Thursday, October 29, 2009

The advantages and disadvantages of living in a common interest ownership community.

Have you ever made a list of pros and cons to decide how you really feel about a person or an issue? It sometimes helps to see in black and white which column outweighs the other.

Realistic expectations can often help avoid disappointment and failure in any endeavor. If you didn't make a list before you moved in to your current condominium, cooperative, homeowners' association or mobile home community, it's not too late to take a moment to figure out whether the advantages outweigh any perceived disadvantages.

Some of the advantages to that common interest ownership community are:

-Shared vision for aesthetics;

-Shared expenses for common facilities and amenities that you would not otherwise be able to afford;

-Security;

-Location (can't afford a house on the beach but a condo on the beach might be in your budget!);

-Rule enforcement (you hopefully won't have a neighbor paint her house purple or leave a car on cinderblocks for months);

-Bulk buying power.

Some of the disadvantages to that common interest ownership community may be:

-Your priorities in terms of maintenance and repair items might not be shared by the board;

-You are subject to the board's judgments in terms of vendor selection, contract sums, etc.

-You are subject to the documents being amended and rules you agreed to at the time of purchase being changed (you must be prepared to be on the losing end of votes at times);

-Your home is your castle except in a community association. You will have to tone down the all-night noisy parties, drive fewer cars and adapt to certain aesthetic standards you might not share;

-You could be the subject of arbitrary and capricious enforcement at some point or nasty board politics;

-You could be forced to pay for owners who aren't paying.

Of course, everyone's list will be different so it might be time to brush off or update yours to see if your community is still a good fit.

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