How D’ya Like Your HOA Re-sale Value Now, Bunky?

Washington State is such a pretty place to live. They call it “The Evergreen State.”

And a boat-load of Homeowners Associations were all going to help protect and preserve property values for all those new owners. Well, it’s not working out so well for folks in the Hazel Dell Townhomes, part of the Timbers at Town Center HOA in Vancouver. About six years ago, crowds of real estate agents dragged their clients in to buy some of those ritzy new townhomes. Now, HOA dues are going unpaid, a lot of personal wealth has been shredded, common areas are uncommonly unkempt. At this point, a townhouse owner probably couldn’t unload his property in a bad poker game.

It’s an old, sad story. The developer went broke in 2006, leaving a bunch of homes unsold. He transferred his bankrupt company along with the CC&Rs to the neighborhood. One of those rules is that it takes a quorum of 50% of the community to elect a board, to hold a meeting or even to petition the courts for help.

Now the homeowners are whining to the State Legislature that it’s “just not fair.” Maybe the Legislature will help out, and maybe not. The problem isn’t the developer. The problem is that investing in covenant-controlled housing is a big fat “P.S.I.” (pretty stupid investment). It’s just another case of “the big lie” being told over and over again by every real estate agent in Kingdom Come.

They’ll call me a fibber for saying it, but the real truth is that, “No, the HOA does NOT protect your property values.

In the meantime, many homeowners in The Evergreen State could reasonably call it “The Ever-Broke State.”

Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

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