Riverside Realtor Blog - Alma Dizon

Alma shares her experiences and observations as a Realtor in Riverside California.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Replacing CC&Rs with HOAs

I've been seeing more and more new tracts pop up with very low HOA fees but no common space whatsoever and no shared maintenance of front yards. Where do the fees go? Actually, that's an interesting question, and it's all about controlling your neighbors (and you) to keep property values up.

For decades, CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions) were the accepted way to control the use of property and are still handed down with the deed. They can have very specific rules, such as no parking on lawns, taking in garbage cans, and fence heights. However, without a governing body to enforce these rules, things can get lax in neighborhoods where people decide to mind their own business.

So builders have implemented another strategy, that of organizing new tracts into home owners' associations that exist primarily to keep everyone in line. Depending on your lifestyle preferences, this can be a good or a bad thing. The good news is, you won't have to look at unsightly messes that your neighbors can't get around to cleaning up. The bad news is, you may not be able to paint your color fuschia, and it's your absolute favorite color. And then HOA's are made up of fallible human beings. For some friends of ours who got cited for parking an 18-wheeler (that wasn't theirs!) near their house for 2 weeks, their HOA can be annoying.

There was a time when a PUD (Planned Urban Development) meant tiny lots, a gate, and a tot lot, sometimes a pool, and very little parking. They tended to have lower fees than condos because the houses didn't share common walls, and thus they didn't have to share earthquake insurance. Now, I'm seeing more and more tracts of large houses with big yards also coming under the title of PUD. Without the common areas and gates, the fees are on the low side, and no one has to get nervous about attempting to reach the parents of the obnoxious teens across the street who dump their fast food little in the gutter.

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