Do you think that you have a struggle convincing your homeowners that a small raise in homeowner association assessment fees is beneficial for the community? You should be very thankful that you do not manage or serve on the board of an association in the Palm Springs, California area where monthly assessment fees can run as high as $900 per month. While that amount is not uncommon in some condominium associations, in a homeowners association? Gasp! Although the assessments may cover such ‘country club’ amenities such as golf courses, gated entrances and lush landscaping in a dry climate, can you imagine trying to convince homeowners that those fees are reasonable and necessary?
According to an article in the Desert Sun, each $70 worth of assessment fees lowers home purchasing power by approximately $10,000. So if assessment fees were $350 monthly, a proposed homeowner could conceivably afford $50,000 less in the purchase of a home in a community association. That is a lot less purchasing power if your budget is, for example, $300,000.
The solution? Buy into a community with less amenities. The problem, however, is that a lot of homeowners don’t consider this dilemma until after they have purchased a home. All of those fancy amenities may look nice, but they certainly come at a price and it is unrealistic for homeowners to expect for those assessment fees to come down when the cost of maintaining amenities, like everything else, continues to rise. I certainly hope that those desert communities have a great collection policy in place! Speaking of which, make certain that your community has an up to date collection policy to avoid issues with collecting delinquent assessments and other charges. Details on what must be included in the policy, can be found in this blog article. Although the new collection policy requirements went into effect on January 1, 2014, we are still seeing collection polices that are not in compliance. My suggestion is to have your association’s attorney review the collection policy on an annual basis to ensure that it is up to date and to discuss any revisions based on the current needs of your community and changing law.
As far as paying those $900 assessments— I think that paying that $100 green fee on occasion suddenly doesn’t feel so bad.