Maintenance of the common areas; assurance that the owners will follow the CCRs so that the external appearance of their condo is kept up; water, garbage and in some cases sewer.
It if were you home you would be paying for the water, garbage and sewer separately. The majority of the condos do not include the sewer bill.
People who purchase condos generally do so because they don't want to have any maintenance to take care of themselves on the exterior of their dwelling. This is all covered in your association dues as is the insurance for the exterior.
If you are against any association dues then you'll need to purchase a single family residence that has no home owners association. Be aware that your neighbors can then park a broken down vehicle on the street near your home. It all boils down to what type of neighborhood you prefer to live in. Some people don't mind cars parked on the street that aren't running, while others are strongly against this.
All of this is true. There are no condos that do not have HOA fees. A single family home might be the best option for you. Even without an HOA fee on certain single family homes, you will still have some maintenance costs. You could always think about purchasnig a single family home that has an easy maintenance yard, like desert landscaping with rocks and no grass to cut.
If you would be interested in having some professional help with your decision, please contact me. I would be more than happy to go over your options with you and help you find what will be suitable for your situation. I have helped many people relocate here to the Las Vegas area. Some of them are permanent residents, others are 2nd home buyers and investors. I would love to be your "eyes and ears" down here in the Las Vegas area. You can reach me at the number below.
Len McGuirk, Realtor
Prudential Americana Group
When I moved to Las Vegas from New York over 8 years ago, I didn't like the idea of an HOA either. It seemed not only an unnecessary expense, but a threat to my individualism and freedom of choice. However...I've changed my mind. The fact that I can't paint my front door any color I want, is for me, a small price to pay so that my neighbor can not paint his door whatever color he wants. We can all, however paint the inside of our doors any color of the rainbow and there's nothing the HOA can do about that!...I don't think ;)
I noticed you mentioned you did some research which led you decide you don't want an HOA. That may very well be be the best solution for you, but I do recommend you stay open to the idea of having an HOA at least until you've had a chance to visit a few communities with and without HOAs, even if you're considering a house.
Consider this: Nobody writes news stories or posts blogs and comments about how much they like their HOA. So, when you're looking around for info about HOAs you will come across only the problems and complaints and not get a true and balanced picture of what an HOA can do for the community. Remember, the home owners association is run by homeowners in the community and although in some cases they can be a PIA, most of them, most of the time are helping keep the community maintained, and therefore helping to keep property values up.
If you're thinking about a single family home instead of the condo you'll also want to consider property taxes. You may save $125/month in condo fees, but have to pay $1500 a year more in property taxes for the single family home and have maintenance and landscape costs on top of that. So you could think of your HOA payment like a tax, if that helps.
Another thing you could do is when making an offer, require the seller to pay the dues for 5 years or so. Some builders are offering these type of incentives on new construction, but there's no reason you can't get the same type of deal on a resale.
Feel free to search my site for your Las Vegas home or condo at http://www.vegasproperty4u.com/property_request.shtml Search on your own, or fill out the property request and I'll email property that match your criteria complete with pictures, addresses, maps, aerial images, and more.
I understand what you are saying about associations as I have had to work with some pretty bad ones over the years.
The association fee covers shared items like the roof and siding not just the pool,etc. I really can't think of a way that an association would be able to maintain these things without a fee. One suggestion might be to become active in the association management but that is complicated by the fact that it is a vaction home for you.
Your single family home idea might also be problematic as well since you will have maintenance and insurance issues there as well. While you will be able to control the vendor you will still be subject to the fluctuations in the marketplace.
I might recommend that you look for a seasonal rental or even a long term hotel type arrangement. It might be just me but I would think that when you add up the cost for a mortgage over twelve months, you would probably be able to stay in a pretty nice hotel for a few months/weeks
I hope that helps.
Before I answered your question, I did a search on the Las Vegas MLS just to make sure my answer was correct. There are no condos that do not have condo fees (also known as maintenance fees, HOA fees, etc.) The reasoning is pretty simple. A condo has common elements, which include at the very least the interior streets, lighting, water for the common areas, maintenance men for the grounds, etc. In addition, because your condo is not freestanding, the building insurance is paid for by the association, that's part of your monthly fee. There's always going to be a homeowner's association (they have to manage the money for the property, make sure the homeowners are following the rules and regulations,etc) and they need to be paid, too.
So, if you're looking to purchase something without monthly fees on top of your mortgage payment, my suggestion is to look for a single family home where there is no association for the subdivision. Good luck in your search!
Thanks for the quick response. I have done some research and have seen that condo associations can become ridiculous with rules, regulations and fees going up yearly. Since I don't care about having a pool, clubhouse or any other ammenities with my condo, I would prefer to find something without fees. If that isn't possible, then I guess I should start looking for a small single family home. I don't plan on living in vegas year round, but wanted to use it as a vacation home, so I thought that a condo would be the simplist answer for me. Still in the investigation/thinking stage right now so any advice would be appreciated! thanks!