Category Archive : Real Estate

How Do HOAs Elect New Officials?

Living in a community that has a homeowner’s association (HOA) comes with a number of perks for its residents. If you have ever noticed a well-kept neighborhood where each home’s outward appearance looks clean and neat, chances are it is managed by an HOA.

While you may be quick to realize that an HOA is part of a community due to its landscaping and cohesive look, you may not know how an HOA operates internally.

The Basics of An HOA

An HOA is an association of elected officials that chooses 3rd party vendors to manage a neighborhood. These 3rd party vendors could provide landscaping, road construction, roofing and other needs required by the neighborhood, all while managing monthly dues collected from residents.

The board of directors in an HOA are elected into their positions to make the best choices on behalf of the homeowners in the neighborhood and to manage funds in the best way possible. Having a board of qualified officials is essential to the neighborhood, but you may not know how they get elected and how you can play a role in that process.

HOA Elections Explained

Every HOA has elections that occur when it’s time to choose new officials for the association. Generally, these elections are held at an annual meeting where residents can vote in new directors to the board. During this meeting the homeowners vote on who they feel the new HOA board of directors should be and who should fill each position on the board including a president, vice president, treasurer and secretary.

The election process for an HOA can vary by community and by state. Local and state laws will set forth the rules of operation that your HOA will need to follow, and that includes the election process. For instance, in the state of California, it is required that an HOA hires an election inspector to manage the election process. This is necessary to avoid any unintentional bias, favoritism or nepotism.

When it comes to the elections, while it may differ in many ways, there are similar steps in the process that are followed.

These steps include the following:

  • There will be an established electoral process in the bylaws and governing documents for your community.
  • There will be announcements and other notifications of your upcoming election which will be given to the members of the association (generally by mail or email).
  • The election will be governed by the bylaws and election rules put in place by your HOA (this usually includes ballots, meetings, etc.).
  • The election will be held on the agreed on and specified date. The votes are received and tallied, and the winners are declared.

Once the election is certified, new directors will step into their new roles.

What This Means for You

Now that you know the process, it is important for you to be involved. The way the residents’ fees are used by the HOA are heavily dependent on who is running the board. If you suspect any wrongdoing in your HOA or don’t like the current process, be sure to vote for people you trust to represent your community and be active in HOA meetings.

Top Places to Retire

Considering Moving After The Pandemic? Check Out These Locations

While it seems like the pandemic is nearing an end with most adults in the United States in line to be vaccinated by May, a lot of people are making long-term life decisions. The decision to retire, to move to another state, to move out of the country, to go back to school, etc. are all on the minds of individuals ready to restart. Of these initiatives, one of the most surprising things economists have noticed is the propensity for older individuals to retire and move.

So, where are retirees planning to move?

Sarasota, Florida

At the top of the list sits the gulf community of Sarasota, Florida. Known for its beachfront condos and high rise waterfront properties, Sarasota is a destination for luxury retirement. Not only will you be front and center of the beautiful beach, you’ll also be in close proximity to shopping, dining and Florida’s wonderful weather.

The average prices in Sarasota start at $750,000, so it’s definitely the spot for a luxury retiree.

Seattle, Washington

If you’ve lived in the south for your entire life, you might welcome a breath of fresh air in Seattle, Washington. Although it’s known for a bustling tech economy, many retirees are finding a new home along the Puget Sound. Like Sarasota, Seattle can be expensive, but it presents a lot of opportunity for anyone looking to move here. You’ll have fishing at your fingertips, a number of nature trails, shopping, dining and more.

The average price in Seattle starts at $800,000, however, you’ll find much more square footage in properties here.

Saratoga Springs, Utah

While it may seem like an unlikely destination for retirees, Utah has become home to many individuals from places like California and Texas. Utah offers its 55+ retirees a bit more of a relaxed lifestyle with easy access to hiking, biking, trails and gorgeous sites to see. Residents of a Saratoga Springs active adult community will be in close locality to Salt Lake City (the capital) with just a short drive to Moab and beautiful national parks.

Average prices of homes in Saratoga Springs are $550,000. All things considered, it’s not a bad price to pay to enjoy your retirement.

Jackson, Wyoming

On state north of Utah is Wyoming. As a premier destination for skiing and horseback riding, Jackson is one of the top places in the country for people to move to after they retire. Living in Jackson put its residents in a beautiful spot with relatively short drives to Idaho, Montana and Colorado. If you enjoy skiing or any winter sights and sounds, Wyoming should be at the top of your list.

The average cost of a home in Jackson is $450,000. However, the cost of living in Wyoming is much more friendly compared to other locations.

Tellico Lake, Tennessee

Hey, you’re the only “Ten I See!” is what residents of this retirement community say. Located directly on a lake with a beautiful backdrop only Tennessee can offer, this 55+ community is ideal for those who want to be near a big city like Knoxville, but enjoy a quiet country lifestyle.

Because it’s such a new development, it’s best to contact a Tellico Lake real estate agent to find the best prices in this community.

Thinking Ahead

If retirement is on your mind and you’re considering moving out of state, consider what you want out of retirement and decide if any of these locations fit your needs. Most importantly, enjoy your retirement – you’ve worked hard your entire life, take a break and enjoy the fresh air from now on.

Why You Should Consider Moving to the Southern US

While you might not immediately think of moving to a southern state in the United States, real estate agents are seeing quite the uptick in new residents. Specifically, real estate agents and brokers in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee are noticing a lot of new home buyers moving from western states like California, Oregon and Arizona.

What Is the Cause for the Change?

According to Sarasota luxury real estate experts The Lynne Koy Group, the recent surge is due to a lot of employed individuals reaching the age of retirement and deciding to relocate.

“Most of our newest buyers have come out of California. We understand California is expensive and when these clients decide it’s time to retire, they choose to spend the rest of their days in sunny Florida. We’re a bit biased, but we believe we have better beaches here in Florida compared to California!”

One important thing to note from this expert is the observation about western states being more expensive to live in. This has been a long-running trend that has unfortunately forced a lot of residents to move outside of California, Oregon and Washington.

Home Prices Have Skyrocketed

The average home price in California has risen more than 20% in the last two years while average salaries have not. For this reason, residents have run into foreclosures, have had to sell their homes and have moved to other states. In fact, Texas is seeing more migrants from California than ever before due solely to the rising home prices. Additionally, California’ homeowners continue to see higher taxes compared to other states.

The Case for the South

As more people migrate from the west, they are finding home in southern states. For those looking to move, here are a few things to consider about living in states like Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida.

A Much More Relaxed Environment

From freeways to grocery store lines, things are a bit more relaxed in the south. Likewise, new migrants will quickly find things are less crowded. If you’re used to being stuck on the freeway on your morning commute, you can say goodbye to that living in the southern US. Of course, major metropolitan areas like Atlanta and Nashville are still busy, but in general it’s a lot more relaxed.

The People

This area of the country is well known for its hospitality. Your neighbor quickly becomes a friend and those in your community quickly become close to you. Someone is always will to help out with anything you need and you’ll find everyone is much nicer. It could be due to the relaxed environment, the great food or the lifestyle of the south. In any case, you’ll love the people.

Costs of Living

If you are someone migrating from the west, you will absolutely love the drastic change in cost of living by living in one of these states. According to one Knoxville real estate agent, most homebuyers see a drop of 15% or more in their average costs. From groceries to gas to entertainment, the south is a very cost-friendly area to live in.

Final Thoughts

Don’t take our word for it. Take a look at various resources online and consider taking a trip to a southern state to see if it is a good fit for you. Whether you are retiring or just looking for a new lifestyle, you’ll be sure to find great options in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama.

Ready to Sell Your Home? Check Out These Tips

The real estate market has been up and down for the last year and in many places, it’s become a seller’s market. For this reason, many homeowners are choosing to put their homes on the market to see what they can make and a lot of people are migrating to different states. For example, Boise was the fastest growing city in the US last year and it has new migrants from Oregon, California and Washington.

Why Are People Moving?

It’s easy to say that people are moving as a result of the past year, however, there are more economic reasons at play. The average home price in California is over $500,000 while the average salary is much less. This is causing people to seek employment and housing in other states, where salaries are more in line with home prices.

The Case for Seniors

Another reason people are migrating is due to older age. A lot of seniors who have retired in the last few years are now planning to sell their homes and move into 55 and older communities or retirement centers. Depending on how active a senior citizen is, these locations provide the social interaction they want with housing prices that are realistic and affordable.

You’re Ready to Sell Your Home – Now What?

If you have made the decision to part ways with your home, the first step in the process is finding out how much you will want to ask. Begin this process by hiring a qualified real estate agent who is very familiar with your neighborhood. This agent will be able to relay features of the community and understand everything about your local market before coming up with a realistic price for your home.

Fixing Any Outstanding Issues

Once potential buyers make offers on your home, you’ll be required to fix things around the house. This could be leaky pipes, patching up holes in the wall, fixing the fence in the backyard, etc. The buyers will expect you to correct any issues with your home or you will need to provide a credit in the transaction.

Do a walkthrough of your home and look for any things you can fix before your home goes under contract. You’ll want to try to make any repairs before the home inspector arrives and marks down everything.

Clearing Out Any Junk

It’s also important to not leave any old furniture, appliances or other types of junk behind when you move. If you have a lot of “junk” in your property, consider renting a dumpster for a few days or hire a junk removal service near you. They’ll come by, pick up all of your old items and you’ll be on your way.

What If You Can’t Sell At Your Asking Price?

With the state of the current economy, you’ll likely be able to sell at or above your asking price. However, if this isn’t happening, don’t panic and immediately drop the price. Consult with your real estate agent and then decide the best next steps based on the market. If it means you need to keep the property on the market longer than you planned, that’s okay. Your agent will be able to tell you the best steps and advise what is best for you to do. If you need to move right away due to employment (starting a new job in another state), your agent can also advise you on the best path forward to selling the home even in if you’re in another state.

Be sure to evaluate these steps before deciding to put your house on the market. You’ll likely have a buyer in no time and be on your way!