Home Buying in Kailua Kona>Question Details

aviationwidow, Home Buyer in Kailua Kona, HI

I'm curious about these homeowners association fees. I've been discounting homes with them as I don't want to retire with monthly outgoings.

Asked by aviationwidow, Kailua Kona, HI Mon Jun 3, 2013

But then I look at armed home invasions and start thinking it's worth considering. None of the agents seem to list what you actually GET for this fee - and how fast do these monthly fees tend to appreciate? Could you potentially find yourself in a position where you can't afford to live in your own home?

This question was asked from this property: http://www.trulia.com/property/3120483504-77-471-Hoomaluhia-…

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Interesting reading, thanks for taking the time to respond, much appreciated.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 5, 2013
If you buy in a recent development, the fees my increase over time. However, if you choose a mature area (Kona Acres, etc.) then the HOA may be very passive and no fees will be incurred. You have to check as the realtor probably won't know or bother to find out. If you want to learn when you get for your HOA fees, you better get a copy of the existing/updated HOA so that you can review it yourself.

An association will not help you guard against a home invasion. Plus, all "third party" agreements (which is what an HOA is) is not supported by the courts. Therefore, if you feel a neighbor is breaking the HOA, you have to take them to court directly. You can't simply "invoke" the HOA.

In my experience, the HOA will govern how high you roof might be, how tall your hedges can be, wether you can park your boat in a visible location or have guests park on the street.

Get a copy and read it yourself as they are all the whim of the original developer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 5, 2013
Interesting reading, thanks for taking the time to respond, much appreciated.
Flag Wed Jun 5, 2013

The HOA fees cover common area expenses, such as security gate, landscaping, pools, insurance, etc and can vary greatly from development to development. The association’s board of directors will set the monthly fees to cover all expenses, plus put a little in the reserve for any unforeseen expenses.

When you offer to purchase property, one standard contingency to the contract is your acceptance of all related homeowner documentation. This will include any CCRs, Financial, and all documents filed with the state in relation to the property. It is important to review and understand these documents as it will help you get a feel for the health of the association.

HOAs and CCRs are to help maintain the value of the property. Properties that do have HOA and CCRs are more likely to retain a higher resale value. CCRs could help prevent your neighbor from running an auto shop out of their garage, or putting in a chicken farm next door.

Yes, you could find yourself in a financial situation if the association did get into financial difficulty, but you could also get into a financial situation without an association. Usually an association will provide some legal insurance as well as property insurance which could end up saving your home.

Your realtor can help with more information than may be available on line for a neighborhood or condo association. They want to help you find just the right property.

Aloha and happy hunting.
Cindy Barnett, R(S) e-Pro
Clark Realty Corporation
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 5, 2013
Each community can differ in what they offer with the association fees - on Oahu, you always get exterior maintenance, hazard insurance and water/sewer fees. This means the owners never have to worry about roofing, exterior paint, yard upkeep and do not have to pay water/sewer fees.
Some communities have added amenities, such as a security guard, a pool, hot tub, workout room and some pay for electricity and basic cable too.
If you compare the cost of living without maintenance fees and then add up the costs of pool care, yard care, a home security system, homeowner's insurance and maintenance of the exterior - sometimes it makes sense to live within an association that offers these amenities to you.
It's true that maintenance fees can go up - but the price of electricity and water can go up wherever you live. A great idea is to serve on the associations board and then you are in-the-know on all the issues and have a vote as to rate increases.
Good luck in your home search!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 5, 2013
Very informative thank you - I'm glad I asked the question because the answers have all been very enlightening.
Flag Wed Jun 5, 2013
Aloha there,

very good question. Everyone should ask abou this. Fortunately, it is not everywhere that has Homeowners' Association in Hawaii. For instance, in Hilo, most places don't have one. So, you are free of charge. If you'd like to retire in Hawaii, why come to Hilo. The temperature is more pleasant than in Kona and Oahu, the local provide more produce, and again, not many places have Homeowners' Association.

If you can work a little on your own garden, like me, you will have a much better sustainable and affordable life style.

Let me know if I can help you in any way.

Mahalo and aloha,

Lidia Maylath
Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 4, 2013
Hi Lidia, Thanks. I've been checking that Hawaii Life website everyday for many months! I had been put off Hilo somewhat because friends said it's always raining and everything you own is mouldy and mildewy! I like the more lush looking surroundings there though and hey, no HOA fees sounds good to me. I'll look you up when we are able to come to Hawaii for a proper look around later this year.
Flag Tue Jun 4, 2013
Armed home invasions would be an extreme concern for even guarded associations as most of those guards do not carry a gun. Mostly what you get is privacy, and the right to enjoy your home without door to door salesmen or religious invasions. Being a member of the association gives you a vote and the knowledge of why the fee would be raised or lowered. Some associations offer trash pickup, and maintenance of the roads and upkeep of the gate and guard service... fees that would be shared with other homeowners instead of borne just by one homeowner so actually these costs would be less living in a gated community than on your own estate. Of course an association has to have a high percentage of homeowners agree on any change in fees or services, and there is a time frame for these changes to go into effect which would give the homeowners affected the chance to sell their homes before they were forced to assume the payment for the new fees.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 3, 2013
Ok great, thanks everyone, I have a much better understanding of it all now
Flag Mon Jun 3, 2013
The budget for each association is available from the company that manages the association. A representative goes to the homeowner's meetings and works for the association. The homeowners (also called the AOAO - association of apartment owners) decide what to do with the money the management company collects for them each month.
If the AOAO doesn't charge enough, it tends to get jacked up a lot later, sometimes 10% or 20% or worst case, a special assessment to pay for that roof they didn't budget for.
The fees have no rhyme or reason, but if I had to generalize, I would say 5% a year, you want to keep up with inflation, assuming you budgeted right in the first place.
Sometimes, 0% (unusual, but I have done it as the Treasurer), sometime 10%.
So, to answer your question, the fees could go from $300 to $600 in 10 years, or 5 years, or never. It depends on how well the AOAO is at managing their budget.

Frank Diaz
East Oahu Realty
808.723.0900 cell
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 3, 2013
understood - many thanks. So there's some kind of clubhouse involved? Not just a bloke standing at a gate waving cars in!
Flag Mon Jun 3, 2013
Aloha Yes you could find yourself in that position if there were problems with the HOA. But what you and your agent should do is Homework once you are in escrow with a accepted offer. You should get your association docs that will give you all Financials and Budget of the HOA. You will have a contingency period to review these docs from HOA. Really we all know anything can happen. But you just need your info to make a good choice.

Warm aloha,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 3, 2013
Thanks Michelle for the fast answer
Flag Mon Jun 3, 2013
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