A massive monkey wrench has been thrown into the field of real estate development with a 55 million dollar verdict against developers of a condo conversion project in South Carolina.
Developers are the people we homeowners all love to hate. They’re the bane of our existence. Their rotten reconstruction work has led to the financial ruin of hundreds of thousands, even millions of American homeowners. So we generally stand and cheer when a jury hands down a huge verdict against a developer.
Well, let’s stand back and give this one a little reflection.
I swear, I’ve gotta quit doing stories about outrageous treatment of the American Flag, there are just too many of them. I could get stuck doing 12 or 15 stories a day. Still, I feel duty-bound to at least occasionally tell you when the latest cretin is pushing around his weight after having been given new power over other homeowners.
The latest victim of a flag outrage is a retired veteran named Larry Murphree of the Tides Condominium at Sweetwater, Jacksonville, Florida. It’s actually just a small flag that he placed in a flower pot on his porch. You can barely see it. It’s sticking in the flowerpot behind the right porch rail in the photo below. He’s been fined $8000 before and he got it settled in court.
My Dear Friends, I’ve told you over and over that the absolute worst home investment you can make is in a Homeowners Association. Your Realtor buddy looks you warmly in the eye, puts his hand on your shoulder and says, “You know, of course, that HOAs were created to protect your investment?”
If you’ve read my book or follow this blog then you know what the truth is. HOAs were created to keep out Negroes, Orientals and Jews. The documentation goes back fifty years! In later years, HOA rules were used to keep out Hispanics, single moms, children with Down’s Syndrome and a fistful of other ‘unwashed and unwanted.’
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.
What 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?