Is HOA home a good idea for young married couple? The homes are great but most of the stuff I hear are bad. I mean are they that strict?

Asked by Nabeil Mohamed, 94609 Tue Apr 5, 2011

I was looking in the cherrywood area in San leandro and wanted to know If I should buy in this area. I want to be able to play catch with my son on the street or bring family members over or friends to watch the game. Will
I get fined for leaving garage door open? Can someone tell me about this? Thanks

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16
Justin Ruzic…, Agent, Greenville, SC
Tue Apr 5, 2011
Nabeil,

I wouldn't worry to much about playing w/ your son or leaving garage door open, or simple things like that. But what i would worry about is, wanting to park your car overnight on the street, HOA generally tow immediately and the costs are high to get your car back or your boss' car lets say who came over to have dinner with your family...another thing to worry about is how they spend money. HOA's act like the government, they spend your money without caring for your input....ok, they have the annual budget meeting, they have monthly meetings you are welcome to, but, your opinion is not needed for the HOA to act, and thus they might spend $400,000 a year for landscaping, while a similar community might only spend $285,000 for similar work. Yeah it can be that high and that different. Remember the costs is spread over hundreds of homes and over 12 months so the "cost" per home to landscaping might be $80/month....not bad you think, BUT, that is this year. HOA fees could go up 30% a year, every year, or maybe have a special assessment of $500+ once a year to cover loses not calculated properly in the budget. HOA are not all bad it is just that those who are often on the boards are not highly educated and not highly successful in money management or their given career, because it they were successful in either of those fields they wouldn’t have time to give to the HOA committee.
Hope that helps
Ps. Here is a blog I wrote about finding your dream house
http://blog.house-guy.com/2011/02/buying-home-of-your-dreams.html

best of luck...enjoy that time with your son
1 vote
Connie Klemme, Agent, Tuttle, OK
Tue Apr 5, 2011
the best way to have some comfort is to read through the covenants and restrictions. Also you might just talk to a few people in the neighborhood and ask them about the HOA. Some people have a lot of frustration with the whole concept and others find a lot of comfort. I'd prefer not to be in a HOA neighborhood but my closest friend won't look at one without them. The primary purpose of the HOA is to protect property values. Also...while you're checking on it, find out how well the members of the HOA do at paying dues- talk to the secretary- find out if several homes are deliquent- this tells you a lto about the level of involvement of the others and the strength of the HOA. you might even ask to attend a meeting even though you're not yet an owner---worth asking!
0 votes
Kamal Randha…, Agent, El Sobrante, CA
Tue Apr 5, 2011
LOL, maybe freedom wasnt the right word but there are so many rules and regulations involved and as you can see my fellow agents agree, if you have a large family and you want your kids to be able to play outside, you should really look for something without HOAs. And what if you want to paint your home down the line, you'll need to have permission. You want to put a little garden in the front? you'll have to get permission. Some even put a limit as to where you can and can not park your car.
0 votes
carol thornb…, Agent, Castro Valley, CA
Tue Apr 5, 2011
Hi Nabeil, the examples you bring up, playing a game of catch with your son, having family members over, and leaving your hose out are not necessarily typical examples of a HOA regulations. Some HOA's restrict the color that someone can paint their home, or the type of landscaping someone can put in the front yard, or not allowing parking cars on the street or having large recreational vehicles in the driveway, but all of these rules are meant to keep a community desireable for everyone. I wouldn't shy away from a community that has an HOA, but I would certainly make it my business to find out if I was going to be able to live with the parameters that the HOA has set..
0 votes
Nabeil Moham…, , 94609
Tue Apr 5, 2011
I'm sure they keep property value up. But the big question is can I relax without having to worry about accidentally leaving my hose out and getting fined for it?
0 votes
Susan Tyler, Agent, Aurora, CO
Tue Apr 5, 2011
A HOAs have different rules and a lot of the enforcement has to do with the other people in the neighborhood reporting violations. Be sure to read all the HOA's rules before you make your decision to buy and think if you can live with these rules. On the positive side, HOA's help protect your property values. They make sure everyone's homes stay looking nice. I personally wouldn't live where they didn't have an HOA. Good Luck!
0 votes
Nabeil Moham…, , 94609
Tue Apr 5, 2011
Hey kamal! What do you mean if one wants freedom? I just want to be able to be play with my kid in the streets possibly, maybe invite friends/family to watch the game. Will that be a problem?
0 votes
Kamal Randha…, Agent, El Sobrante, CA
Tue Apr 5, 2011
Every HOA is different and has different rules but if you want freedom, stay away from it. Good luck
0 votes
Nabeil Moham…, , 94609
Tue Apr 5, 2011
Thanks guys! People make it seem like it's a nightmare!
0 votes
Teresa Hanra…, Agent, Arlington Heights, IL
Tue Apr 5, 2011
Yes to an extent, HOA are strict almost everywhere in the country. specially if the complex is a bit upscale. There are more positive reasons why being strict is a good thing for residents of the complex. For one , it preserves the value of everyone's property specially in an instance when the HOA permits rentals. A strict HOA typically will not allow rentals but if they do, they make sure the screen the owner's potential tenant in order that the latter will conform to the rules & regulations of the asoociation, For young married couples who are so busy with their careeers, a property with HOA could work out great since the outside maintenance is built in with the monthly fee.,,Most of the HOA does allow residents to be able to use the common areas for some limited leisure activities as long as the landscaping or other fixtures are not jeopardized in the process. Most of HOA allow for your garage door to be open during the daytime but i suspect that they have something in the by-laws for residents to close their garage doors at night to ensure safety of the neighborhood & the homeowner himself. Hope this helps Nabeil & good luck.
0 votes
Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Tue Apr 5, 2011
Some are good. Some are bad. You mostly hear bad stuff because it's natural for people to complain about things they don't like. For instance, to use your playing catch example, in those communities that don't object, you'd never hear anyone say: "This is a great community. The HOA permits me to play catch with my son." On the other hand, in those areas where it's not allowed, you're far more likely to hear: "This is lousy. The HOA won't even allow me to play catch with my son."

Understand, too, that there are the written regulations and then there are the ways those regulations are enforced. Sometimes, frankly, they aren't enforced all that well. Where I live, there are restrictions against being too noisy. But the HOA refuses to enforce that.

The advice below is good: First, get a copy of the regulations. Assume that they all will be strictly enforced. (Again, maybe they won't be, but if they're written down, the HOA certainly has the right to enforce them.) So: Are there any deal-killers in there? If not, then talk to the people in the community. Seriously. Go by one Saturday afternoon and just talk to the people. Ask them what it's like to live there. Based on that, you'll be in a much better position to make a decision.

Hope that helps.
0 votes
Nancy Greger, Agent, Danbury, CT
Tue Apr 5, 2011
Hi Nabell, I would ask your agent if they can get a copy of the rules/regulations from the Management Company, here in CT it is required within 10 days after an offer has been accepted. It is usually provided to your attorney who will review with you prior to signing any contracts. A lot of the times the seller will know the answers.
0 votes
carol thornb…, Agent, Castro Valley, CA
Tue Apr 5, 2011
Hello Nabeil, all HOA's are slightly different. You can ask for a copy of the HOA rules or CC&R's and they can answer some of your questions. You said in your question that the "homes are great", one of the reasons for this may be the HOA rules. Typically they are meant to ensure the homeowner that the quality of life you enjoy in a neighborhood will be maintained. There are some downsides to an HOA, one of them is that their are monthly fees to maintain this quality of life. My advice is to find out a little more about this specific HOA by asking questions of the Homeowners Assoc. and of the neighbors who already live there. I think you may find that the HOA can be a very positive experience.

carol thornberry
Real Estate eBroker
0 votes
Bruce Lang, Agent, Philadelphia, PA
Tue Apr 5, 2011
Dear M. Mohamed...meet some people in the community, ask them their experience. Also, get the docs ahead of time and make written requests to the management company to clarify areas of concern. HOAs are a tradeoff.
0 votes
Eric J Soder…, , Pleasanton, CA
Tue Apr 5, 2011
Dear Mr. Mohamad,

Cherrywood home built by Citation built in early 2000 do have an HOA.The number is 510-683-8413. I have found it best to call direct and ask the questions you have. I called for you but only got a voice mail. They may give you a site to go to and look up the rules and regulations.

While HOAs can be restrictive the rules are generally in the best interest of those that are courteous to their neighbors anyway. It keeps people from doing things that the conscientious person would do anyway. That said there are restrictions pertaining to what you can do to your own home that some don't like.

In this price range you have many options. If you would like to receive emails on available homes in the area contact me at EricS@steven-anthony.com I have lived in the area and know it well.

Best Regards,

Eric Soderlund
Realtor, GRI, SRES, SFR
Steven Anthony Realty
0 votes
Heba Rayan, Agent, Danville, CA
Tue Apr 5, 2011
Hello Mohamed,

HOA are strict, yes. Every year they go up and you have no control over that. The good thing about HOA is that you do not have to maintain the exterior of your home. Not sure what is your price range, but you can buy a nice newer single family home in Livermore and have all the freedom you want in a single family home. Livermore could be a bit of a commute depends on where you work though. It is really nice town, family oriented and freindly people. San Leandro is closer to Bay Area and higher prices and older homes. If you have any questions please contact ne. Heba 925-216-3006

Heba Rayan
Realtor
COLDWELL BANKER
Tel.: 925-216-3006
Fax.: 925-208-2933
Email: heba@calfineliving.com
Department of Real Estate
DRE License # 01722870
0 votes
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