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House Hunters: Buying in the USA

Readyville, TN

I wonder how many guests this couple can host at once? Why would you need a gigantic kitchen when you're preparing food for maybe 4 guests? I've never stayed at a B&B where there were children or where I was living in close quarters with the owners. Their space was very separate from mine, as was the kitchen. It looks like a 24/7 job to me where you can't get away from difficult clients. Before I'd ever stayed at a B&B, I watched "Newhart" and did not see any glamour in the profession. Way too much responsibility. More power to them if they can pull it off, and enjoy it, however.

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Atlanta - The Bickersons.  

Her and her "I'm a cool girl!"   If you have to say it 5 times in the episode, its likely you are anything but.  She seemed ridiculously high maintenance.

In the end I really liked the house they picked - which was everything he wanted from the start.

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Orlando couple - I laughed when the wife said the front door could make or break the house because you can buy a new door, paint an existing door ... 

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Orlando Couple

And everything was "cozy". She was cozy, the house was cozy, she even declared the carpet cozy.

I fail to understand the agent's comment that paying $300 every quarter for HOA fees "would pay for itself".

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Atlanta Couple - The "cool girl card" was revoked a long time ago for her. She was insufferable.  Part of me wondered if she was going to end up resenting her daughter for making her "grow up".    I live in an industrial style loft but I couldn't imagine living in one with a child.  Plus it was pretty ugly.  I did love the one they ended up with.  I'm glad he got what he wanted.   

 

TN B&B - I totally agree with the previous poster who was worried about the river and their baby son running around.  It was gorgeous though!

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Iowa episode:  I loved all the houses and the town looked like a nice place to live. The neighbor was a sweetheart.  It was nice to see the wooden floors under that horrendous carpet.

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Iowa Couple

I would've like to see that couple purchasing a home in Palm Springs.

It's nice to see how much you can buy with $150K in other places. In a way, it's also nice to see old-looking places, though I doubt that I'd want to buy one of them without a very impressive reno budget.

Does HH have a checklist for the buyers? Home Styles, pick one....Extra points for making up names. Dislikes, pick one... Extra points for selecting ghosts, birds, trees, wood floors, etc. Adjectives to use: tight, dated, awesome, claustrophobic, etc.  Other descriptive phrases/exclamations: clean lines, natural light , "this is what I'm talking 'bout", "I absolutely love it". Shenanigans: use your wingspan to show how "tight" a room is, close door when partner goes inside a small closet, indicate a closet isn't big enough for shoe collection, or exclaim that a room is just right for sports memorabilia, measure every stove for your once-a-year (if ever) turkey. 

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Don't forget "climb into tub or shower fully clothed to see if you fit" and discussion of whether or not the dog will be happy in yard. 

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And "I can see myself" plus all the gallons of coffee consumed on balconies, terraces, or patios.

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One expression I don't really relate to: "I could not be happier". I find myself thinking, "Oh, I'll bet you could."

I should upload a PDF checklist for download and use while watching the show. I think Shenanigans alone would be fun to watch for.

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1 hour ago, Kohola3 said:

And "I can see myself" plus all the gallons of coffee consumed on balconies, terraces, or patios.

and of course, the requisite vegetable chopping scene at the end when they are preparing to "entertain." I believe at some point upthread somebody created a Bingo game based on "Shenanigans" 

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3 hours ago, mojito said:

indicate a closet isn't big enough for shoe collection

That's the part I never understood. I've never owned more than twenty pairs of shoes at any given time, that includes heels, flats, boots, sneakers, and sandals. Four or five pairs are always on the shoe rack in the coat closet depending on the season, the rest in transparent boxes on the floor in the back of the bedroom closet. Never had a problem storing my shoes even in the tiniest apartments.

4 hours ago, Babalooie said:

Iowa episode:  I loved all the houses and the town looked like a nice place to live. The neighbor was a sweetheart.

I loved the neighbor too. Certain media like to push the narrative that people in rural areas are homophobic - glad HH is showing that's not always the case.

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7 minutes ago, slasherboy said:

PASS-THROUGH!!!!

So, instead of running in circles, they now run up and down a hallway. 1) kids run 2) you're the parent. It's Texas - send them outside.

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McKinney, TX family

Maybe the kids have behavioral problems. I don't understand how you home school kids yet are unable to keep them from running around the house. Don't you need to control kids, even in a home school? And even if you can't control them, in a few years, will they still be scampering around? Chessie, I'm with you, send those kids outside. Nice house. This is the look of new houses in these parts with the stone, dark brick, more elaborate-looking masonry, and fancy-looking garage doors facing front. Allies and rear garages--a boon to burglars--went by the wayside in the 90s. I felt bad that they lost the chickens. I thought that homes built on acreage would allow chickens (I believe the second home was on 2 acres). 

Edited by mojito.
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Poor Chicken Lady, if only someone were ever around to tell the children not to run in the house!

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9 hours ago, chessiegal said:

So, instead of running in circles, they now run up and down a hallway. 1) kids run 2) you're the parent. It's Texas - send them outside.

I'm so glad I wasn't the only one who was like " ... Is this a real problem? Send them out to play." They kept talking about how they wanted a yard and I was like "Right! For the kids!"

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Poor Chicken Lady, if only someone were ever around to tell the children not to run in the house!

I'm now seeing why the husband wanted to trick out the home technologically. He wanted a button for controlling the kids.

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12 hours ago, slasherboy said:

PASS-THROUGH!!!!

Was that even the correct usage of the term? Here in NYC, a pass-through kitchen means a cut-out in the wall to create counter seating, make an enclosed kitchen feel open, and yes, pass dishes through to the dining area, e.g.:

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ-hwh6iCkIQoE0EiQB1ht

For someone who seemed invested in her chickens, the wife gave up rather easily when she saw the fancy new house with the large master closet for her infrared sauna. It's a shame, because chickens are great for kids. My family had chickens when I was little and I loved them. They were fun to chase around the yard, I had the responsibility of feeding them, and I learned where our breakfast (and occasionally dinner) came from.

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7 minutes ago, chocolatine said:

Was that even the correct usage of the term? Here in NYC, a pass-through kitchen means a cut-out in the wall to create counter seating, make an enclosed kitchen feel open, and yes, pass dishes through to the dining area, e.g.:

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ-hwh6iCkIQoE0EiQB1ht

For someone who seemed invested in her chickens, the wife gave up rather easily when she saw the fancy new house with the large master closet for her infrared sauna. It's a shame, because chickens are great for kids. My family had chickens when I was little and I loved them. They were fun to chase around the yard, I had the responsibility of feeding them, and I learned where our breakfast (and occasionally dinner) came from.

Your pic is what most people think of when they hear pass through.  The wife was using the correct terminology, but just not in the common way.  She was basically trying to get away from rooms that have two entries so the kids couldn't run in circles.  Here is a pic with both styles of pass throughs. The kids are too busy chasing each inside the house! I agree, it's Texas, send those kids outside!!

 

 

   5aaa959d70bed_passthrough.thumb.jpg.143525561043a24a1be9edcee29a0214.jpg

  In the meantime, the husband didn't want a house where he had to manually turn on light switch?  UGH!  

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That Texas couple was one of the weirdest couples I 've ever seen on HH.  I couldn't understand her pass through comments..not once..not twice...maybe twenty times!!!  We get it.  I can't imagine that being such a problem.. stop the kids from running or send them outside..it's not rocket science.  And the husband with his smart home.  I just rolled my eyes.

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8 hours ago, juliet73 said:

 In the meantime, the husband didn't want a house where he had to manually turn on light switch?  UGH!  

I was laughing when the wife was weirdly poking the air and he was like, is this you turning on light switches? She was right that turning on a light switch is not a big deal (and really, you press a screen to turn on a smart home light, what's the difference?) but she looked very odd.

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I was half awake late last night/early this morning when this episode repeated (the old sinus/ear/upper respiratory infections kept me up a good part of the night).  I was like, am I hearing things, she doesn't want a pass-through because the kids will run around in circles??   I was telling a friend about this today, and asked, were you ever allowed to run (like laps and such - as the mom here was describing) in your house as a child?  Nope.  If we wanted to run around, we knew to go outside.  Ta-da.    Even in my semi-groggy sniffling state, I was like mom, you home school these children.  They apparently listen to you in class.  How hard would it be to have a little learning segment on why we don't run in our home?  You can get hurt, you can ruin things, it's not polite, etc.  Or, as the children start to run even down the hallway, you stop them, then and there - and say nicely, we do not run in the house.  They do it again, time out or whatever punishment you say.  We don't run in the house - do it in the backyard.   

I missed that the husband doesn't want to manually turn on a light switch.  Is he afraid he'll get shocked?  I don't get it.  

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I’m glad I wasn’t the only person thinking, “Why don’t you just teach the kids not to run in the house?”  Besides, her definition of pass-through was a kitchen with two entrances.  Isn’t that, like, 99.9% of all kitchens, ever?  If she’s this bad at discipline, her kids are going to end up in public school as homeschool failures. 

Also, I get wanting all the smart home “toys”, but isn’t easier to choose and install exactly what you want rather than what some builder chose?

All in all, they were a weird couple. 

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21 minutes ago, irisheyes said:

I’m glad I wasn’t the only person thinking, “Why don’t you just teach the kids not to run in the house?”  Besides, her definition of pass-through was a kitchen with two entrances.  Isn’t that, like, 99.9% of all kitchens, ever?  If she’s this bad at discipline, her kids are going to end up in public school as homeschool failures. 

Also, I get wanting all the smart home “toys”, but isn’t easier to choose and install exactly what you want rather than what some builder chose?

All in all, they were a weird couple. 

An oddball couple for sure. The kids were bratty as a result of poor parenting. If they'd been disciplined the first time they ran through the house it would have solved the problem. The mom seemed to pay more attention to her chickens than her children.

I thought that as well about his smart house features. Since they had the house built he could have had it wired for all his techie gear. But, but... the budget! I guess he was too cheap to do that.

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2 hours ago, Empress1 said:

(and really, you press a screen to turn on a smart home light, what's the difference?)

Not necessarily. You can also yell obnoxiously loudly at your voice-enabled smart home system to do it for you. I live in an apartment building in NYC, and the guy across the hall from me, when he comes home at night, yells "hey Google, turn on the lights" so loudly that I can hear it in my apartment. All apartments in this building are pretty small, and the light switches are right by the front door. But no, some men people just really love their gadgets.

27 minutes ago, CruiseDiva said:

The kids were bratty as a result of poor parenting. If they'd been disciplined the first time they ran through the house it would have solved the problem. The mom seemed to pay more attention to her chickens than her children.

They didn't even seem that bratty to me, they just had a surplus of energy. I'm sure firmly telling them "no running inside the house" would suffice. I have nieces and nephews ranging from two to six years old, and a firm "no" and a stern look is usually enough to deter them from doing stuff they aren't supposed to do.

I try hard not to judge parenting choices based on 20 minutes of air time, but I wonder if the Texas couple are doing their kids a favor by homeschooling. They don't seem to have special needs - the show would have mentioned if they did, since they like to milk that kind of stuff - and the wife can't possibly provide academic expertise on every subject. Plus, going to school would socialize the kids, teach them discipline, and tire them out so they'll be less likely to run wild at home.

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8 hours ago, chocolatine said:

I try hard not to judge parenting choices based on 20 minutes of air time, but I wonder if the Texas couple are doing their kids a favor by homeschooling. They don't seem to have special needs - the show would have mentioned if they did, since they like to milk that kind of stuff - and the wife can't possibly provide academic expertise on every subject. Plus, going to school would socialize the kids, teach them discipline, and tire them out so they'll be less likely to run wild at home.

I am going to go out on a limb and bet the home schooling thing has some kind of religious reason.  A lot of those groups don't like their kids exposed to the"liberal" or "progressive" ideas put forth like evolution of the species.  There is a curriculum provided by the state that they are supposed to follow but they put their own spin on it.  I can never understand it because, as you say, no single person can teach every subject well.  A lot of those home school groups have combined field trips and such with other home schooled kids.  Not sure that's the case here but I'm speculating.

And I agree, simple discipline would be the answer to the stampeding issue.  I'm an old fogy but a "cut it out" in my childhood would have been sufficient.

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I watched the Texas chicken episode last night and also agree with everyone about the children needing some rules set down as to what is acceptable and what is not.  The wife seemed very nervous and sensitive to noise and chaos.  She said she suffers from the after effects of Lyme disease and some disorder that makes the special sauna necessary.  Perhaps that accounts for her behavior.  If that's the case, I think sending the children to school would be more calming than teaching them at home.  Home schooling has become more popular, and many areas have a great network where the children aren't taught in their own homes daily, but move around to other places where other parents teach different subjects.  It's almost like being in a regular school setting because they do interact with other children. 

The older house was a no go from the get go.  Ugh.  That place needed so much work to make it what they wanted.  The husband was a techie and is probably always going to be in the garage tinkering with something, so having a work space was important.   It's Texas and it gets hot in the summer - they need to plant some trees in that backyard.        

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Red, I just learned this morning that some kids attend regular school a couple, three days per week and home school the rest.

Alameda Couple

Hard to think that you have to suck up to someone with a sappy letter--with photos--to get someone to sell their overpriced home to you. Man, I sure got tired of hearing the husband say "wow factor". At one point, as he was looking at one bathroom, I found myself reminiscing the old brownstone bathrooms in NYC that had tiles like that at the same time he called them "modern".  Those bathrooms were probably installed (if placed in pre-existing homes) in the early 1900s. 

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On 3/15/2018 at 8:52 AM, juliet73 said:

   5aaa959d70bed_passthrough.thumb.jpg.143525561043a24a1be9edcee29a0214.jpg

Seeing the dog in this picture reminded me that the house I grew up in had a floor plan where you could run in a circle through the living room, make a turn as you pass by the front door, and then down the hall for bedrooms, which made an L at the end and put you into the den, right by the entrance to the living room.  There were three of us born within a three-year span, and we'd do laps like crazy, with a big barking dog chasing us.  God it was fun.  I still remember when the dog, who was sweet but didn't seem to be of great intellect, figured out he could stop chasing us, and turned around and waited for us to come around the corner.  Boy were WE surprised!

 

14 hours ago, chocolatine said:

I live in an apartment building in NYC, and the guy across the hall from me, when he comes home at night, yells "hey Google, turn on the lights" so loudly that I can hear it in my apartment.

I've always wanted to live in NYC, but assumed I'd be too bothered by neighbors.  Then I'll think, "Well, I could probably handle it," forgetting that I'm getting older and less tolerant.  And now we add this to the mix.  But thank you, because the fact that I'll never live there is made [a little] easier knowing it's the right decision.

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3 minutes ago, StatisticalOutlier said:

I've always wanted to live in NYC, but assumed I'd be too bothered by neighbors.  Then I'll think, "Well, I could probably handle it," forgetting that I'm getting older and less tolerant.  And now we add this to the mix.  But thank you, because the fact that I'll never live there is made [a little] easier knowing it's the right decision.

Yes, it's very tight quarters unless you have lots of money and can afford a townhouse or a full-floor penthouse. I don't see myself growing old here either, but I do enjoy living here for now.

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28 minutes ago, StatisticalOutlier said:

I've always wanted to live in NYC, but assumed I'd be too bothered by neighbors.  Then I'll think, "Well, I could probably handle it," forgetting that I'm getting older and less tolerant.  And now we add this to the mix.  But thank you, because the fact that I'll never live there is made [a little] easier knowing it's the right decision.

What's odd is that in NYC, neighbors tend to be heard but not seen even with the close quarters. For several years, I lived in a building with 20 apartments (5 floors, 4 apartments per floor). I knew my neighbors on my floor and a neighbor on the 4th floor (we became friendly when I knocked on his door in the wee hours of a weekday morning and asked him to turn down his music - he did, he knew he was wrong), but I don't think I saw anyone go in or out of the apartments on the first or second floors. I heard activity in those apartments but never saw the inhabitants.

I liked the second house the Alameda couple looked at, although I laughed when he talked about how big the yard was and how it would take so long to maintain. It really wasn't. I found myself not particularly charmed by their meet-cute story, where she said he asked her out and she said "I can't reciprocate that feeling right now" and considered it for four months. Like, it's just a date, damn.

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35 minutes ago, Empress1 said:

I liked the second house the Alameda couple looked at, although I laughed when he talked about how big the yard was and how it would take so long to maintain.

Me, too!  That was a five minute mowing job. I'm nearly 70 and mow my own lawn and it's 6 times that size!

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Stampeding children - Either tell them to knock it off or punishment will follow (and follow through) or send them outside.  Problem solved.

 

Alameda people - I don’t care how cute baby elephants are, I am selling my house to whoever gives me the most money. 

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56 minutes ago, Mittengirl said:

Stampeding children - Either tell them to knock it off or punishment will follow (and follow through) or send them outside.  Problem solved.

 

Alameda people - I don’t care how cute baby elephants are, I am selling my house to whoever gives me the most money. 

That was just plain silly. I don't think I could ever play that game. Price the house right; I'm not going to beg you to sell it to me.

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1 hour ago, Mittengirl said:

Alameda people - I don’t care how cute baby elephants are, I am selling my house to whoever gives me the most money. 

Agree.  I've heard about bidding wars that included "Pick me!" letters.  I could understand it if the house had historical significance and the seller didn't want it turned into a B&B or a day care center.  Other than that, it just feels like a way for the sellers to feel important.

Pass-throughs -- we live in a house with one -- the grandkids chase Sadie the Dog and like StatisticalOutlier said, it's fun when either the dog or the kids figure out that they can just stop and wait.

Another fun feature in an old house is the transom above the doorway -- my brother and I used to toss a ball back and forth through the opening.  Lucky for us, there was no glass in the transom, it was just an opening.

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HH is doing it again - the 10 pm "new"  HH Cape Charles, VA is a Beachfront Bargain Hunt rerun. I've seen it! Stop it HH!!

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7 hours ago, Mittengirl said:

Alameda people - I don’t care how cute baby elephants are, I am selling my house to whoever gives me the most money. 

Did I understand correctly that the HH "had to" submit a photo with their letter for the seller's consideration? That would raise all kinds of red flags for me. There's a good reason why it's illegal to request photos from job applicants, and I believe it should be the same when it comes to housing. There are so many factors that can make one offer more attractive than another for the same amount of money - all cash, quick closing, waiving of inspection/contingencies, flexibility about rent-back, etc. Personal letters and photos shouldn't factor at all.

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Sea Isle, NJ

I liked that their stated budget was actually their budget. None of this "negotiated a 20% discount" reveals or people with a max max max including renovations budget who somehow have the means to buy above that. I don't think anyone should be house poor, but enough with the sharp intakes of breath when it's above budget but they know they can afford it for the right property.

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7 hours ago, chocolatine said:

Did I understand correctly that the HH "had to" submit a photo with their letter for the seller's consideration?

I believe that they did (I'd have to watch again to be sure) but if so, is that even legal?  I mean, what if they were trying to weed out certain ethnic groups by seeing pictures?  Doesn't seem quite kosher to me.

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I believe that they did (I'd have to watch again to be sure) but if so, is that even legal?

I'm sure it's illegal to require it. I'm also sure that the home sellers even asked for it. I'm guessing that this is the agent's bright idea. I've seen them suggesting it frequently on these shows. It's worrisome for me that a few home seller's might favor one ethnic group over; I'm just as troubled that a seller might pick the  the slimmer/younger/more attractive couple versus single person versus family and/or persons with more prestigious jobs. I definitely feel bad for all the people who are securing FHA loans and offering a little more for a home who lose out to all-cash offers that may turn the house into a rental. If I were selling my home, I'd want to ensure that I was selling my very affordable place to someone who intended to live here. 

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I fail to understand the agent's comment that paying $300 every quarter for HOA fees "would pay for itself".

I pay HOA fees and feel that they do pay for themselves.  For $220/month it takes care of all outside maintenance (including roofing), landscaping, pool maintenance, water, trash, sewer, pest control (termite inspections and treatment), and insurance (including earthquake insurance here in CA).  I think I would be paying more if I had to pay for all of those things myself.

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2 hours ago, camom said:

I pay HOA fees and feel that they do pay for themselves.

Do all HOA's cover the same things?  I don't know, never had one.  If they differ by property I would think "paying for itself" would depend.  If it just covered lawn and landscaping and the person never uses the pool then it probably wouldn't.  It's not like you'd need major repairs like a new roof every year.

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53 minutes ago, Kohola3 said:

Do all HOA's cover the same things?  I don't know, never had one.  If they differ by property I would think "paying for itself" would depend.  If it just covered lawn and landscaping and the person never uses the pool then it probably wouldn't.  It's not like you'd need major repairs like a new roof every year.

Ours only covers the maintenance of the common areas (pool, tennis court, playground, entrance to subdivision), but it’s onky $45 a month, so it’s worth it. My homeowners insurance alone would probably be more than $45 a month if I installed a pool. 😀

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All HOA fees are not the same in their coverage.  I have lived in 4 town house developments, so I have a little experience with them.  One place covered front yard maintenance, water, garbage pickup, basic cable & pool maintenance.  No outside maintenance on the unit (painting, roof, A/C compressors) was covered.  I was paying $120 a month when I moved from there in 2003.  I understand the fees there now are about $175 per unit per month.  Another development I lived in covered all outside maintenance and they were very strict about what could and could not be done on the exterior.  We had 2 special assessments during my residency there - one for new roofs, and one for new metal carport covers.  That amount was added to the monthly fee until the assessment was paid off.  The streets in all of the places I lived in were private, so that maintenance expense had to be taken into consideration as well.  I was a member on 3 of the 4 boards, and believe me, that is not a fun job.  Before purchasing any place that requires an HOA, a buyer should do their homework and read every word of the HOA requirements.  From my personal experience, I think HOA's offer a lot for the amount of $$ charged.    

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My HOA is over $300 a month because there have been rumors that you don't need to pay your association fee at XXXXX subdivision. So for way too many years those of us who do pay have been paying for those who don't.  They recently changed the rules, so more people are supposed to be paying.  I don't know if it's really working because we were told the fees are just going to keep on going up because of the age of the place (30 years old). Also, we have a lot of water leaks and rather than replacing the pipes, (which they could have done 10+ years ago at a decent rate), they wait until there are leaks and then replace them as it goes.  We do get water, trash compactor, landscaping and a tiny pool that usually ends up closed more than it's open.  No garage / carport, no cable, no internet, no gym (I know some people that have all of these for a lower price every month).  

When I watch HH,  and they are in my city, I always look to see if they give the price of the HOA to see the difference in what I pay and what the prospective owners will be paying. 

Edited by Lisa418722.
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5 minutes ago, Lisa418722 said:

My HOA is over $300 a month because there have been rumors that you don't need to pay your association fee at XXXXX subdivision.

So $3600 a year for, well, not much.   Yikes!

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On 3/14/2018 at 3:27 PM, Kohola3 said:

And "I can see myself" plus all the gallons of coffee consumed on balconies, terraces, or patios.

Not to mention all of the wine on the porch.

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56 minutes ago, Kohola3 said:

So $3600 a year for, well, not much.   Yikes!

Exactly.  When people complain about the cost we just get told: "with the age of the place, it's going to be expensive."  Well maybe if you wouldn't wait until there's a disaster it wouldn't be as expensive.  My ceiling had a leak (I'm ground floor condo). I went upstairs to talk to my neighbor and he had had a leak for about three months that the association never fixed.  They fixed the leak from his place once I also complained, but they also had to fix my ceiling where there was a water leak.  If they had fixed his to begin with, I wouldn't have had to have my ceiling fixed (which is now a popcorn ceiling with two different patterns).  One of my neighbors had to have their roof patched.  The shingles are two different colors. It looks like no one cares around here.  Guess to save money they just use whatever shingles they have laying around.  But make sure they get that $3600. 

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23 hours ago, camom said:

I pay HOA fees and feel that they do pay for themselves.  For $220/month it takes care of all outside maintenance (including roofing), landscaping, pool maintenance, water, trash, sewer, pest control (termite inspections and treatment), and insurance (including earthquake insurance here in CA).  I think I would be paying more if I had to pay for all of those things myself.

That covers a lot and is totally worth it!!  I lived in an HOA that was $45 a month and it covered nothing, except enforcing the rules of the HOA.  Basically, I was paying to live in a subdivision where people were required to take care of their home/property and had to get permission from the HOA for exterior painting/decor, placement of satellite dishes, no boats/campers, specific grass length, no street parking after a certain time, etc.  I lived in another neighborhood that was $60 a month and that covered the HOA rules and "maintaining" the common area landscaping.  That was a total crock since the only common area was the one entrance into the subdivision and it was just rocks with cacti! 

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