Las Vegas Real Estate Blog

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Do you want to live in a community with a Homeowner's Association (HOA)?

 

Recently a question was asked about finding a condo in Las Vegas without HOA dues.  The person asking has the very reasonable fear about increasing dues and ridiculous rules.  They mentioned they had done "some research" which seemed to increase their anxiety about buying a property with an HOA.

I've posted my answer for anyone with the same reservations about homeowner's associations and welcome your comments about your experiences (good or bad)  with HOAs.

 

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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 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.

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Comment balloon 6 commentsDamon Botticelli • June 29 2008 01:30PM

Comments

One has to be careful when looking into condos.  It is important to get all the financial (including) reserves in addition to the recorded documents.  I always ask for the last 2 years minutes for members and director's meetings -- you really get a feel for what the issues are, if any, in a given association.  The condo questionnaire is also very informative - ask the lender to give you a copy.  Then, just talk to people that live there if possible.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) almost 9 years ago

This poses a difficult question. I live a place called Discovery Harbour. I hate the Association due to an issue I had with them years ago while trying to build a home. I really just don't think they are family oriented and it seems to me it's just a bunch of old people who think they bought in a seniors community. They are selective about what they allow and who they allow to do it. Based on my experience I would never live again in a neighborhood with an association. I am now building in the next subdivision and am so happy about it. One bad experience can ruin things for life for people. That was mine, in short.

Posted by Patrick Lambert, Hawaii Real Estate Expert (ALLY Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

This poses a difficult question. I live a place called Discovery Harbour. I hate the Association due to an issue I had with them years ago while trying to build a home. I really just don't think they are family oriented and it seems to me it's just a bunch of old people who think they bought in a seniors community. They are selective about what they allow and who they allow to do it. Based on my experience I would never live again in a neighborhood with an association. I am now building in the next subdivision and am so happy about it. One bad experience can ruin things for life for people. That was mine, in short.

Posted by Patrick Lambert, Hawaii Real Estate Expert (ALLY Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

We have NO zoning in our area, HOA's are there to make sure the junkyard/trucking co. does not move in across the street six months after you buy the home. Some areas subdivision HOA's are very restrictive others are minimum to keep the property values up.

Joan, thanks for the heads up to ask for the associations minutes, we have alot of lakefront condos  the financial and upkeep problems would reflect in those minutes, I will be requesting those in the future. 

Posted by Crystal Ledbetter (Texas Home Group) almost 9 years ago

There is a townhouse developement near our office and they do not have a HOA. I wish you could see it! The quality of the neighborhood has gone straight downhill in the past few years as well as the unit prices. It is primarily a rental community now.There is every color in the rainbow. There is another townhouse developement several miles away with similar homes with an HOA, these sell for 30% more. The reason is obvious!!

Posted by Ray Henderson (Weichert Realtors' Northeast Group) almost 9 years ago

Damon:

Thank you for this opportunity. I love living in my community and specifically looked for a community that mirrored my thoughts on how I wanted to live.  When I purchased my home, I had to beg to get copies of the documents as the real estate agent in the developer's models stated that I would get a copy once I had put down the earnest money.  As someone who works in this industry, I pushed and educated her on what a disservice she was doing to potential buyers.  

I honestly believe that neighbors should talk with neighbors first about any violation that is bugging me, but should that not work I know that I can go to my community manager and ask that a courtesy notice be sent reminding the owner of the contract that he or she signed with all of the owners who live in our community.  EVERY ONE of us gave up something that would have been nice to have, such as parking my 36' RV in front of my home for periods longer than 2 hours for loading and unloading.  I do load and unload that RV in 2 hours as I want to feel comfortable going to my neighbor and asking him if he wants help to take down his holiday lights before 1-31 of each years so that he doesn't get a letter.  

 

Posted by Sara Smile almost 9 years ago

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