Category Archives: Property Values

Bill Davis

Homeownership is not a new idea, it has been around a long time.  For ages people have saved their money/got a mortgage bought a house and lived happily ever after.  When did this sensible concept get replaced and why did we have to make such a complicated mess out of an otherwise simple and easy to understand part of life?  Who benefits?  Certainly not the housing consumers.  And what exactly are we paying for when we fall in love with that perfect house and put our lifesavings on the table to buy the house?  How much is that dream home REALLY costing us?  Are we given a full break down of the costs, now and in the future?  If not, should we be told before we turn our pockets inside out to get the keys to the house?

Bill Davis joins us On The Commons.  Bill, a Texas attorney and one of only a handful of attorneys nationwide, who represents homeowners and consumers at odds with their HOAs.   A frequent guest, Bill has an uncanny ability to get to the  bottom of the problem and shed a slightly different light on issues that most of us have never thought about.  We talk to Bill about how our understanding of property values, that carrot that is dangled in front of every homeowner to get them to give up rights, has changed the way we see property, property rights and property values.  Concepts once easily understood but now ” subject to interpretation”.  We also talk about true costs of buying a home and identify some of the hidden costs and how they affect our ongoing financial outlay. We have a lot of questions, a few answers and a piece of advice:  “take off those rose colored glasses and get to the bottom of this housing mess”.    

Dangling a carrot in front of homeowners to force them to give up their rights.

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Jill Schweitzer

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In memory ofJill Schweitzer, a valiant warrior in the property rights battle for transparency and honest.  Jill lost her life on October 25, 2016.   Here is a show from July 2014

“If it hurts, it must be good for you”. Remember that one? Fortunately we got smart and realized that if it hurt it really was not good for us. Along the same lines of thinking is the other oft repeated canard which is that homeowner associations protect property values. “If your HOA makes you miserable and physically ill, is abusive, is grossly mismanaged, is secretive, etc. etc. etc., it is OK because it protects your property values.” This makes about as much sense as “if it hurts, it’s good for you.” Despite the fact that the “protected property values” claim is totally unsubstantiated, we hear it over and over again.

Maybe it is time to get smart and to stop being so gullible. Next time you are told HOAs protect property values, insist on tangible proof. Preventing a neighbor from painting their front door red is not acceptable and it really doesn’t prove anything.

Jill Schweitzer joins us On The Commons. Jill is a Real Estate Broker in Scottsdale, Arizona where there are a lot of mandatory membership HOAs and condominiums. She is concerned about all the problems in these controlled properties and has taken it upon herself to try to understand what is going on. She actually put pen to paper and did the math. She tracked and analyzed property values in 10 condo projects in Scottsdale over a period of 10 years. Her findings are on her website hoasavers.com  It might come as no surprise that contrary to protecting property values, HOAs can actually devalue property. Tune in, we’ll talk to Jill about a myriad of problems that seem to be part and parcel of HOAs, find out why she decided to look into HOAs and what she is planning on doing to protect her clients’ property.

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Deborah Goonan

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Oh what a web we weave….  In the beginning the mass production of HOAs was designed to provide municipalities with free tax $$$.   One of the deceptions most commonly used to convince housing consumers to buy into a residential association was that HOAs protected property values.  In fact Declarations started with a statement that read ” The purpose of this association is to protect property values”.  That was the first silk produced for the web.  As time went on and the web grew bigger and thicker and more intricate, the problems and the issues multiplied.  The flaws in the system were easier to identify and the country started trimming and tweaking the web they created.  Their efforts not only failed but led to more problems and more complications.  And the web continues to grow!

Deborah Goonan joins us On The Commons.  Deborah is a homeowner advocate who learned all about the perils and problems in HOAs when she and her husband bought a house in one of Florida’s planned developments  It wasn’t long before the warm and fuzzy feelings for their new home were marred by the flaws in the system.  Since then she has been commenting on the various internet sites about the issues as well as hosting her own blog called Independent American Communities.  As a result, she is up on the current stories and is frequently contacted by people who thought they bought into the American Dream but find themselves living the American nightmare.  If we are going to nip and tuck away at this web, what are some of the major concerns that people have? We talk to Deborah about some of the latest stories out there and discover the 5 core areas that are causing the greatest heartburn for American homeowners.  Will her list surprise you or will you agree with the issues homeowners find the most problematic?  Tune in and find out.

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Bill Davis

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The earliest deed restricted communities were exclusionary and were honest enough to admit the reason of their existence.  It wasn’t until we got to the mass production of these neighborhoods that we see the entire HOA house of cards was built on a foundation of deceit.  It started as a way of allowing local municipal governments to collect “free” tax money while the homeowners ended up paying twice for the same services.  At one point Declarations started off by saying, “The purpose of this association is to protect property values”.  Unable to substantiate that claim, I don’t think they include that statement any more.  But the “purpose for HOAs” was out there.  And once you start off by telling a lie, more and more lies will have to be told to cover up for the first one.  And of course, every lie will need some form of enforcement mechanism. 

Dismantling this house of cards before the entire system collapses and millions of people are hurt financially and emotionally is a tough job. It is, however,  something that will need to be done.

Bill Davis joins us On The Commons.  Bill, an attorney in Texas, switched his practice to representing homeowners and consumers.  And having made that switch, he has been very busy ever since.  I love listening to his stories about some of his cases.  I am not sure if the “interesting” cases just naturally gravitate towards him or if Bill has a natural talent for zeroing in on the absurdities of HOAs, board members and the attorneys and managers who spend their time propping them up.  I always enjoy talking to Bill and listening to his theories and his stories and this interview is no exception.  

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Nancy Hentschel

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Those darling dinosaurs, happily grazing in a Texas yard brought smiles to the faces of children of all ages.  The grumpy board members of the inevitable HOA, not so much.  They decided that the dynamic duo had to leave “or else….”  Well, you know what they can be like – a little power and they lose their heads.  But this story really is all about the power of the people, the ability of the neighbors to appreciate a couple of beautiful sculptures that  give such joy to the folks next door and across the street.  Notwithstanding the grumpy ones, the residents of this neighborhood all wanted a pair of dinosaurs of their own – at least for a while.  And thus began an amazing journey and a lesson for all of us, including the grumpy group. Are you listening?

By the way, you do not have to be a board member to be grumpy and not all board members are grumpy. 

Nancy Hentschel joins us On The Commons to give us an update on her ingenious plan to share her dinosaurs with her new friends in the neighborhood.  She explains how her generosity is helping make money for the charities.   The plan is simple and brilliant.  Any neighbor who wants to have the dinosaurs spend a little time in their front yard will have to make a $50 donation to the charity of their choice.  Charities are getting much needed money, especially at this time of the year.  Smiles, grins, joy and photo ops  these big prehistoric beings bring continue.  It is a win win for all.  Although Nancy is in the process of moving to a saner, kinder neighborhood where grumpy people are not allowed, she is generously allowing her dazzling dinos to remain behind.  They are defying the traditional HOA wisdom about uniformity and conformity protecting property values and proving that a little fun can go a long way in making a happy community.  Talking to Nancy I was reminded of a short story I read online called A Flock of Lawn Flamingos .  Nancy, thanks for reminding us of what is really important in life.

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Vicki MacHale

“If it hurts, it must be good for you” or so the saying went for years.  Fortunately that myth was debunked when cooler heads prevailed and proved that pain was not a good thing. Along the same thinking, and with no conclusive evidence to support their claims of protecting property values, we watched as more and more restrictions, rules and covenants were added to the already long list of what homeowners could not do in their own homes.  This canard was repeated often enough so many people started to accept it as gospel. Well, it appears the pendulum may be swinging back the other way.  New legislation is prohibiting HOAs from banning such things as clotheslines, solar panels and flags.  These were the iconic red flags that were said to lead to “ghetto living”.

Vicki MacHale joins us On The Commons this week.  Vicki has 22 years experience in property management in California.  She recently wrote an article about the laws stripping HOAs of some of the powers they had.  She very accurately titled her article 

 “The Sky is Falling”.   She writes about the reactions from fellow colleagues and board members to the new laws as they are enacted and assures them that the sky really is not falling. Over the years, she has watched as choice in housing has been eliminated.  No longer do housing consumers get to decide how to live.  Vicki calls this the beige-ing of America. We’ll talk to Vicki and understand  what she means by the beige-ing of America and we’ll learn about some of the laws enacted in California removing powers from HOAs.   We’ll find out if the world really will come to an end or will this trend will lead to building real communities instead of war zones. 

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Jill Schweitzer

“If it hurts, it must be good for you”. Remember that one? Fortunately we got smart and realized that if it hurt it really was not good for us. Along the same lines of thinking is the other oft repeated canard which is that homeowner associations protect property values. “If your HOA makes you miserable and physically ill, is abusive, is grossly mismanaged, is secretive, etc. etc. etc., it is OK because it protects your property values.” This makes about as much sense as “if it hurts, it’s good for you.” Despite the fact that protected property values claim is totally unsubstantiated, we hear it over and over again.

Maybe it is time to get smart and to stop being so gullible. Next time you are told HOAs protect property values, insist on tangible proof. Preventing a neighbor from painting their front door red is not acceptable and it really doesn’t prove anything.

Joining us On The Commons this week is Jill Schweitzer. Jill is a Real Estate Broker in Scottsdale, Arizona where there are a lot of mandatory membership HOAs and condominiums. She is concerned about all the problems in these kontrolled properties and has taken it upon herself to try to understand what is going on. She actually put pen to paper and did the math. She tracked and analyzed property values in 10 condo projects in Scottsdale over a period of 10 years. Her findings are on her website hoasavers.com. It might come as no surprise that contrary to protecting property values, HOAs can actually devalue property. Tune in, we’ll talk to Jill about a myriad of problems that seem to be part and parcel of HOAs, find out why she decided to look into HOAs and what she is planning on doing to protect her clients’ property.

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Bill Davis

Have you heard the one about homeowner associations being “democracy, up close and personal”?  How about homeowners in HOAs are better able to influence their immediate neighborhoods than their counterparts who live in the real world?  And one of my all time favorites, “If you don’t like the rules, you can change them.” See, there is absolutely nothing to worry about, it is all oh so very civilized.
Or is it?
Some Texas homeowners actually believed all that jazz.  They thought they had a say in their neighborhood and decided bans on fences or fence heights to preserve the view of a nonexistent golf course made no sense.  So, they did what any concerned person would do, they tried to amend the governing documents to change outdated, restrictions and pave the way for a more friendly place to live.
Joining us On The Commons this week is Bill Davis.  Bill, a Texas attorney, represents homeowners who find themselves having to protect their rights and their homes from the associations they have the misfortune of belonging to.  We’ll talk to Bill about a particular association and find out why, as a “legal formality” the association sued 120 members who signed a petition to amend the governing docs.  We’ll also talk about some of the “games” attorneys and associations play to circumvent the rules, and in some cases, the laws.

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