Checking The Pulse Of The Kansas City Real Estate Market

Homeowners Associations place restrictions on the homeowners living within a community and those restrictions typically include the types of materials they can be used to build an exterior deck on a home. This may seem like a pain, but it’s those same restrictions that help keep property values higher in the community. An HOA may charge hundreds of dollars each month in dues but it’s those dues that provide the funds to support a nice community pool and maintenance of the common areas and the entryway into the community. So a good homeowners association provides benefits that outweigh the costs and hassles involved.

Despite the hoops that must be jumped through, I’d personally never live in a community in town that didn’t have an HOA keeping the neighbors in line. It’s a small price to pay to have to follow rules and regulations when it comes to the types of materials I can use on my yard fencing, roofing shingles and decking boards. I also happen to like the Johnson County beige color that most exteriors are painted and would NOT want my neighbor’s house painted purple. That could happen if there were no HOA present. Well, actually, that could happen WITH an HOA present. But there would repercussions — the most common being the HOA fining and/or placing a lien on the property who’s broken the rules. Though the most common reason a lien would be placed on a property is due to non-payment of the homeowner’s yearly or monthly dues.

Most communities have a well-run homeowners association, but some others have their troubles. Some don’t have enough homeowners present to cover the costs of the HOA’s commitments. Others have homeowners who refuse to raise the dues to a level that will cover the HOA’s commitments. Others waste the collected dues frivolously. Running an HOA could include maintaining a community pool, clubhouse, walking trails, park, common areas, trash pickup, etc.

A Homeowners Association is also about more than just collecting enough to cover the current costs and expenses. It’s also imperative that the dues being collected are enough to provide a SURPLUS of funds for when major items break down, wear down or become obsolete. I’ve heard 25% used as a good rule of thumb for HOA savings — in other words, if your HOA dues are $400 a year, then $100 of those yearly dues should be going into savings. If you have concerns about the restrictions on the subdivision you’re about to buy into or if you have questions about the stability of the HOA in question, ask the home seller for a copy of the homeowners association restrictions early in the process – or ask the seller for the contact info for the HOA. You can also ask for a copy of the HOA’s current yearly budget and financial statement.

Posted by Jason A. Brown

  1. Phillip says:

    I think as long as the dues are reasonable and the people running the HOA are reasonable there’s nothing wrong with it.

    However, as you have noted there are some bad ones that give decent ones a bad rap. There’s no question they can be good and enforce the rules of the neighborhood.

    Good post.

  2. Joe Dumm says:

    I am curious as to what the average homeowner association fee is in Johnson County. When we moved here 20 years ago, HOA assessments of around $400-600 per year were commonplace. However the house we bought was not in an HOA area so I’ve not followed this.
    On a recent visit to my son’s family in southern California, I learned that out there HOA fees range from $250-600 PER MONTH and some HOAs even tack an additional quarterly charge on top of that! I looked at a 2BR 1Bath 900 sq ft condo out there that had an HOA assessment of $363/month = $4,356/year. Would that be comparable to similar circumstance HOA fees here? Personally, I go into sticker shock when I see rates that high.
    Is there a website somewhere that might shed some light on HOA trends around here? Thanks for any information you can provide.

  3. Jason Brown says:

    @Joe Dumm: Joe, HOA dues vary depending on what amenities are offered to the owners by the community. The good thing about the amount charged is that the HOA board (homeowner’s themselves) decide how much the dues will be (at least once a subdivision is 90% or so completed by the developer). The HOA usually doesn’t collect a big excess of dues, just enough to cover the costs. If a subdivision has no pool, trash pickup or common areas to maintain, the dues may be $0. If the community has all of these, HOA dues may run from a few hundred to $1500 or more a year, depending on the size of the community and what all is being offered. Now all bets are off if it’s a maintenance provided community. Depending on things like whether the HOA takes care of mowing, snow removal, building maintenance, the size of the home, the size of the community, etc., the dues may range from $100 to $1000 or more per month.

  4. darcie says:

    Is there such a thing as a HOA map showing each neighborhood in Johnson County Kansas and their HOA dues(per month or year).

  5. Jason Brown says:

    @darcie: There is no map I know of for area HOA’s… It can really be a process to locate info when you need it on a specific HOA. Best to start by checking the city websites to see if there’s any helpful info there.