Smiling Face In A Non-HOA Place!

guest blog by Nila Ridings
Happy, laughing, and smiling is the best way to describe Mary Kromrey. She and her husband, Mike, are raising their son, Eli, in the home they purchased in Rountree; they’re repeat buyers in that neighborhood. 
Springfield might be best known for a couple of its famous sons with roots there, Brad Pitt, the actor, and Johnny Morris, the owner of Bass Pro Shops. But I hope it becomes more famous for this Non-HOA neighborhood!
The Kromreys’ house doesn’t look at all like the neighbors’ houses.  Each house looks different with its own unique “personality.”  Mary has adorned her front porch with hanging baskets of flowers, a porch swing, an umbrella-covered table, and a bright red mailbox!  What?  A BRIGHT RED MAILBOX?  Not only that but she has a rain barrel so she can use the water for her flowers!  HOA-Free living means home owners can be creative and use their own common sense.  As long as they follow the city codes, they are not hassled.  Neighbors aren’t looking for ways to sue or foreclose on each others’ properties like we hear about every day across America’s HOAs.  Heck, even paying dues once a year is done voluntarily. 
Rountree’s focus is on socialization.  No, it’s not a joke.  They REALLY DO focus on looking out for each others’ kids and homes.  “Our neighbors have become a stand-in family” Mary says. 
This sounds so foreign to me.  I’ve been living in an HOA so long this seems like a completely different world and another lifetime.  I’m having flashbacks of my childhood neighborhood.  I’m so envious of Mary and how she bubbles over with joy talking about where she lives! 
Just before we said good-bye she said, “And we have chickens, too!”  No doubt, they are probably free-range and cage-free enjoying their freedom, too. 
Sure looks like Rountree dispels the myth that you must have an HOA to maintain property values, doesn’t it?  Who wants to bet the Kromreys’ property value is going up?

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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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