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Meet the New Boss – Your HOA

Category: Active adult communities

Updated Sept. 2016 – This updates our 2009 article on Home Owner Associations, the introductory piece of a 3 part series about these important, but controversial organizations (often called Community Associations). The 2nd in the series features an insightful interview with Joe West, CEO of the Community Associations Network about the issues buyers should know about Home Owners Associations before they sign on the dotted line. Part 3 focuses on the transition from developer-run HOA to one controlled by the HOA. There are even more HOA articles listed at the bottom.

Here at Topretirements we see plenty of concerns expressed about Home Owners Associations. Usually the commenters say that they would never live in an HOA community, or that the fees are too high. While there are certainly problems at some HOAs, on the whole we believe they are necessary – if you want to live in a community that shares amenities and community assets like roads and infrastructure. Here in Part 1 we will try to lay out some of the broader issues that you should be aware of when moving into a community governed by a Home Owners Association.

If you have been living in the suburbs in a single family house for the last 30-some years, you might not be prepared for the authority that your new Home Owners Associations has in many areas you take for granted. To name just a few such rules:
– Weight limits, number of, breed, and type of pets restrictions
– Use of common areas like pools, picnic areas, and trails – including when, how, and who can use them
– Renters must rent for at least (1, 3, ?) months (or no renting at all)
– Renters cannot use certain facilities on same terms as owners
– Parking restrictions apply by location or type of vehicle
– Guest restrictions
– Minimum age of residents (in 55+ communities one member of household usually must be 55 or older, children sometimes not permitted as residents)
– Dress code in public areas (joggers must wear shirts, cover-ups in common areas, etc.) or other types of restrictions.

We believe they are an important component to successfully living in a 55+, active adult, or condominium development that has shared facilities. These organizations are essential to the effective operation of any community: they set the rules, enforce compliance, manage the assets, and look out for the financial and legal well being of their communities. The people that volunteer for these boards tend to be unsung heroes – they work hard and they spend a lot of time unraveling really thorny questions. Far too often their only reward is to be interrupted and criticized everywhere they go by someone whose narrow self-interest was affected by a policy or rule.

Some folks have a constitutional inability to live around rules. Those people might want to think twice before moving into a community with an HOA, because the association is going to have a lot to say about what goes on (or doesn’t go on) in their new community. As extreme examples, if they want to have junk cars or funny lawn ornaments in their yards, paint their homes funny colors, or have a pen full of barking dogs, an organization with an HOA is a bad fit.

If you do buy into an HOA governed community
Regardless of whether you go into your new community positively or negatively disposed towards HOA’s, here are some considerations you should keep in mind.

1. Due diligence. Before you buy your new home find out as much as you can about your HOA. Read the rules, check out the minutes, and understand the financial condition of the HOA. You have a right to see all this information, and this step is crucially important so you are not surprised later on.

2. Be aware of the law. Some states, notably Florida and California, have extensive laws regulating Home Owners Associations, while other states have almost no law on the subject. You should be sure that your association is following both the regulations and best practice. For example, you generally have a right to prompt and accurate minutes of official HOA meetings. Buyers have a right to examine financial documents.

3. Learn about the problems your community might be facing. Some issues to be concerned about: foreclosures or delinquent dues; excessive litigation with neighbors, former owners, or tenants; overdue major maintenance items (and funding thereof), unexpected assessments.

4. Who are the people on the board? It is always wise to meet with at least some of the current board members. Ask them about the big issues facing the community and get a sense for their qualifications and ability to handle them. The quality and expertise of the board is extremely important if they are to handle the significant issues they face.

5. How effective and how prepared is the HOA for handling troublesome issues? Until you move into a community you probably aren’t aware of all of the issues that need to be managed – it can be almost as complex as running a small town or a very large business. Some of these include:
Major maintenance sinking funds (money put aside for future major projects like paving, roofs, elevators)
Annual fee increases, assessments, and budgets. What is the history of increases? Look for an organization with steady, modest increases and an absence of unexpected assessments. Erratic fees and unpleasant surprises are usually a sign of ineffective management
Insurance. Is the HOA adequately covered for legal and natural disasters? Are they paying too much or have the wrong policies in force?
Pets. Few issues cause more trouble between sometimes oblivious owners and touchy non-owners. Sizes, breeds, numbers, access to facilities – the potential areas for conflict are legion
Renters. How long (or how briefly) can they stay, do they have equal access to facilities?
Visitors and family members. What are the rules about visitors, especially younger people in a 55+ age restricted community?
Facilities. Go to just about any facility (swimming pool, exercise room, etc.) within an active adult community and look for the list of rules. Dollars to donuts the list of potential infractions will be long and onerous. That’s because someone, somewhere, was inconsiderate. Once someone annoys the wrong person, a rule will come out to try to control that issue.
Water leaks. In many communities water leaks, particularly in unoccupied units, are a major issue. Are there policies and procedures for prevention and remediation?
Environmental problems. Mold, asbestos, chinese dry wall, leaking oil tanks, natural disasters – all of these issues must be handled intelligently.
Personnel. An HOA usually has employees – sometimes a facilities or property manager, a business manager, security guards, maintenance personnel, clubhouse and possibly restaurant workers. Does the HOA hire effective managers and monitor and review their performance?
Rule making history and enforcement. An effective HOA has to be a bit like King Solomon. They must have specific and general rules in place to cover most contingencies, and be prepared to address problems that come up unexpectedly. Look out for long lists of petty rules that try to cover every narrow issue that ever emerged. On the other hand when truly troubling issues come up, like one we know of where a disturbed adult child continually harassed his neighbors, is the board up to the task of removing the source of trouble?

6. New communities often have a big challenge. A new development generally relies on the developer to perform the HOA management role. Then as the the community sells out the HOA is formed, although occasionally the developer maintains the management role over the long term. When the HOA is formed there are important matters to be addressed, like buying the amenities from the owner and setting critical policies and long term financial plans. Unfortunately this happens when the board is relatively inexperienced. Truly effective board members take a class or other study to learn how to be more effective. Relations with the developer can be tricky, particularly as the community sells out and the developer turns over assets and/or management. (See more on this in Part 3 of this series).

7. Costs. Many people complain about high HOA fees. You usually get what you pay for, although in a few communities perhaps they are too high vs. services provided. Regarding HOA fees, it is always important to know what is included. The link below gives average HOA fees for a $250,000 home in The Villages, which are slightly above $1000. However that includes $145 for amenities, plus real estate taxes, cable, garbage, gas/electric, water, development fees, telephone, and insurance. Most of the items in this HOA Fee Schedule have to be paid one way or the other – if you live in an HOA or not.

8. Be prepared to serve. Like we said earlier, there is no great reward for serving on a volunteer HOA board. But somebody has to do it to ensure the success of the community. Particularly if you have management, legal, or building related skills; and especially if you have common sense, volunteer to take your turn on the board. Someone has to run the place; you might as well know the person doing the job!

For further Reference:
Part 2: What You Should Know about Your New Home Owners Association
Part 3: What You Should Know When the Association Takes Over from the Developer
Home Owners Associations: Friend or Foe
Wikipedia article on Home Owners Associations (very good)
Community Associations Network
Community Associations Initiative

Posted by John Brady on November 9th, 2009


  1. As you note, John, it’s a good thing to consider and think about before purchasing a home. I live in a master-planned community with an HOA – the community doesn’t have to be age-restricted (mine isn’t). Some of our neighbors object to having to submit a color change for approval if getting their home re-painted; others have disliked receiving a letter reminding them to bring in their trash cans within a certain time after trash pick-up, or to remove stains from their driveways. Others want even more rules. So, read over the covenants that govern your community carefully before buying, and be sure you’re on board.

    by Jan Cullinane — November 11, 2009

  2. I am the newly elected President of a Homeowner’s association in MA. I agree it is essential to review the covenants (they usually pass with your title). It is also a good idea to get copies of the last several years worth of association meeting minutes to get a sense of issues affecting the association and how they were dealt with by the association’s Board and membership.

    by Kevin Price — November 11, 2009

  3. Two comments:
    1. Regard your HOA as an added set of your suburb’s zoning/co laws, which are an added set of your county’s zoning laws, which are an added set of your state’s zoning laws. Example (from above): if the suburban you wants to add onto your home, you need construction permits. If the 55+ you wants to repaint your house, you need HOA permission. Residential suburbs generally have restrictions about renting, home businesses, junk cars, lawn maintenance, etc. So do HOA’s. One difference: you get a set of HOA rules and regs that you must sign at closing. Zoning laws are strictly your responsibility.
    2. Given the present housing problems, be very aware of the financial base of your HOA. Too many foreclosures, abandonments, and dues-delinquent owners: Your HOA fees skyrocket.
    3. On a more numerous note: Florida state law specifically PROHIBITS any HOA from prohibiting (not reasonably restricting)the installation of clotheslines, solar or rain collectors, etc: “(1) Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter or other provision of general or special law, the adoption of an ordinance by a governing body, as those terms are defined in this chapter, which prohibits or has the effect of prohibiting the installation of solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based on renewable resources is expressly prohibited.”

    by old nassau — November 11, 2009

  4. Thanks for these wonderfully insightful and helpful comments. You guys are great! John

    by John Brady — November 13, 2009

  5. Having lived in a planned unit development with a HOA for the past 10 years and served on the board for 3, I can speak from experience in saying I look forward to retiring in a community without a HOA. The costs far outweigh the ineffectual benefits. At a most fundamental level, you are not gaining a new boss, you are joining a gulag when you buy into a HOA. You may think you own your home, but the HOA is God and your are nobody when it come to the rules. In my state they can take your home (as in foreclose on your property) for pretty much anything they see as an infraction of the rules. Your only means of appeal is with the board itself. You have no right to a fair and unbiased hearing with an independent arbitrator. And as far as qualifications for serving on the board, forget about it. Most people join to gossip about their neighbors and decide on how to enforce their petty taste preferences on the rest of community. Most of the things people think they need a HOA for are already covered under your city’s nuisance or enviromental hazards laws (like troublesome pets, and junk cars in the yard).

    by Ezra Moser — November 18, 2009

  6. Can a HOE covenant prohibit me from posting “No Trespassing’ sign on my property? I live in Alamosa, Colorado

    by sharon Mercier — September 27, 2010

  7. Sharon, Within reason and without discriminating or running afoul of state or federal regulations, an HOE can have any rule they want if properly passed by the board.

    by Admin — September 30, 2010

  8. HOA’s are like the Government, the ones that govern the least govern the best.

    by ron — May 7, 2011

  9. We lived in an HOA and it was the worse experience in our entire life! They “strong armed” the poor family on the circle and harassed the hell out of them! They “picked” them apart over any little thing! We had one old man who would have nothing better to do then ride around on his scooter in a circle and report to the Hoa anything on anyone “his” little group did not like! The circle was filled with mean spirited people! One decent man died in his home and was there 30 days till someone found him! His neighbor was a creep who harassed him day and night. You did not know this man even lived there but he was harassed to his dying day. His yard was spotless! Well, I got to all of these low life people. I sold my home for $200,000 less then what I bought it for!!! Ha, ha. Joke on all of you who harassed everyone and kept it tight!

    by Car60 — May 7, 2011

  10. Wow! What a sleeping dragon! I have had HOA’s in various situations. Some great experiences, some not so great. Is there any way to ask for references so that you can talk to people in the community prior to choosing to buy or rent in an area? You can read the minutes and the covenants and still not get the whole picture. The management company is often key. I am not planning to buy, but I could invision renting in different areas for the experience. In that instance I would not even have access to the same info a buyer would have.

    by LuluM — May 7, 2011

  11. We have a second home in a very nice community outside of Bethany Beach, DE called Waterside, and our HOA has been great. We have rules but most are reasonable and not petty. Ours is not a retirement community specifically, and I think the 55+ communities are where the problems tend to arise. Seniors are just pickier about stuff and more easily annoyed. We have a variety of ages in our community which is nice. Most people respect the rules too. Our HOA is very well run, with good folks on the board who are not just in it for their own interests, and we have the best property management co. in all of DE. So, it’s not bad everywhere folks. We run a tight budget and HOA costs are reasonable. Just do your homework and ask the right questions like the article says.

    by Christine — May 28, 2011

  12. We owned rural acreage that was governed by a poorly designed set of CCRs and HOA structure. I served on the board for three years and instead of being thanked by residents, I was belittled and harassed. It was one of the worst experiences we have encountered, and we are selling the last parcel after 15 years. We adore the property, have incredible views and had planned to retire there but decided that we weren’t HOA people. Think carefully about your views and personality before you buy into one.

    by Sue — May 29, 2011

  13. […] Further Reference Home Owners Associations – Friend or Foe Meet the New Boss – Your HOA How to Get Ready for Your New HOA What You Need to Know When Your Developer Turns the Community […]

    by » The Huffington Post’s New Devil – Home Owner Associations Topretirements — July 19, 2011

  14. There is another side to the HOA issue. I have lived in a townhome with no HOA. Getting all neighbors to agree and pay for maintenance of common facilities is often a nightmare. Our driveway looked like a moonscape for 3 years before we could get 10 out of 13 neighbors who use it to pay to have it repaved. I’ll live with HOA rules because at least obvious necessities are addressed in a timely fashion.

    by Bob — August 1, 2012

  15. My view is that all these problems arise because people don’t review the documents prior to buying. You mentioned reviewing the rules and the minutes. There are other documents you need to review: articles of incorporation, bylaws, and–most importantly–the declaration. And, of course, there are always people who think rules apply to everyone but them.

    If you want to park an RV on the street, don’t buy into a community governed by an association. If you want to paint your house any color you want or put a basketball hoop in your driveway, don’t buy in a community like this. There is a reason the regulations exist. The majority of the people in the community want it that way and it preserves their property values.

    I’ve lived in a community governed by a homeowners’ association for 20 years. I’ve served on the board for many of those years. We’ve had our problems, but they’ve all been resolved. It helps that we are a small association and most of the neighbors are considerate of one another. We consider ourselves a neighborhood and behave accordingly. We’re currently self managed and the board members regularly attend board training sessions. Our treasurer has, at her own expense, become a certified property manager.

    So, it’s not all bad. Do your homework. Read the documents. Meet the neighbors. Talk to the board. You can get a sense of whether or not these folks are people you would want as neighbors. And whether or not the rules and regulations fit with your lifestyle.

    by Linda — August 1, 2012

  16. Can’t emphasize enough, check out the rules and what is included in the line of services in the fees–lawn mowing included? water, sewer and garbage pickup? the pool and when it is heated and to what degree. Are there restriction on children, visitors if so what are they? can you place a sign on your lawn if you want to sell? What are the restrictions if you should ever want to rent your place. That can be a biggie. Is the place self managed or is there a management company running the place. Places run by a management company tend to be better run and rules more uniformly enforced. Remember, the fee imposed may not be too much considering all that you get in return. With the association you may well get peace of mind if you travel and do not want to worry about taking care of all that stuff that is your responsibility in a single family home on a street.

    by David M. Lane — August 1, 2012

  17. We live in a well-established neighborhood in Albuquerque, where the covenants were written in the late 1970s. They are short, to the point, and make sense to us. We were considering a possible move to the outskirts of the Denver metro last year, and reviewed the covenants for those locations we were considering. This convinced us not to do it. The degree of control over homeowners by a HOA is a personal decision, and we just aren’t into having someone tell us the legal size of a bird bath…for example. But the point of the article on HOAs is a good one. There shouldn’t be any surprises if people do their homework and decide what feels right for them.

    by Chuck — August 1, 2012

  18. I agree with Linda about HOA’s…there are some good and some not so good. I moved to our gated active adult community from a Northern Virginia community with no HOA. After 10 years of battling the zoning commission for delapidated properties, the zoning and health departments for overcrowding and multiple families issues, and putting up with tasteless neighbors who parked cars on the front lawns, planted corn in their front yards, decorated their lawns with every species of gnome known to man…I love my HOA and God bless them for having rules!

    by Shirley Kappa — August 1, 2012

  19. I lived in a co-op, HOA there was so strict that they insisted that no resident could have anything but white christmas lights! LOL!!!!

    by Marge — August 1, 2012

  20. I can’t get the part 3 link to work.

    Editor’s Note: Occasionally for some unexplained reason WordPress blogs (which this page is on) show a list of recent Blog posts instead of the intended page. If you click on the refresh/reload button the proper page should come up. We tested it and the link appears to be correct. Thanks for pointing this out

    by Ray — August 1, 2012

  21. We Picked to build our retirement custom dream home in Ocklawaha Florida because – no HOA Association – No fees – We take care of our own property – We can have all the toys – You can have a 1,2,3,4,6 no limit garage and sidepad. 1/4 acre or more of land, beautiful trees. We are building a home which we will use every room including our open Lania and screened in pool. Live free of restrictions – We can have all the conviences of a retirement community just 8 miles away at The Villages then go home to our own Oasis in the Forest. Have all the Best Neighbors who feel the same.

    by Michele — August 2, 2012

  22. I am busy getting ready for our condo association’s picnic on Sat. We love our condo association and the people in it. We have a sense of community and when we have something come up we are fortunate that we all agree on what needs to be done. We are also proud that we are developing a good reserve for when we need new roofs, etc.

    by Susan — August 2, 2012

  23. We lived in an HOA community in NJ for almost 23 years. If we added all the expense we laid out we could have bought our own pool, had our lawn mowed and hired a team to take care of the four letter word SNOW. We have a custom built home at Lake Weir Living where we enjoyed the freedom of choosing the color of our house..we have a Little Pink House (Only in America:)…we have a pool and our two dogs enjoy a private yard..Neil Schuster (Co-Managing Partner) and Adriana Rosas (Director of Marketing) were with us every step of the way while our house was being built..their personal attention makes the process an easy one..We have wonderful neighbors and more on the way…check us out at I know you will be glad you did!

    by Tina Beck-Shapiro — August 2, 2012

  24. I live in a neighborhood with a HOA. It is a good one and not run by idiots. The rules are reasonable and I have been here for 19 years and have no complaint. However, I would not move into another HOA community because I don’t trust most of them to be fair or even reasonable. Especially the ones for Seniors….they are the worst, they have nothing else to do but get into other people’s business and try to impose their taste on the entire neighborhood. Another reason for not being in an HOA development is that all problems become your problem. If you are in a condo and some of the areas need attention, it becomes your expense even if you are not able financially at the time. When you are an individual homeowner in a non HOA area you can decide when and if you will make improvements or repairs.

    by Kathryn Baker — August 3, 2012

  25. How and When is a person able to get access to HOA financial statements, past HOA meeting minutes, and a copy CCRC’s for review prior to closing on a sale of property in a development?

    by Danny — August 3, 2012

  26. @Danny, All HOA minutes & financial reports are available to the Public. Typically the HOAs records are kept somewhere on the premises, i.e. manager’s office, club house library, or building office for a condo establishment. You can review records at any time. Simply ask, and state that you’re an interest party. Good luck!
    – Neil

    by Neil S. Schuster — August 3, 2012

  27. My husband and I are planning to retire in Florida. We have decided we would rather not live in an area with an HOA. We don’t plan to play golf or live on a golf course and we have an RV, Harley Davidson, golf cart (the pugs like to ride in it) and we’d rather be able to have toys, etc.

    Can anyone tell us about the Vero Beach area? We have visited there a few years back but at the time didn’t look at it as a future home. Does it seem congested? Are the insurance rates high? This is such a good group to give well thought out information so we’re turning to all of you. Thanks so much!

    by Karen — August 4, 2012

  28. Karen: Michele is absolutely correct! Lake Weir sounds like the perfect place for you. You have got to check out their website! I’ve been getting info from them and AARP highly recommends them.

    by Kimbee Jeanq — August 5, 2012

  29. Kimbee Jeanq – I searched on AARP’s site and found no mention of Lake Weir on any of it’s pages. Where did they mention Lake Weir?

    by Mad Monk — August 6, 2012

  30. Thanks Michele and Kimbee for the information about Lake Weir. We’ve looked at their website and explored that idea but we really want to be further south where it’s warmer. Also, there are good points about being close to the Villages and there are also some not such good points too. We haven’t ruled it out yet. Thanks, again.

    Does anyone have any input about Vero Lake Estates in Vero Beach, Florida? Thank you!

    by Karen — August 6, 2012

  31. Mad Monk: I read about them in a past issue of Modern Maturity, the AARP magazine for boomers. I’m sorry; I don’t remember which issue.

    Karen: You are welcome! I want to be further south, also. I love the Gulf area, especially Venice. We’re going down there again tomorrow for the second time in two months…we’re doing some serious focusing on that area right now.

    by Kimbee Jeanq — August 7, 2012

  32. The safest way to avoid the inevitable frustration that occurs from a rampant board is to avoid HOAs. While their original purpose was reasonable and had potential, they can and generally will spiral out of control rather quickly and quietly when people with hidden agendas get themselves elected to the HOA board. People who are busy going about their personal business and attempting to enjoy their lives and retirement years don’t have the time or interest in becoming embroiled in a HOA board membership position. And to say that “everyone” can serve on one of the board is ludicrous, especially when considering the limited number of board seats and substantial number of residents in most communities, the odds of getting elected are dependent upon a form of grammar school popularity contest.
    If you want true happiness in your retirement years, perform due diligence before buying into a community with a HOA that has a mountain of rules and regulations that are intended to tell you what, when, where and how you can do most things around your home and the community.
    Then again, if you think you’d enjoy being a puppet, by all means jump into a HOA, but don’t forget to bring your checkbook because they aren’t cheap and the cost will always rise even though you probably won’t have a say in the matter.

    by Smokey — August 13, 2012

  33. Hear, hear, Smokey!

    by Neil S. Schuster — August 14, 2012

  34. Smokey’s comment certainly validates the experience my husband and I have had with an HOA. I served on the board for a while but the Great Spenders for Silly Reasons took over and won’t let go… they talk a story that resonates with just enough of the community to keep the votes. It’s sad because we have a fairly small association with many who are getting quite old and will find themselves bound by regs that hurt their abilities to handle their own financial affairs. Be careful – HOAs can be a great aid in keeping a community looking good and being what you want, but it can also reach deep into your bank account and your personal business.

    by Susan Dee — August 14, 2012

  35. While it’s true that many HOAs are more trouble than they’re worth, with so many individuals not caring about their communities, they are sometimes a necessary evil. I’ve lived in many communities with boards and without. I’ve been on the boards of a few as well. When the HOA board actually cares about the area, it makes a huge difference in appearance and value. While over-regulating anything is not needed, some basic rules are in order not to have the few ignorant folks tearing up your spot. I’ve seen homeowners have a “used car lot” on their property – really makes the value of the surrounding homes plummet. I’ve seen people put up fencing which looked like a 3-year old did it and after about 6 months it looked like a slum (they also took the same care with the outside of their house). Sadly, associations are needed because there are those people who couldn’t care less about their homes and surrounding property, which does affect neighbors and neighborhoods. Now, if the city or county rules are strict about things like this, then you really don’t need the HOA.

    by DrJoel — August 14, 2012

  36. My wife and I have been retired for 14 years and have lived in two different condominiums with condo boards over that period of time. I have served on the board twice and my wife once. We try to attend condo meetings and share our thoughts at meetings and share our thoughts with individual board members in between. We have survived in both condo developments. We did our homework before buying in each place. We are glad we live in a place that has rules in place and that there is someone looking after things. We are glad our place is gated, has assigned covered parking, a pool heated all gthe time and is well maintained. Both of our condo were relatively small but large enough to handle the needs of the place and be aware that this is our home. Both condos have been conservative in their fiscal affairs and our maintenance fees have been maintained in a conservative way. Where we are now, we have a consulting management company with a manager here once a week. The board works well with the management company. They take care of the research on projects and monitoring work done. Our board has an active role in all affairs of the place. The consulting management company costs us $10.00/mo. each unit and that is pretty good. We like the HOA and like that water/sewer, cable TV, and outside maintenance and care and heating of the pool year round is in the fee. Our fee is $235/month. We do not have reserves. There has never been a special assessment in this condo complex of more than $1,000 per unit. Each unit owner has been conscientious in paying their monthly fees and special assessments. Many of our unit owners maintain a special account at their bank called “special condo account” with enough money in it to cover special assessments when they occur. When we came here we had some concerns about the condo not having reserves but set the account up right away with $750.00 in it and we add $30.00 to it. That way we don’t have to worry about the association officers being tempted with large reserves at their disposal. No problem with that. Be sure to see how reserves are handled in any HOA you buy into. We probably will always live in a place with an HOA and are pleased with that arrangement.

    by David M. Lane — August 15, 2012

  37. My husband,Jack, and I have lived in Lake Weir Living for almost 2 years. We don’t regret our move! We have a brand new home — built to our specifications. We live on are large lot with a fence. And the best of all, we don’t have an HOA, CCD fees, or bond fees like other active adult communities. After adding up the difference between our communities and say The Villages (only 8 miles from Lake Weir Living), we saved nearly $150,000. Our neighbors are fantastic, everyone has a big toy and/or a motorcycle and we respect and care for our community without a governing homeowner association.
    No regrets!
    – Lucy of LWL

    by Lucy McCann — August 16, 2012

  38. looking for any comments, information anyone may have on retirement in coastal Delaware, Rehoboth, Lewes, Bethany, etc. We are seriously considering retirement there. We currently are in PA renting. Although PA’s state tax plan for retired people is excellent, they get you in property taxes and they are extremely high making purchasing a home in the $300,000 – 400,000 out of the question. DE has better taxes and a very good retirement situation that makes it more attractive. Thanks for any insight or experience in DE living.

    by Monica — August 17, 2012

  39. I plan to retire in 2/2013 at the age of 62. I have investments of $500,000 and would get about $1,075 a month in SS. My husband is retired and gets a monthly income of $2,145 and he will be age 69 this month. He does not have other investments. The $500,000 I have is money I inherited from my father at his passing and is in my name. I also have a pension of $200,000 that I will take a monthly income of about $1,200 per month when I retire. Our house is paid for and both our cars are 2009 and paid for. I will get my health and dental benefits from my employer in which I will not have to pay into. I just want to know if it looks like we will have enough cash for me to retire in Feb. 2013 – we would like to travel in our retirement years and this will take a lot of cash to do so.

    I am just so uncertain as to knowing if I am doing the right thing with retiring soon. Any thoughts you can give me – I do appreciate! Or if you know of another venture I can go through with asking questions like this.
    Come on retirees – give me some thoughts on this, please!

    Kathy J

    by Kathy J — August 17, 2012

  40. Does anyone have any input on Sun City Carolina Lakes???
    Planning to look there since my kids live in NC
    CAN someone let me know how that sun city
    Is for a single woman thanks:shock::shock::roll::roll:

    by Jean — August 17, 2012

  41. Kathy J, I would say go for it. From the information you provided you and your husband would would have 53,000 per year in income. Your home is paid for as is your health care both hugh plusses. Questions I would ask are, is your home bigger then you need, the tax rates in the state you live in and does your husband pay for his health care. One thing I’m looking at doing when my wife retires in the next year or two is selling my home and either finding a active senior apartment or townhome. Doing so will free us from the upkeep and maintenance of a home, snow removel, lawn care, etc. That in turn gives us the freedom of traveling when ever we choose to. Just my thoughts and I hope it helps.

    by lefty omally — August 17, 2012

  42. Kathy J…. It looks like you are in better shape financially than a lot of folks. Between the two of you, you can count on about $4,200/month. If you wanted to draw from your investments, a rule of thumb is to draw about 4% per year, which would be another $1,600/month. Without either house, car or med insurance to pay, you don’t have any major monthly bills.
    Yes, I would say you can retire now….if you really want to. If you hubby is retired and you are not in love with your job, go for it. You will find it very nice. You only go around once, shed the stress, enjoy each other, travel, learn something new, enjoy your favorite sport or hobby. You won’t regret it.

    by Bill — August 18, 2012

  43. What about hospitals and doctors? Florida is notorious for having bad ones, and that can be a real problem for retiree relocation can’t it?

    by May — August 18, 2012

  44. I am 62 and my husband is 72; he is retired and has a monthly income of 1100. I am still working, but would love to retire in January 2013-but that depends upon if we can sell out house. My retirement incomes will total about 1800 a month, but I plan to work part time to earn a little something. We want to go to South Carolina; the real estate is reasonable,property taxes are low and the weather is agreeable to us.The profit from selling our house will provide us a little cushion, plus enable us to put 20 percent down on a townhouse (that costs about $120,000.The only thing I am wondering about is my social security.I worked jobs that took SS out of my paychecks for about 20 years, and I taught school for 20 years (still do); why am I getting penalized for working in the public school system, when it comes to collecting my eraned SS? It baffles my mind.

    by Diana — August 19, 2012

  45. To Kathy J: IMHO, my advice to you us that you seek out the advice of a CFP-Certified Financial Planner or someone with another financial certification. Also, find a CFP that is fee based and one that isn’t trying to sell you an investment product. No, I’m not a CFP but a librarian by profession. I’ve done a massive amount of research to prepare for retirement, also read Jan Cullinane’s great book, The New Retirement (no, I don’t know her personally). As great and helpful as these folks are on this blog, you should seek out a professional to assist you in making your retirement decision(s). The latest statistics state that a married couple of about your age will need about $240K to cover medical expenses in their retirement years. Based on the amount you have saved, this stat may give you pause as you make this important decision.

    by Carole — August 19, 2012

  46. Diana, A good site for finding a fee-only Certified Financial Planner is (The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors). You can locate CFPs by zip code on this site.
    Carole, thanks for the shout-out!

    Jan Cullinane
    The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement
    The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life

    by Jan Cullinane — August 20, 2012

  47. To Kathy J: I wouldn’t use a blog on the internet for financial advice, but I did some quick calculations with your info. As someone suggested, 4%x500,000=20,000/YR,+1,075/MO+2145/MO+1200/MO(only for ~14yrs., assuming no growth)=6086/Month,73032/Year. If you can make it work great, but I would be conservative in your earlier years.

    by Billy — August 20, 2012

  48. To Kathy J,
    I concur with others suggesting professional advice. If you can be conservative on drawing down the $500,000 in early years you can continue growth on the remainder of that money. Not the best environment now for investing, but at least it is some offset if you invest. I am also sure that a financial advisor can be helpful in implications of retiring later, implications of spousal SSI timing and selections, etc.

    by Elaine — August 21, 2012

  49. It would be nice to have $500,000 or more for retirement but many of us baby Boomers hve been under employed and undrpaid and will be lucky to have $200,000 come retirement. There simply is no money to invest in retirement when you have bills to pay just to make it by in real life.

    by Jeff — August 21, 2012

  50. […] article is the 2nd of a 3 part series of articles on homeowners associations. The first article, “Meet the New Boss, Your HOA”, talked about many of the problems to be of aware of concerning Home Owners Associations. Part 3 […]

    by » What You Need to Know about Home Owners Associations Topretirements — October 15, 2012

  51. Due to title problems, only a quarter of a development we are looking at might be built. The HOA and the agents have said not to worry about the current negative equity position as the developer will make up the difference. How can we determine whether a smaller number of homes can support the large infrastructure (pool, clubhouse etc) and have sufficient reserves?

    by dfield — December 7, 2012

  52. I’m no expert, but when someone (HOA in this case) says not to worry, I would run like hell!

    by Jim — December 8, 2012

  53. I would step away fast from the development that might be only a quarter built out. We purchased a Condo in Wisconsin that the builder decided to only build one third of. It was supposed to be small to begin with, 12 units, and ended up being only 4 units. We had to self manage for awhile, when the developer stepped away, and he did, and yours will. Think logically about how he could afford to continue paying funds that all those undeveloped units would have contributed. We were able to finally hire a manager for a small amount of money. It was too much work for us to do alone. Also, it is hard to build up a reserve with a small number of units. But we were lucky we didn’t have any facilities to maintain, just building and grounds upkeep. Don’t go there..

    by Kathi M — December 8, 2012

  54. We moved into a “developing” subdivision 3 years ago. The Developer had recently passed, apparently leaving the Development to his 4 children. We were told there was no active association or dues when we moved in, and have never been asked to pay any. We did receive a copy of bylaws. That being said, any road maintenance (snow removal-we live in Michigan, there is A LOT) and care of common areas has been by volunteer service from the residents.

    The Developers son denies any accountability to these areas and claims that we must form an association to take care of them.

    Less than 50% of the lots have been sold/built upon.

    The Developer’s son has now listed the remaining lots for sale and is pushing for an association, yet the road is in poor condition and in need of repair which could cost in the range of $80,000. There are only 20 lots in the community. The bylaws state the Owner HOA should take over at 75% sold or 2 years, whichever came first. The lots remain at less than 50% sold and the 2 year timeline has been long surpassed (about8 years).

    It seems clear upon reading this article that the Developer or Developer Inheritor, did not pull weight for many years leaving the residence with extra work, time, and money spent to maintain the community. It also has become known that at some point the original owners had contributed $200/each to the developer- none of this money was ever seen or accounted for but is now going to be put into an account.

    I have also made attempts at the village and township offices for any other documents that might be public record but I am told there aren’t any.

    Any suggestions you might have on how to intelligently handle this situation to support the best interest of the homeowners would be greatly appreciated.

    by tonya — May 30, 2014

  55. […] 2 of that series was a helpful interview with the Executive Director of Meet the New Boss – Your HOA (the first in the 3 part series, with links to the other 2) (news about […]

    by » Home Owners Associations – Friend or Foe? - Topretirements — February 3, 2015

  56. […] further reading: Home Owners Associations: Friend or Foe? Part 1: Meet the New Boss, Your HOA Part 2: What You Need to Know About Homeowners Associations? Part 3: What Happens When the […]

    by » 10 Things Your Active Adult Community Won’t Tell You - Topretirements — March 10, 2015

  57. With regard to The Villages’ suggested monthly HOA fees of around $1000 listed in the article, I think the linked-to schedule indicates that the only required monthly fee is the amenity fee of $145. The other items do not appear to be included in thr HOA fee and are the responsibility of the owner, which sounds like most units in such a development. These other expenses are listed primarily for cost comparison. If someone reads this otherwise, please chime in.

    by Clyde R. — September 7, 2016

  58. Thank you for updating this article. It contains much needed information for those of us considering a move to a 55+ community. I’m looking forward to reading parts 2 and 3.

    by Libran — September 7, 2016

  59. A well written article and will include some of your ideas in my newsletter without plagiarizing. Thank you for recognizing the unsung heros, the board of directors who have the difficult job of pleasing everyone and keeping expenses down. I have served on our board for 10 years, 5 as president. After 50 years of unpaid volunteers our assessments are still only $87.00 per month which includes 9 hole golf course, swimming pool 3 spas, shuffleboard building, clubhouse with 3 pool tables, kitchen, library, exercise room, dog park so you see there are some good HOA’s out there. There are no added fees for use of these facilities 24/7. Our governing documents (which are available to the public) are reasonable (which they must be) and meant to protect the value of the owners property. We are 55+ and people move there for the peace and tranquility without children, motorcycles and barking dogs. Check out Panorama Village of Hemet, Inc. our website is We are proud of our community.

    by Ellen Brantley Bettis — September 7, 2016

  60. HOA business is a new reality to our “retired” life. We went in with the concept of order and comittment to a living situation. Overall has been really nice; the inner-workings seems to develop a style of its own but changes with personalities. Bottom line is interpreting the CCRs (rules & regulations) from original layout to current needs and issues. Some of the funniest Youtube videos are HOA meetings.

    by Gregory Matthews — September 7, 2016

  61. While the HOA concept is well intended, the predominant overriding factor ultimately becomes community domination by a repetitive group of homeowners who seem to have a burning desire to be deemed important.
    Ultimately, an HOA evolves into an expensive nuisance form of personal intrusion. There’s always the overriding assumption that “basic” homeowners can’t make logical home-related decisions, so the HOA will make these for them, often without offering an opportunity for rebuttal prior to their becoming the law of the community.
    Larger HOAs employ and extensive and expensive array of employees from a general manager to various office staff members. Also, community facilities and amenities are paid for by all homeowners via annual HOA dues and special assessments regardless of whether or not a particular resident ever uses them. Golf is the most costly and most covered up financial drain on residents.
    Having lived in several HOAs ranging in size from reasonably small to some comparable to an actual city, the ordeal is the same–intentional intrusion and annoying oversight put in place by a few power-hungry types that get perpetually re-elected to the governing board because everyone else is smart enough to avoid it.
    From my experience, the smaller HOAs with minimal intrusion and clearly written/understandable CC&Rs are the most comfortable for residents and seem to function in the smoothest manner. So, before buying a home in a HOA ruled community, attend one of their meetings to get a feel for the way thing tend to go during the course of the year. If you’re comfortable with what you hear, then move ahead, and if not then move on to another one because they’re everywhere.

    by Denny — September 7, 2016

  62. I say get to know the residents of the community and ask about the HOA. Here in DC we have a realtor that glosses over a lot of our issues to make sales. When I get to speak to a prospective buyer, I give them the real story on parking, renting out units (NOT allowed) and pets(also NOT allowed)—with cats and birds and rabbits we look the other way. NO dogs however unless they are therapy dogs. The pet rules will change eventually as we have a therapy cat now in every apartment practically so why have a no pet rule–we own our units. I could go on but just talk to several people who live in your perspective future home and HOA.

    by Jennifer — September 7, 2016

  63. No HOA for me thank you! I’ve been there done that and decided to leave !

    by Ron — September 8, 2016

  64. One way or another, the HOA will eventually intrude into your retirement life. This typically occurs because the boards are comprised of people that are desperate for attention and control. Like it or not, these people also write or rewrite the covenants, codes, rules and restrictions, and depending upon how power hungry they become you, as a homeowner, may or may not have an opportunity to vote for their approval or rejection depending upon their belief that their insider friends have the numbers edge in the community. Lots of luck getting any of the overturned once they’re in place because the price for hiring your own attorney to handle this potentially drawn out ordeal can cost you a small fortune, and even if you do there will be a lot of insiders functioning throughout the HOA ranks that will shun you and most anything you suggest in the future.
    The HOA concept was founded on logic and reason, but it almost immediately plummeted once those managing it realized their overriding power to control the community to their liking.
    Before deciding on moving into a HOA controlled community, speak with some of the residents who are not on or any any way associated with the board aside from being homeowners, and this way you’re likely to get the real scoop rather than the biased comments about the place being essentially perfect for all.

    by Denn — September 12, 2016

  65. Never lived in a HOA community however, I did own a timeshare and you could call that the ugly stepsister of HOA’s. I ‘owned’ one week for which I had to pay a yearly ‘maintenance’ fee. It started off fairly reasonable and the units were brand new. We expected since it was new there would be no big expenses with it for years down the road. Well, the unscrupulous owners who ran the place ran it into the ground and filled their pockets. They ran off and left the place a disaster. For reasons I don’t know, they somehow broke an elevator, the pool was ruined by using the wrong chemicals or wrong amount of chemicals. The place was about 10 years old and shut down due to this chaos. One of the timeshare owners who owned a huge amount of the units somehow took over and got the place back on its feet again. We all had to kick in money for a special assessment to get the resort fixed up. It was on shaky legs for years. Our maintenance fees went up and up year after year to the point it almost wasn’t worth it anymore. We couldn’t sell it so we offered it back to the resort but they wouldn’t buy it from us. So we just gave it back to get rid of it. Left a bitter taste in our mouths but we were fed up. This experience has prepared me to NOT want to buy into an HOA.

    by Louise — September 13, 2016

  66. Well said Denn! There are pros and cons to many HOA’s. One size does not fit all. I feel one benefit is that our property values have held steady in spite of the rules.

    by Jennifer — September 13, 2016

  67. Denn, truer words were never spoken. I have lived in a large condo community for 15 years and the last 6 have been a nightmare, to say the least. The HOA is now run by a group of retirees who are well past their prime. They have doubled fees, rewritten the docs, ripped out all of the beautiful landscaping, added unconstitutional exclusionary provisions to our docs so people can now not get government insured mortgages, and basically poisoned this community so that there is a mass exodus. I will have to sell this spring, along with hundreds of others. Our remedy is to hire an attorney, which nobody wants to spend money on. When I moved in here, the situation was entirely different.

    by MaryNB — September 13, 2016

  68. I’m remembering the HOA meeting in the episodes of Sienfield…..

    by Gary — September 13, 2016

  69. I’m still six years away from retirement and currently live in an older neighborhood with no HOA (built mid 70s). Fortunately, our county has good zoning enforcement that assists in keeping the worst offenders in line (such as unmowed grass, junk cars or too many cars, maintenance upkeep, etc.). As much as I am looking forward to moving to a newer community when I retire (tired of the seemingly constant upkeep of an older home), I have to say I am seriously gun-shy of HOAs so the trade-offs will be carefully researched over the next few years. Sigh.

    by Rosemary — September 13, 2016

  70. Re Denny’s comments about members of the HOA board being power hungry, etc. Sorry you’ve had such a negative experience. I am currently a member of two HOAs and have served on the boards of both. That has not been my experience. One cannot just arbitrarily re-write the documents–there are requirements for approval. Perhaps the majority of the community wished to do something you didn’t like.

    If it’s your way or the highway, I do not recommend that you live in an association. If you wish to share expenses for amenities you don’t want to pay for yourself, it can be a good solution.

    by Linda — September 13, 2016

  71. I live in a HOA community that has over 200 homes, with no age restriction. In our case, the HOA is run by stay-at-home Moms. The squabbling is continual, over everything from the color of flowers at the neighborhood entrance (the fight of the week is over annuals or perennials), to whether the letters on the sign with the pool opening hours are straight. Apparently the fact that the words aren’t aligned devalues our property and makes the neighborhood look careless and poorly run. Who knew? I get to observe the weekly power struggles on the neighborhood Facebook page. The dreaded “guy with the clipboard in the little white car” is spotted driving around the neighborhood every week, checking grass height, weed, dirty houses (you get a letter if your house should be powerwashed), decorations, stuff in yards, visible garbage cans, or any other offense. When he enters the neighborhood, someone posts an alert on that Facebook page and people start running out to bring in their kids’ toys, etc. Two weeks later, there’s a flurry of postings as people complain about the violation letters that were issued from his latest inspection. Our HOA fees are very low at less than $70/mo which includes garbage pickup and street lights, there are holiday events in the community center for children, and we have large pool and playground. The benefits of a large community is that the cost of those amenities are spread over many homeowners. The homeowners scrutinize the HOA budget carefully each year. Property values in the neighborhood are stable, so I guess the Mom Brigade and Management Company are actually doing a good job.

    Realistically, unless we live out in the country with no neighbors, freedom seems pretty illusory these days. If living in an apartment, our landlords control our lives. Most communities will have zoning rules governing yard height, junk cars in yards, etc. If a town has pools, a community center, etc., taxes can be viewed as a form of HOA fees to pay for those amenities.

    I do worry that a 55+ community will trade the Mom Brigade for retirees with nothing better to do than to watch and manage their neighbors. That book Leisureville also flagged a possible problem with HOAs in 55+ communities where the population ages in place. Younger retirees in new communities may be much more willing to keep up neighborhood amenities and pay for reserves than older retirees on fixed incomes. The theory is that as communities age, it will be harder to convince residents on fixed incomes to agree to assessments for community benefits they no longer use, or for capital improvements when those residents don’t foresee getting personal benefits in the future. I see in the Villages blogs that there can also be a problem with abandoned homes and the payment of fees when the aging population passes away or goes into residential care.

    I’m still leaning towards 55+ communities for the fellowship. I’ll research the HOA and finances of the community, but as someone noted the situation can always change pending the next round of elections. (And no thank you – after 40+ years working in a high-stress position, I have no interest in continuing work for a community HOA myself)

    by Kate — September 14, 2016

  72. Linda, our documents do not give the owners a vote on anything except the Board members every 3 years. All documents are not the same.Nobody would live in a community if it was their way or the highway. I am quite sure that the Board Members pat themselves on the back regularly, despite discontent in the community and a mass exodus of long time homeowners. It is sad to see the destruction of a community.

    by MaryNB — September 14, 2016

  73. Thank you Kate for the post and the snort/chuckle! Please please please keep us updated on your HOA research! I am not adverse to paying HOA fees, but I would like them to be reasonable and although I *thought* I wanted a drama-free neighborhood – yours sounds downright entertaining what with the flurry of activity when the white car, clipboard dude arrives!

    by Rosemary — September 14, 2016

  74. I have lived in a HOA community for 20 years (88 single family homes) & feel the HOA has preserved our property values & dealt with many difficult situations. For example, recently several homes were for sale. One potential buyer wanted to build a metal barn in his backyard to house 10 cars. The HOA said no dice. Same to a potential buyer who wanted to turn the home in to a music school with up to 30 cars parked at a time. For a while we had a “drug house” on my street. The HOA took control to get the grass mowed & beer bottles, trash, etc cleaned up- then put a lein on the house for reimbursement. The house was eventually sold, redone & is now beautiful. So in my case, the HOA is a great thing to have. If we did not have the HOA, I feel that the value of our home would have gone down. We also have many nice community social events, etc. Our HOA is made up of volunteer, property owners. The pride & caring of our HOA has made our neighborhood a great place to live.

    by Lisa — September 14, 2016

  75. I live in a community in Phoenix with a HOA and we have very reasonable fees, and lots of amenities. We have over 1500 homes managed by a professional HOA company. Everything is very transparent, and no issues. Do your homework and ask lots of questions. Check out the financials of the community and reserve funds, etc.

    by Loralee — September 15, 2016

  76. MaryNB, I’ve never heard of an HOA where the governing documents could be amended by the board. The articles and bylaws possibly, the rules for sure, but the declaration–there is no way. And the declaration is what governs everything else. So I’d take another look at your documents if I were you.

    by Linda — September 15, 2016

  77. Linda, now you have heard of it. Yes, way. Seeing is believing.

    by MaryNB — September 16, 2016

  78. MaryNB, Show the governing documents to an outside lawyer with knowledge of HOA/community association law and no connection with your HOA. They may have been written in contravention of existing state law and the part giving the board the right to amend may be void.

    by Clyde R. — September 16, 2016

  79. Our documents were written prior to our state’s Condo Act and adoption of the Act requires a 100% vote of homeowners. We are exempt.

    by MaryNB — September 17, 2016

  80. Mary, I don’t know what state you’re in, but my Minnesota association’s documents were also drawn up prior to the latest common interest community act. Even before that, there were laws about declarations. The suggestion by Clyde that you have a lawyer look at the documents is an excellent one. Prior to your state’s condo act, your association was probably covered by the laws that govern nonprofit corporations.

    by Linda — September 17, 2016

  81. Linda, myself and several other attorneys have looked at the situation. It is as I say.

    by MaryNB — September 18, 2016

  82. Mary, too bad you didn’t do your due diligence before moving in there. I would think it would be grim living in a community that can be ruled by a few dictators.

    To everybody considering moving to a community governed by a homeowners association–read your documents! You would be surprised by how many people don’t. We had a person move in here with a huge motor home. Which he wanted to park on our private road. He didn’t believe us when we told him he couldn’t. A fine of $100/day got his attention and he sold and moved out.

    by Linda — September 18, 2016

  83. Thanks for all the input,Linda. I did not plan to stay more than a few years,so at the time it didn’t bother me, It was my post divorce abode and the only condos in town at the time. Seems some people on boards know it all!

    by MaryNB — September 19, 2016

  84. Mary, I don’t think some people on the boards know it all or are pretending to know it all. Some of us have long experience with HOAs. I thought the point of these boards was to share our experience with others.

    by Linda — September 19, 2016

  85. Rosemary: I really go back & forth on the HOA issue. This week’s Facebook fight is over flags at our entrance. At first, some vets in the neighborhood thought the US flag was being taken down and blasted the HOA for being unAmerican. No, it was being replaced with a new one. Then others chimed in that the flags were an unnecessay expense for the community ($35-40 for US and state flags, and slightly more for a local flag, which were being replaced annually). Someone argued that the flagpoles are unsightly. Others claim the flags are the only reason they chose homes in this neighborhood. And we’re off to the races… this HOA stuff can be exhausting.

    by Kate — September 21, 2016

  86. My husband & I are considering a move to Heritage/Wake Forest, NC. We will be relocating from Florida & will know no one there. Does anyone know how strict their HOA is there? I have read the covenants & they don’t appear too bad but sometimes problems occur that are not covered.

    by Cathy W — September 21, 2016

  87. We live in an over-55 retirement community in California. My husband and I did our research before we bought 4 years ago, and were fortunate to purchase into a development where we own our homes and lease the land from a corporation we bought shares in. This means the residents elect a governing board and hire a manager. We have by-laws, rules and regulations, and a lease agreement for the land our house sits on. Legally some HOA laws apply, but not all. The best part is that because the residents are shareholders in the corporation that owns the land, no outside “owner” or developer can raise our rates, only the shareholder/residents. We pay 1/4 of what nearby HOA developments do. Yes, we had to buy the initial shares for $7500, but that is a bargain over time compared to the $1200 monthly rates other HOA communities pay. We have a clubhouse, pool, tennis, bocce ball and pickle ball courts, numerous clubs and activities, well- kept and well-lit roads, and a beautiful grassy park with trees. It took us a year to find this area – later we learned there are several similar developments on the coast. And yes, we have had dysfunctional boards, but things are much improved in the last year after new board members were elected and a fantastic manager was hired from Florida. We paid his travel expenses to land him, LOL. Both my husband and myself volunteered some time to help improve our community. We have 285 homes and most residents are well-meaning. The 2 or 3 pain in the necks are listened to politely at the monthly meetings but pretty much ignored.

    by Marianne — September 21, 2016

  88. Marianne, I’m just starting the relocation process and am wanting to explore CA although my wife isn’t too enthused at the moment in light of the cost of living. Which development are you in? And do you have any comments on the living expenses there versus other states you investigated? Thanks.

    by Dave — September 22, 2016

  89. Dave,

    Woodland Estates in Morgan Hill, CA

    Your wife is correct about the cost of living compared to states like Arizona and Nevada. Northern CA, especially north of the Bay Area, is more affordable. We are life-long CA residents (I’m 4th generation) and have children and grandchildren here, so we really didn’t look outside northern CA. However we travel quite a bit, including in the western U.S. in our RV, so we are aware we could live more cheaply elsewhere. As retired teachers we did an ok job of preparing for retirement but if we need to move out of state due to rising costs, it’s something we could do. There are similar resident-owned retirement communities in other states — it just requires some searching.

    by Marianne — September 22, 2016

  90. Thanks, Marianne.

    by Dave — September 23, 2016

  91. We had a Member ask recently for tips on how an HOA can find a good management company. Word of mouth is a good way, particularly if you can reach out to another community within your area for a recommendation. You could also use organizations like Joe West’s to identify possible candidates. Choosing a good company is really important, as they can be very helpful in making sure you are in compliance and providing helpful advice and guidance.

    by Admin — November 22, 2020

  92. At our co-op we Member owners found that we could do a better job of management than by using a commercial management company. It has been this way since 1953 and we maintain a good deal of control over management. We do use an outside accounting firm to handle our monthly fees and to pay the bills and so far so good.

    by Jennifer — November 23, 2020

  93. Speaking of HOA drama, see the below email I just got today from my HOA:

    Dear Members,

    The purpose of this communication is to inform you that the ( Court )issued an Opinion and Order on Saturday, ( ) , 2020, finding that the Special Meeting called by ( ) on ( ) 2020, was “not properly called and all action taken at that meeting is null and void.” The Court further found that “ (names) are not Officers or Directors and are not authorized to transact business on behalf of the ( HOA ).” The Court concluded that “the current Officers of the ( ) HOA are ( ), President; ( ), Vice President; ( ), Secretary; and ( ), Treasurer.” In reaching its decision, the Circuit Court reviewed many written legal briefs and held a full evidentiary hearing where it took multiple witnesses’ testimony and reviewed many exhibits that were introduced at that hearing.

    Now, there is no doubt that the Special Meeting held on ( ), 2020, was not properly called, that new directors were NOT elected at that Special Meeting.

    That ( names ) are the true and lawful board.

    Unfortunately, the HOA and its lawful Board of Directors, including( names) , have expended substantial financial HOA resources in litigation having to protect the HOA from the action taken that they knew was improper and which they warned was improper PRIOR to litigation being necessarily instituted. Ultimately, they proved to be right in a court of law.

    The litigation is not over, however, because ( names ) are now challenging the amendment to split the ( ) HOA.

    However, the HOA and your Board are committed to fully completing the split because a clear majority of the members voted in favor of the split, because the amendment has already been recorded with the County Clerk, and because the amendment and the split have been accomplished pursuant to the governing documents and ( ) law. The Board anticipates having to needlessly expend thousands of more dollars to fight to protect the will of the members, the governing documents, and the action taken by the HOA. The Board deeply apologizes for expending valuable HOA resources in litigation, but it has a fiduciary duty to protect and enforce the governing documents, to protect the HOA and its Board, and to carry out the unequivocal will of the membership.

    The Board of Directors

    by Brutus — November 24, 2020

  94. Why Officer’s and Director’s Insurance is absolutely essential.
    Especially if you are on of those officers!

    by George Stickel — November 25, 2020

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