Seniors Decide Whether To Move Or Not To Move HOA Or No HOA
“Will you still love me, will you still feed me when I am 64…birthday greetings…bottle of wine…” Hard to believe, those lyrics mean Now for many of us, some already; some shortly. Most of us were brought up in modest post War homes, and saw an incredible leap in housing, both in size and amenities, especially electronics. Now we have seen the housing bust. Many of us ponder how to be wise in the next housing venture in our lives.
What To Do With Your Portland Home?
As we enter retirement it is a common question, “What should we do about the house?” With children raised and on their own, and more time in our schedules, perhaps it is time to downsize in our housing to lower costs and free up time from household chores. What things should be considered?
Social contacts: with more free hours in our day, how are we going to spend our time and separate from career coworkers and office social contacts? Do we have a neighborhood network of friends with shared activities, perhaps things like card games, watching sporting events, craft groups? Would moving to a townhouse or condominium complex provide more resources of book clubs, shared recreation around a pool, clubhouse or tennis courts? On the flip side, if you are a loner, sharing decisions with an HOA Board of Directors and committees on your home might be too much social togetherness.
Recreation: do you long for more time to spend in outdoor activities? Many HOAs in our area offer extensive grounds, access to biking and hiking trails, proximity to public golf courses, pools, river, creek, lake or pond frontage that you might not have in your current home. Being part of a larger community allows you to share in the beauty of the common area, and sometimes affords a closer access to these natural beauties than you can afford in an individual home.
Are you truly ready to downsize? Does giving up the chores of home maintenance, less square footage to care for and less or no yard work appeal to you? Carefully look into what the HOA dues cover as far as the exterior maintenance of your unit and the grounds. Do the dues cover replacement of siding, roofing, painting, asphalt in private roadways and driveways? Will living in a complex free you of chores such as spray washing sidewalks, having roofs cleaned and gutters and downspouts maintained? The risk of exterior repairs is expanded over a number of units, sometimes as many as 90-110. Some complexes also have employees who assist in a cohesive plan to manage the community. Some managers will help you find contractors for repairs in your home and can ease the anxiety of hiring help.
Security: living in a close HOA community can provide a sense of community, sometimes not found in traditional neighborhoods, as well as the security of proximity of neighbors. For vacations it is also easier to pack up and leave for extended time with neighbors usually willing to look out for your unit. There are a few complexes that have security gates.
CC&Rs: complexes often have extensive conditions, covenants and restrictions that follow the land to protect your investment from neighbors’ difference in values: painting houses strange hues, strange architectural aberrations, or parking unwanted recreational vehicles, broken down vehicles, or an inappropriate number of vehicles on your doorstep as well as your neighbors, not to mention collections of animals not suited for small neighborhoods. Be sure to carefully review these before buying into a complex to be sure your lifestyle will be a good fit.
Finances: HOA dues are a consideration. The median home price in Eugene Springfield is about the median price in mid-level condominiums and townhouses in Eugene. The average dues for the same median priced unit I have mentioned are currently about $275 per month. Most HOA Board of Directors are able to increase the dues about 4% per year, without a vote. If you live in a complex for 20 years, you may pay as much as $80,000-90,000 in HOA dues over time. How does that compare with home ownership? You need to pencil out major repairs you expect over the next 20 years in your current home: fence repair, roof replacement, deck replacement, driveway, sidewalk, etc., as well as painting the exterior several times. Also, pencil in yard care; as you age, you may need extra help. Also figure in hiring maintenance to clean the roof, and gutters at least once a year, and spray wash concrete every other year, and barking flower beds. I easily calculated as much as $45,000 over 20 years. According to a local financial expert, if you downsize and invest $20,000 of your funds from your home conservatively at an expected rate of 4%, in 20 years the money could increase to about $44,000 which would offset the decrease you now have in your home equity as well as much of the HOA dues.
How To Decide Whether To Stay Put?
Include inflation in your calculations.
Remodeling consideration: no matter what you think the cost of remodeling is, unless you have extremely firm bids, it is my experience projects tend to “take a life of their own.” If your move involves a remodel, be sure to adequately investigate contractors, check references, and get absolute bids in doing your calculations. Consider whether you have the time and energy to remodel. Consult the National Homebuilders Association website and “Remodeling” magazine for advice on what remodels are the most likely to return your investment in the future. Are you able to do any of a remodeling project yourself? Be sure to get a complete home inspection by a certified home inspector, again before you purchase.
Insurance: be sure to consult with your insurance agent before assuming your home owners insurance will decrease. I was surprised to find mine actually increased although the value of my townhouse is less than my home I moved from.
Interior Design considerations: survey your furnishings, area rugs, appliances. In moving to a smaller home, you may need to replace larger scale items to fit into a smaller space. I recommend budgeting at least $5000 for replacing items.
- Energy savings: moving to a smaller home may significantly reduce your utility bills, especially if a high efficiency furnace or ductless heat pump is used. Also, your HOA dues may include garbage and cable.
- Have fun with your new adventure. Make sure there is some element of fun and reward for you in your move.
Source: Written by Cindy Conley and reposted with permission. Conley was an interior designer in Eugene-Springfield from 1987-2007, employed in part as a designer by Reed&Cross and Budget Blinds. She has been a Real Estate Broker with John L. Scott since 2007.
ALL ABOUT…..Seniors.Boomers And Small Houses. © Copyright 2008-2013. Betty Jung. All Rights Reserved. Use of this article, photos and images without permission is a violation of federal copyright laws.