, 03:49 PM
:out: My goodness - I knew they could be pains, but didn't realize they had that much power. I think what bugs me most about them is that they change the rules as they go. 7yrs ago when I bought this house the HOA was like $75/yr and the rules were along the lines of - you may not live in your shed or a tent and your house must exceed 900 sq ft. Now it's $350/yr and they have all these rules about asthetic value -which they can't enforce b/c of all the property that is grandfathered. Plus, if I'm going to spend that kind of money on a house I don't think anyone should be able to tell me where I can and can't plant my veggie garden and if my fence is installed in line with county regs who are they to tell me differently. AAUUGGHHH maybe I should be a hermit.

JustAFloridaGirl
05-27-2009, 04:03 PM
Everything I know about HOAs I learned from the X-Files episode "Arcadia." You break the rules and you get killed by the Ubermenscher. :teehee:

But in all seriousness, I would never ever live in a planned community like that. I don't think I could stand living in a neighborhood where people are that concerned with what color someone's house is, or if the fence is of regulation height. In your case, I would rather be safe than sorry concerning the dogs and look elsewhere for a house.

Mike
05-28-2009, 02:28 AM
We didn't go with the one my parents were looking at. X number of cars outside. Dogs and a fence? They wouldn't even allow TV antennas.

I wouldn't buy a place with an association I had to actually listen to.
After hearing your dues increase to hundreds, I wouldn't go with any place with an association.
Seems they try to increase value but have the opposite effect because they're dictators.

catlvr
05-28-2009, 09:53 AM
Heard on Fox news the HOA wouldn't allow a mother who lost her son in Iraq to fly a mother's flag (the small one with a blue star). She's taking them to court, sure hope she wins. I think HOA's are a pain in the you know where.

Luvmyrottnboy
05-28-2009, 10:17 AM
RUN! Don't walk. Get the HECK away from the HOA!

My experience is with a condo HOA and they can change the rules to suit the whim of any of the members. Granted, some rules need a majority vote of the homeowners but a lot don't. I had to leave my job because my heart broke over the misery the HOA laid on the home owners.

All you need is one member, or one friend of a member to be afraid of large dogs and they could slap on a weight/breed restriction.

They can dictate what color and type curtains and welcome mat you use.

Seriously, especially with the dogs, find a place without an HOA.

PLEASE!

GinnyG
05-28-2009, 11:56 AM
Personally, I would NEVER EVER EVER buy a home in a neighborhood that has an HOA. You pretty much lose control of your own property. Many folks do and many folks like the restrictive atmosphere of other people teeling them what they can do so I guess it's a matter of personal preference.

I've heard too many horror stories.

But, maybe that is why I live WAYYYYYYYYYY out in the country, on a dirt road without a neighbor in site!!

sakura-panda
05-28-2009, 12:30 PM
Many folks do and many folks like the restrictive atmosphere of other people telling them what they can do so I guess it's a matter of personal preference.

Some people like the uniformity of a neighborhood with a strict HOA. It's not all negative, really. (Not me :teehee: but some people do.) But they are all run differently.

My HOA has an annual meeting and most bylaws don't change without community input (thank goodness! I've seen some of the suggestions before they were either rejected or changed to be more reasonable.)

I've actually had the bylaws changed to better suit something I wanted, so I don't find them unreasonable at all. :eyebrow: (Although it helps that DH read through them before we bought the house so that we knew what we were getting into and which ones did not suit our neighborhood and needed to be changed.)

Jan in CA
05-28-2009, 12:51 PM
I would look for another house in another neighborhood. It's not worth the hassle with the HOA and might affect your relationship with your neighbors as well.

My parents lived in a neighborhood with one (they liked it) that wouldn't allow open garage doors, visible trashcans, swing sets, etc. Sure it looks nice and neat, but it's not practical for most of us.

GinnyG
05-28-2009, 03:23 PM
I am sure that some HOA's are more reasonable than others but I would never buy into one assuming you could "change" things as it may not happen.

In my area some of the HOA's tell you what kind of clothes line you can have ( or if you can even have one) and what hours/days you are allowed to hang things to dry. If your yard is not kept to their satifaction they sent a landscape company around and bill you for it. They dictate the trees you can plant the size your flower beds can be, the color you can paint your house, at what time you are allowed to put your garbage out for pick up, the size dog you are allowed to own, what childrens play things are allowed in your yard, whether you can leave your garage door open or not, what date you are allowed to put Christmas decorations up and when you are rquired to have them down.................... the list goes on and on.

Yes some people consider that uniformity and want it but I think it's just plain nuts.

Luvmyrottnboy
05-28-2009, 03:41 PM
I am sure that some HOA's are more reasonable than others but I would never buy into one assuming you could "change" things as it may not happen.

In my area some of the HOA's tell you what kind of clothes line you can have ( or if you can even have one) and what hours/days you are allowed to hang things to dry. If your yard is not kept to their satifaction they sent a landscape company around and bill you for it. They dictate the trees you can plant the size your flower beds can be, the color you can paint your house, at what time you are allowed to put your garbage out for pick up, the size dog you are allowed to own, what childrens play things are allowed in your yard, whether you can leave your garage door open or not, what date you are allowed to put Christmas decorations up and when you are rquired to have them down.................... the list goes on and on.

Yes some people consider that uniformity and want it but I think it's just plain nuts.


I am with you!

And, even if you have a good board now, you never know when that could change.

Mike
05-28-2009, 05:55 PM
After reading some HOA horror stories I'm amazed people don't resort to murder.
They charge high "dues" (taxes), don't give people a say in the law (no representation), lay extremely unreasonable fines as "court costs" plus their own fines leaving you broke and then take your house (unreasonable penalties), they don't apply their law equally (all men are not created equal) and they are vindictive in their application of the law.

I really don't see how these are constitutional, last I checked you can't sign away constitutional rights and since these are treated like governments I don't see why they aren't in the case of constitutional matters.
Seems we had a revolution to get away from governments like this.
I've said we won't have another revolution/civil war because we have too much, some of these HOAs are taking everything people have so they have nothing else to live for. You'd think there would be one person that close to going over the edge.

kellyh57
05-29-2009, 10:35 AM
I live in one of those neighborhoods with a pretty strict HOA, but I don't really mind it that much. There's a few things that stink, but most of them make the neighborhood look nice. I really dislike the look of chain-link fence and like the uniformity of the cookie-cutter fence we have. It's all about driving the property value up. The nicer the neighborhood, the more strict HOA. We do have a no vegetable garden rule, but we have a green space behind us that some of the neighbors are using. I'd like the HOA to officially allow it, but I'm not holding my breath. I lived in a neighborhood with no HOA and we had neighbors with awful yards and houses. They had huge mud patches in the front yard, covered in weeds, peeling paint, Christmas lights up (and on) yearround etc. I'm SO glad we don't have to look at that. Our dues go towards a private pool that is never busy, block parties and hopefully soon, a playground. Ideally, you would be able to see the HOA rules before you purchased a house in a neighborhood. If you don't like it, don't buy the house and make sure they are aware of that. Obviously, some people don't mind, or they wouldn't buy houses in these neighborhoods.