|WHAT PROPERTY VALUES?|
Opinion By Jan Bergemann
Published July 17, 2008
For many years owners living in mandatory homeowners' associations and potential buyers have been told: "Homeowners' associations provide an added layer of protection to help protect your quality of life and property values. It's worth every penny you pay in association fees!"
Today's non-existent real-estate market makes one thing very clear: YOU HAVE BEEN HAD!
The more regulations and restrictions your association has, the more problems you encounter when trying to sell your home -- for whatever reason you want or need to sell. In recent weeks I'm receiving more and more telephone calls and e-mails from desperate families trying to sell their homes, but can't sell it to potential buyers because of existing restrictions the buyer doesn't like.
Especially sellers in so-called “55+ communities” and associations with pet and rental restrictions are taking a big hit -- or are plainly unable to sell.
couple in an HOA in Central Florida found a buyer from
couple in the
People that complain about problems in associations are always told: “You signed the contract and you shouldn't have bought the home if you didn't like the rules.” Not only is it a fact that most of these controversies are caused by changes to these restrictions, not the restrictions initially in place, and that many restrictions were plainly not disclosed.
Or were you informed that you would have to pay your neighbor's cable bill after he abandoned his home? Or that you would have to pay for the neighbor's lawn mowing after the home was lost to foreclosure? I don't think so!
More and more associations have to raise their fees to cover the bills -- even levy special assessments to cover the shortfall of income caused by many homes abandoned or foreclosed. And homeowners feel that associations are really not protecting their quality of life nor are they protecting property values. Associations actually cause an added liability that can financially ruin a family's budget, harming especially the elderly on a fixed income!And if you get in a financial bind your "friendly" neighborhood association will be the first to go after you. Association attorneys are telling the board members that it is important to beat other creditors to the courthouse steps. Many boards just don't care if your family was hit by a laid-off bread winner, or serious health problems that eat your savings. "We're always in a race to the courthouse steps." You don't believe it? Please read: Neighbors Kick Family Out Of Home
While the government waits a few years before foreclosing on your home for unpaid property taxes and even the mortgage company will try to work with you to avoid foreclosure -- normally considered the step of last resort -- your formerly "friendly" neighbors have no qualms about kicking you and your family out of your home, even for very small amounts of unpaid fees!
the number of abandoned homes and foreclosures increasing daily, the
situation in our associations is getting worse.
For some of these duped homeowners it will be a rude awakening and they will ask the question:
"What happened to my property values and the added layer of protection I was promised?"