Home Owner Associations Are Love-Hate Relationships

Home Owners Associations are a love-hate relationships. Cats and dogs

What?

People that live in residential communities are usually governed by HOA (Home Owner Association) rules and regulations. In Michigan, on our Purchase Agreements Realtors check the box that the buyer will review the HOA Documents, or their attorney will review the association documents within so many days.

Not a problem, it is a standard business practice here. People want to know what the rules and covenants are prior to proceeding with the purchase of a new home. Can I have a pool? Does it have to be in the ground or can it be above the ground? How many pets can I have? If I want to add a garage, can I? Who approves any design changes? Etc…

In most of the nicer subdivisions you have to get permission from the board for any improvements.  My experience in my own subdivision is the people who run for the board, have no pets and no kids. They take it upon themselves to police the neighborhood. Why don’t they go volunteer at a non-profit if they have so much time on their hands ?

Tonight I had a call from one of the board member in Hunters Ridge Subdivision. It was ironic as I was going to be writing a post on HOA anyway. She called to ask, “What is the ramp in your front yard?”

So I told her about Allyssa and that is was temporary. I said do you really think I would have put up a ramp like THAT, if it was really not necessary? She was very nice about it, but give me a break! I’m not that stupid. Maybe I should have mentioned the Handicapped and Disability Act, and that it is a protected class in Michigan. I asked her if anyone had complained and she said one person had called her to ask about it. But, our annual meeting is coming up in September and she wanted to be prepared to answer if it came up again.

Several years ago, one of my neighbors was going to use brick pavers in their drive-way and they were at the end of their drive-way too long. So they slapped a big lien on their house. I also had a neighbor that her husband was with Ford. He was transferred shortly after they built their house for a year. They had a friend living there to take care of the place. He moved out about a week before they returned and the HOA had a lien on their house, because the grass was too long. Welcome Home Neighbors!

I know rules and regulations are good, they keep people from putting farm animals and trailers on the property. We all want our neighborhoods to look good. But, give me a break.

HOA rules are only as good and as gracious as the people who enforce them. See what I mean by a love-hate relationship?

I bought a condo for my two sons, a couple of years ago in TN. I kept asking my realtor for the Association By-laws, and she said I would get them at closing. Had a read them I would not have bought the condo. Two sons, who like to play guitar and sing at night. Needless to say, I sold the place after a year. Too many letters telling me they were too loud. No electric equipment, just acoustic guitars and in Nashville!

Last year I had a client from Maryland. She asks me to please not show her houses in a neighborhood where the neighbors were nit-picky. Now how do you deal with that?

What is your experiences been with HOA?

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About missycaulk

As a transplanted Southerner, I have lived and raised five children in the Ann Arbor area for the past 31 years. I know that this is a truly great place to live. My husband Mike (who personally trained our three quarterback sons) and I are deeply rooted in this warm and spirited community, which is a great advantage when it comes to finding your family the right home in the right place at the right price. I get dozens of referrals every year from former clients, many of whom have become friends, because they value not only my professionalism and knowledge of the market, but my honesty and straightforwardness. Purchasing a home is one of the bigger things we do in life. I promise you that the process of doing this, as well as the result, will be enjoyable and rewarding for both of us. In order to server you better, 3 Buyer Specialists work with all our buyers. This blog is about Ann Arbor and the surrounding area's real estate. It is only my opinion.
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20 Responses to Home Owner Associations Are Love-Hate Relationships

  1. Missy – it always amazes me that some HOAs are so on top of things and others so lax. Although in this case I can say, I think this was a little extreme – at least you know they are watching out for your home values. Hope your daughter is doing well.

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  3. Stephanie Edwards-Musa says:

    Missy, HOA’s are a true love/hate relationship. They help maintain property values much of the time yet tell you how long your grass can be. :) Great job showing your area residents the positives and negatives.

  4. Paula says:

    Missy – It is a love-hate relationship. There are those who love the benefits and those who hate the restrictions. I have heard of HOA’s who have called to let a friend of mine know their front porch light was burned out. When I lived in Phoenix, a man actually shot the HOA president.

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  7. Mana Tulberg says:

    I personally can not live in a community governed by an HOA. I love to make changes, have friends over, and most of all we are a very loud family.
    However, I have clients who would only look at homes inside a community that has an association.

  8. Rita Taylor says:

    Missy,

    Your personal stories help to illustrate how HOAs affect you. Sounds like your neighborhood has a very active HOA. With someone asking not to be in a restrictive or nit-picky HOA I always try to ask what they mean by picky and what they plan to do with the property so I know which neighborhoods will work for them based on needs like allowing a fence.

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  11. Paula says:

    Missy – If my clients do not want an HOA, I don’t show them. Now determining which is picky and which is not is a personal prefernce which I could not decide for the client.

  12. Missy – this is great info for home buyers to know – well done and helpful.

  13. Susie Roscoe says:

    You would think they would’ve called sooner to see WHAT WAS UP vs. criticizing the ramp for Alyssa. It’s no wonder people show up with their swords drawn when answering the door for anyone from the HOA!

  14. I sell a lot of townhomes in Minneapolis. My experience has been mostly positive with the HOA’s. I have never lived where there is an HOA, myself, so I don’t know how I would feel about it as a homeowner. Sometimes, the homeowners complain, but when it comes to sell, a well-run HOA will ensure that there are no junk cars on the front yard, or unsightly structural additions.

  15. Missy – I think HOA’s can have a positive impact on the neighborhood. But being inflexible in situations such as yours with Allyssa and an oversight with the neighbor having the house sitter doesn’t help the quality of community.

  16. Maggie Dokic says:

    Missy, I find the same thing here. While people like the fact that HOA’s keep things “in line” they hate the persistence with which it is sometimes done. More often than not, my buyers will tell me to look for homes without HOA’s.

  17. John Glover says:

    We are a seventeen unit condo association in Michigan, with seven members serving on the board. One them gets paid for being our accountant. Is this payment legal?

  18. MIssy Caulk says:

    I am not an attorney, but it should be fine if it is disclosed, and if it is in your bi-laws for one paid position.
    If you want a definitive answer then ask a local attorney.

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