It’s no secret that people love to hate their Home Owners Association (HOA). The brunt of jokes and disdain, HOAs are loathed for their fees which are often misunderstood and questioned. So why should you love your HOA? And in particular, your Condominium HOA?
According to Uri Vaknin, a partner at KRE Capital whose company is a major investor in three Las Vegas condominium communities, the reasons to love your Condo HOA are as plentiful as the reasons to love your condo.
“First and foremost, condo HOAs offer significantly more bang for the buck than single-family home HOAs because of all the amenities typically offered at a condo community,” said Vaknin. “Think about what single-family homeowners pay monthly for yard and pool maintenance as well as utilities. Those are all expenses covered by HOA fees, and best of all, when you live in a condo, you don’t have to worry about managing a pool or yard crew. Beyond that, condo HOAs cover amenities single-family homeowners can only dream about like concierge service, courtesy officers who patrol the community, onsite fitness and business centers, social lounges, movie theatres and even lifestyle directors who plan social events and activities exclusively for residents.”
Buyers are drawn to condo living for many reasons, but especially for the convenience of having onsite staff to accept packages, welcome guests and make dinner reservations. Again, those are things most homeowners can only dream about, unless they are wealthy enough to have their own full-time help.
According to Vaknin, whose Las Vegas condos include Juhl and The Ogden in Downtown Las Vegas and One Las Vegas on the south Strip, the lure of a “lock-and-leave” lifestyle is also a huge benefit to condo living that is facilitated in large part by HOA fees. Onsite staff, paid for by HOA fees, keep a watchful eye on the community and take care of ongoing maintenance while residents take off for the weekend, the week, the month or the season.
Doing your homework and due diligence before you buy a condo should also include looking at the HOA. Ask about reserves to ensure capital reserves are funded by at least 70 to 75 percent, the mark of an adequately funded HOA. Nevada law requires every high-rise to do a reserve study that identifies every component of a building along with the life expectancy of its amenities. This will give you a good indication if there are any anticipated large expenses and replacement costs on the horizon.
“All our condo HOAs at The Ogden, Juhl and One Las Vegas are well funded and exceed industry standards. In fact, The Ogden is 100 percent funded – a remarkable benchmark,” said Vaknin. “That means our homeowners don’t have to worry about future assessments unless something catastrophic happens. Peace of mind is a significant benefit that is directly credited to the HOA.”
Increases in monthly fees are another common complaint about HOAs. Yet, like most consumer goods and services, they are bound to go up over time. It’s a good idea to check to see if past increases are in line with Consumer Price Indexes (CPI). “Incremental increases are bound to happen, just as the cost of your health and car insurance tends to increase year-over-year,” said Vaknin. “As home values and minimum wage goes, so do HOA fees. Just make sure to study the HOA recent fee history to ensure increases are reasonable and consistent with inflation and CPIs.”
Finally, HOAs provide owners with a place to voice their concerns and make recommendations about their neighborhoods. ‘HOAs are controlled by owners,” said Vaknin. “That puts them squarely in the driver’s seat to rectify community and neighborhood issues as they occur.”
“A simple cost analysis is a good way to understand everything that is funded and supported by HOA fees. Ultimately, an HOA is designed to enhance quality of life. Given all your monthly fee covers, there is no question about its ROI. That’s why it’s easy to love your condo HOA!”