Category Archives: Kansas

The Hidden Danger To Home Values

I blogged about this earlier: Homeowners Associations in many parts of the country are seeing property values trashed because cities are taking over water drainage systems that the original developer built incorrectly. But that means ALL homeowners, not just those living in the rarified gated HOA atmosphere, will end up paying the costs. HOA residents will get slaughtered of course, with highly escalated fees. But all non-HOA taxpayers should be angry as well because their taxes will go up because of misfeasance and malfeasance in the HOA system.

The two pictures below are of a beautiful little pond in an HOA near Wichita. Homeowners bought here because the pond was a gorgeous community asset. But when HOA leaders improperly maintained the pond, they inadvertently drained it. Now the beautiful little pond is an overgrown bug-infested swamp. How do you think HOA property values are holding up now?

Wards photo 1A pretty community asset.

Wards photo 2Thanks for our new view!

Yes, Homeowner Association boards and managers can thoughtlessly cause amazing damage to property values. And it happens in city after city. But home buyers are beginning to get wise. Wise Realtors are making sure their clients research the lawsuits and turmoil in a specific neighborhood before buying there. A lot of turmoil means home values are plummeting.







Sentimental Journey Around Southmoor Gardens

guest blog by Nila Ridings
I was near the area so on a whim I decided to carve out a few minutes from a very busy day and see…see what my old neighborhood looks like today.  My very first house was one of the smaller ones with it’s big trees, a red brick ranch with zoysia grass, and hand-picked by my dad.  He called it my “starter” home.
Together, we remodeled the kitchen and I worked every weekend on one project after another after Dad died.  I had an arsenal of tools and endless energy.  My neighbor lady told me her husband always said I was the hardest working woman he’d ever seen. According to her, he would see me pull up in my little sports car, jump out in my high heels and suit with my briefcase in hand, and race inside.  15 minutes later I’d reappear in my overalls with my aluminum ladder (another gift from Dad) and up I’d go to clean the gutters. Back down to mow the lawn and grab the extension cord so I could trim the shrubs. Occasionally needing a bandage for a cut or scrape and once the ladder dipped and caught the ground while I was carrying it and smacked me in the eye.  I wore a really deep purple, red, and black eye for several days after that.  I was always busy, but I never knew somebody was observing my routine until Mrs. Neighbor told me. Today, I don’t recall her name.
pinkhouseWhat I do recall was Dad making sure I did not buy a house with an HOA.  After this HOA nightmare I have been living, I observed my old neighborhood with a peaked and open-minded interest.  I had totally forgotten about the pink house!  It was pink before I moved there in 1984.  No two houses look the same.  Many had American flags flying today…and always did.  Some with swimming pools and others with porch swings.  Some ranches, some two stories, and one that has totally gone away.  Possibly earlier today?  I don’t know, but the bulldozers were still there and the earth looked freshly dug but the house was gone from the corner lot.
Today’s visit confirmed one thing for sure; that this HOA-Free neighborhood did not lose its value.  I sold for double what I paid and today that house is worth double that amount.  The people that bought it still own it.  The city records say the average price in Southmoor Gardens is $188K but there are houses valued at $500K.  Imagine that! Houses holding that kind of value with basketball goals, American flags flying, various house colors…even a pink one…fences of different styles, every color in the crayon box for front doors, paver bricks and concrete driveways and even one with gravel.  Swing sets, gazebos, and wrap around porches.  Nothing looked “junky” but it all looked lived in.  Every single house seemed to sing “Home Sweet Home” in Kansas as I passed by.
Do those 700 residents realize they are living in a piece of paradise?  Do they realize how all the HOA and CAI snobs scream about the surefire guarantee of a pink house destroying the property values in the neighborhood? Well, it’s impossible to argue with happy neighbors and increased property values, isn’t it?
Southmoor Gardens I miss you now more than ever!

Helping Candidates Helps to Educate

guest blog by Nila Ridings

You may remember my blog on May 10, 2014 about helping political candidates with their campaigns.

The time of year for that massive undertaking has arrived. I was happy to offer my help when I saw one of our Kansas legislators walking door to door on the campaign trail.

This resulted in a very interested call from Astrid. To protect her I will not be using her real name. Astrid was asking for my help to call registered voters to get their agreement for the candidate to place the campaign signs on wire hangers in their yards. The big issue of course: HOAs! We discussed the laws in Kansas about the signs and I gave her the state statute numbers. And then I asked the BIG question!

Yes, Astrid lives in a HOA with her politician husband and she has another family member, an attorney, who also lives in an HOA. We spent about a half hour talking about HOAs, property managers, the CAI, Ward’s book, Evan McKenzie’s books, George Staropoli’s books, and Shu Bartholomew’s radio show. Astrid was shocked. She had no idea of the real truth about her HOA. But she did tell me they had recently gotten their board president booted. She had to rally the neighbors to get him voted out, but she got the job done! <applause>

I expressed to Astrid that I feel Realtors should be required to disclose information about the HOAs or condo associations BEFORE they even show the client the property. Using the example of when you go to the hospital to have surgery. The check-in representative asks if you know you are there to have your right kidney removed and you confirm. The prep nurse asks if you are there to have your right kidney removed, and the surgical nurse, and finally the doctor asks the same question. Before the mask is placed over your nose to send you into a deep sleep you are rest-assured that everybody knows you are not there for an appendectomy! Astrid said, “I know you are right because I did have my right kidney removed and they even marked my body with a pen!”

Okay, so you’ve got the idea that the medical field is making every effort to avoid a malpractice lawsuit. I think the home selling and buying, HOA, and Condo industry should follow the same policies! Astrid said, but nobody would buy then. EXACTLY, Astrid is 100% correct! If buyers knew the truth about HOAs and COAs they would not buy into these nightmares with massive risks for losing their life savings and homes.

If the American Medical Association is supporting these step by step confirmations before surgery, why isn’t the CAI and the Board of Realtors Association doing the same for the housing industry? Therein lies the 40 Billion dollar question for one and the “how would we make a living” for the latter.

We are now more than ever, demanding transparency, integrity, and hopefully the following of our US Constitution from our legislators. We’ve had enough and the polls are starting to show it. Shouldn’t we be demanding the same from those who are selling us the biggest investment of our lifetime?

If we’re able to say, no my appendix is fine, I’m here for my right kidney to be removed. Shouldn’t we also be able to say, NO to an HOA or condo association before we’re shown the property? Why do we have to be subjected to the sales pitch about the beauty of living in the HOA community if we are informed of the truth in advance that we are signing away our US Constitutional Rights, becoming business partners with all of our neighbors in a non-profit corporation, and the HOA has the legal right to assess us to the point our bank accounts could be drained down to pennies.

Don’t we have a RIGHT TO KNOW this before we’re sitting at the table signing our signature on legally binding documents? And the moving van is loaded with all of our possessions because we’ve sold our HOA-FREE property to somebody smarter than we are! I say, yes we do have that right and that needs to be the message we are sending to our legislators along with our fight to end the days of abusive HOAs.

Gotta go, time to hit the campaign trail!

Oops! My Bad!

I’ve been accused by one of our forum members of doing a ‘bait and switch’ in my recent offer to discount book sales during the month of June. My original intent was to discount bulk purchases of my book Neighbors At War. But my wording was poorly thought out and it led to some bruised feelings among some.  The misunderstanding was my fault and I apologize to anyone who felt deceived.

While Amazon frowns on authors who discount books below their online price, I still need to correct my error. So If anyone wants to purchase a single copy (or more) for $5 per book I will respect and fulfill your order while my stock holds out. If my supply of books gets low I will instruct my fulfillment house in New Hampshire to honor the same arrangement. I am out of town until later this month, but when I return I will gladly fulfill any requests.

Again, my mailing address is:

Hogback Publishing

151 Summer St. #463

Morrison, Colorado 80465





Blow N’ Go High On The Roof Top

guest blog by Nila Ridings

Here we go again!  I hope this will be an eye-opener for our readers.

Quivira Falls Community Association still ranks at the top for winning the “HOA Bullying Award.”  Why?  Because like most HOAs they love to bully people.  They seem to really get some sort of sick thrill out of irritating the homeowners.  But, it’s far more than irritating, they are putting us at risk for property damage and liabilities.

Gutters being my responsibility, I had new ones installed in 2008.  Knowing that Quivira Falls has a very long history of not performing necessary maintenance, I spent an extra three hundred and fifty dollars to have gutter guards installed.  The company I did business with has been around since 1972 and certainly knew what they are talking about when they said, “do not let anyone use leaf blowers on your gutters because it will tear up the guards!”  So, I notified Quivira Falls HOA office that I did not want anyone to clean my gutters going forward.  Well…let’s see, it’s been six years and they still love to put people on my roof with leaf blowers which now results in me calling the police.

Two years ago, they taped a note on my front door saying since I didn’t want my gutters cleaned by the HOA they would no longer be doing it.  I gave a sigh of relief…finally…somebody learned how to read and understand what my letters said.  Yeah!  Nope, not yeah…within hours of writing me that letter on Quivira Falls letterhead they were up on my roof!  I called the police and kept the report in my files.

Today, after all these years of emails, letters, and calling the police, they were back up there with the leaf blowers!  From my office window I could see the ladder and hear the noise.  With my phone and camera in hand, I walked outside and removed the ladder from my guttering and dropped it into the grass.  I called 911 and told the dispatcher what was happening and that they were still on my roof and the ladder was laying in the grass.  With my camera positioned and ready, I waited for them to come over the ridge of the roof.  They saw me, my camera, and the missing ladder.  When I said the police were on their way the one started apologizing and the other stood stone-faced on my roof.  In nothing flat the police arrived just as their supervisor/owner did.  He immediately instructed them to get to the next job, but the officers wanted to see their identification first.

The police advised me they cannot arrest workers for trespassing.  Nor can they arrest a company owner unless he’s caught on the roof.  I’m basically screwed except I have the option of taking them to circuit court.  You bet I can do that!  I’m always welcome to spend $30,000, $50,000 or even $100,000 in legal bills to try and stop myself from being bullied and attempt to be reimbursed for construction repair bills.  I will also be the one paying the tab for damage to my gutters and shingles along with the cost of water damage repairs on my ceilings caused by broken shingles that create leaks!  And, if I’m really lucky they may cause a rafter or two to snap which gives me the pleasure of hiring a contractor to come and snake his way through my bedroom closet and into the attic while carrying long pieces of lumber that scrape my walls and woodwork.

To properly clean gutters you must remove the debris and then flush the downspouts with a garden hose.  Walking around on roofs with leaf blowers is a waste of time and money since the downspouts are ignored.  It’s a farce, to say the least.  And a way to fool homeowners into thinking they are getting something for their $240 monthly dues.

So, I asked the officers, “How would I sue somebody when I don’t know their name, company,  or location?”  With that, the officer asked the company owner if he would like to share his name and contact information with me?  He said, “No!”  I looked at the cops and stated people who have nothing to hide, hide nothing and this guy won’t even identify himself.  Yet, I’m supposed to sue him if I have damage to my roof or guttering?  Really?  With that, he reluctantly handed me his business card.

After he left, I mentioned that one of the roof top workers reeked of something that smelled…you know…medicinal.  The cop said he wished he’d of smelled it.  Possibly he would have if “Mr. Mystery” had not quickly shooed his workers away from the area.

Bottom line, my attorney has told me to never let anyone work on my property without seeing their certificate of insurance even if they are employed or contracted through the HOA.  Reason being, if they fall into my fenced area or on my front porch resulting in injuries or death, I will be the person responsible and hit with the lawsuit if they are uninsured!

On this same issue, a few years ago the HOA cleaned the gutters of some new homeowners that moved here from a foreign country.  The nicest people you would ever want to meet!  Their gutter guards were blown out and left laying on the grass around their townhouse.  They asked if I would type a letter on their behalf requesting they be re-installed because they don’t speak or write English fluently.  I suggested they mail it certified.  Quivira Falls refused it, so when it came back they hand-carried it into the office.  How shocked they were when the woman in the office told them to put the gutter guards back in themselves!  That’s right, the HOA blows them out and you can just buy a ladder and climb up there and do the job yourself!  “Welcome to America!!! and Quivira Falls Community Association one of the nation’s  finest bullies in HOAs!”

As the police were leaving the fire department ladder truck pulled up.  I guess the 911 dispatcher must have assumed a roof rescue was going to be needed.  Yes, indeed these HOAs are costing the taxpayers a ton of money and they don’t even have a clue.  The police chief’s office says always call them to come out and make a report even if they can’t arrest anybody.  That way if you end up in court with an HOA case you’ve got police reports to back you up.

I just lost another precious day of my life in HOA HELL!