11-08-2010 11:53 AM
If I made anywhere close to $500k/yr, I would feel very upper class.
The median household income in San Diego is something like $60k/yr. And I'm guessing the median house price has come down to something like $400k? I think that's out of reach for most families earning $60k/yr.
Sorry, this is only tangential to high HOA fees.
11-08-2010 01:00 PM
Well then HOW do you explain the strong correlation between swimming pools (usually the size of a giant bath tub) and Higher HOA fees???? Go to most any 1 or even 2 BR condo in the general San Diego area and if the HOA fee is considerably less than $300 it's likely there is no pool. If the HOA fee is approaching $300 or $350 or higher, there's a pool. What a waste of $$. There's got to be something to this.
The pool draws people into buying the condo. Because a pool is perceived in a way that similar to having a car with leather seats, fancy rims, ie Wow, this complex has Everything. Translation: these owners must be really successful. I should try and keep up with the Jones'.
Yet just like the car with the high monthly payment, we're stuck paying a rent of sorts. And that's on top of a mortgage (free $$ for the banks). And then there's property taxes on top of that. Are those even constitutional? lol
So we're paying rent on top of rent on top of rent! Please, ixnay on the oolpay.
11-08-2010 04:28 PM
The HOA fees have very little to do with the pool. All HOAs documents are public. Go read them and see what you are paying for. You have to do your homework. Its isn't easy. Most HOA's publish CCR's online. All you have to do is call and ask. Your agent can do that or give you the number to do that. The number is on most MLS listings.
By the way, a pool is nice, but only a fool would pay $400 a month for a pool. I live in a community that has 2 very nice pools and more for $92.00. I showed a client a place the other day, decent pool, nice grounds...$155.
I hope your agent can help you find a condo with low HOA's. They can do an MLS search that looks for places based on the fees.
11-08-2010 04:41 PM
Thanks LezleyK. What does "CCR" stand for?
Also, you write that most HOA numbers are published in listings but ... in my experience they are usually not included in the listings.
11-08-2010 07:24 PM
They are on the Sandicor MLS which is privileged info only your agent can see. They don't provide them on the Zip website. And Kim so graciously answered the CCR question.
11-09-2010 05:19 PM
I've lived in a condo for over 20 years and have been considering moving. Before you buy anything, I suggest you do what has been suggested-check CC&Rs, rules, and the financial reports. This will give you an idea of what you might be getting into. HOA dues are far more complex than you realize. Also read minutes of board meetings to see how the HOA is being run.
HOAs are usually non-profit corporations. Most of the dues you pay monthly go to salaries for workers, energy consumption for common areas, water, and insurance required by law.
If you are looking for low monthly dues, look for a newer townhouse style condo rather than stacked units. The more common elements in the HOA, the higher the dues. The older the building, the higher the dues (more upkeep on an older house). It is difficult to compare dues because of the many variables (age, number of units, amenities, etc.).
Be sure to check the budget for any condo under consideration. You will be surprised to see all the items listed--most are things people take for granted. Just remember, everything costs, and you get what you pay for.
11-09-2010 07:54 PM
I agree - reading the budget and financial reports of the HOA is important. One angle on this issue I'd like to bring up is the financial health of the HOA. Well-run HOAs build up sufficient reserves in their budget to accomodate long term maintenence costs and unexpected repairs - such as scheduled painting, roof replacement, replacement of common fences, etc. Some HOAs, in an attempt to keep HOA fees low, do not allow sufficient reserves to cover the major expenditures every HOA eventually faces. If that is the case, you might be faced with large special assessments when a need for a major expenditure (such as a roof replacement) occurs.
So, in reviewing the HOA financials, be sure to read the auditor's assessment of whether the reserves are adequate.
12-16-2010 01:23 PM - edited 12-16-2010 01:25 PM
HOA's listen up!
I've said it before. Lower your HOA fees now before the Great Depression 2.0 sets in. That way you can:
a) Give those who need to get out of the building gracefully a chance to sell something that has a REASONABLE HOA fee instead of something that is simply too much for many prospective buyers to handle, on top of all the other expenses, ie mortgage, car payment, property tax, utilities, etc., etc., etc.
b) Give prospective buyers a much needed incentive to buy! After all, things aren't moving folks! There's something like a 2 year supply of homes on the market.
c) Keep the HOA payments coming by lowering them, thus making them more realistically affordable in this economy with stagnant wages, inflation, etc.
d) Keep the building occupied. Unless of course the HOA's sinister plan is to file a lien against the homeowner for being late in paying an outrageous HOA payment!
Who Needs a Pool anyway? Talk about a maintenance nightmare. They crack on the bottom and have to be patched. The pH balance must continuously be monitored and adjusted. They present a liability as well. Most pools are too small to bother with and are only 'good' for a little dip, not at all for getting anything close to being considered exercise, something so many of us need these days. Much more so than some pool that just presents a sinkhole for HOA funds to be thrown at again and again.