Hi Natalie: Congratulations on the exciting step of owning your first home. Sailboat Bend is a really nice area. As far as Bill's response to you - he is right, but I can add to that by telling you that the case in Sailboat Bend is that the "Village at Sailboat Bend" condos were built in 2005, the peak of the housing market. Unfortunately, many people invested in these lovely condos and took advantage of the ridiculous mortgages that were being offered at the time, the ones that got us into the crisis we're in today. Many were bought at top dollar with zero percent downpayments and unstable interest rates. I believe the larger issue is the economy and housing crisis - nothing more than that.
The HOA fees are decided by the association on an annual basis (usually at the end of each year for the following year) based on their maintenance expenses. In the case of "Village at SB", the maintenance fees are fairly comprehensive, including cable and hot water, building exterior maintenance, insurance, landscaping, pool maintenance, and trash removal.
There may be financing programs available to you as a first time homebuyer and you may well be eligible for FHA financing which is a guarantee by the US Government (HUD) that allows you a lower downpayment and other benefits. You should speak to a reputable mortgage broker first who can get you pre-qualified and prepped and ready to go out there and shop! :>
If I can help in any way, I'd be delighted to. I can send you info on what's currently available in your price range. Feel free to contact me. I highly recommend that you use the services of a Realtor - it doesn't cost you anything as a Buyer (we're paid by the Seller when the deal closes)!
Very best of luck to you!
Villa G Realty, Inc.