Shelly Marshall

If people knew what they were getting into, would they still buy in an HOA?  I was convinced that they wouldn’t, but I was wrong. Thirty years ago when I first became aware of HOAs and started to understand what we were dealing with, HOA mandates were already in place in Fairfax County and probably across the country as well.  However, there were still pockets of older neighborhoods so some choices still existed.  Now, even most of those older neighborhoods have been razed to the ground only to be replaced by some new faddish fantasy that will no doubt sound positively utopian but in practice be unworkable.

Shelly Marshall and Michael Marshall, PhD join me On The Commons.  Shelly is an HOA Warrior.  She is a prolific writer of self help books including a book on HOAs, what to look for and how to understand what you are getting into.  Dr. Marshall, Shelly’s brother, is a Psychology Professor and practitioner.  This dynamic duo have combined forces to answer the question; “Why can’t people hear us?”.  Shelly warned Mike about the risks involved in buying a condo and told him to keep looking but that didn’t stop him.  For awhile everything went well until one day when  his utopian dream came crashing down.  So why didn’t he listen?  Why don’t people learn from other people’s stories?  Mike and Shelly, along with Deborah Goonan, are working on a case study, doing some research with the intent of publishing a paper answering this question.  In an easy to understand and simple way, Mike explains the psychology behind human nature.  He and Shelly fill in with facts, stories and typical situations that take place every single day. This is a very exciting piece of research and a fascinating interview.  For all those people who believe that “HOAs are here to stay,” are you listening?


6 thoughts on “Shelly Marshall”

  1. Fantastic interview! Mike sure precisely identified what I did when coming into this HOA. Trusted board members. Kept spending money trying to fix the damages to the house thinking I was doing the right thing. I’m still spending money on an attorney. He didn’t mention this but for so many years my biggest struggle was not wanting to see this mess to some other innocent person. I didn’t want to live with the guilt of doing that. My loyalty to having integrity has cost me everything I have ever worked for plus my health.

    This team of Deborah, Shelly, and Mike could not be better qualified to identify all the aspects of HOA living and what it does to rob human beings of their happiness, health, and financial well-being. I am very much looking forward to the results. For now, I will encourage others to listen to this interview!

    1. Hi Nila–Thank you for staying involved even though it cost you so much. A lot of this is influenced by your father who had warned you too. I never forget your story. How he was involved in building HOAs and warned you never to buy into one. It is chilling what we don’t know about how serious this is. By “we”, I mean the American public. God bless you

      1. Hit button too soon!–I look at myself and wonder why I didn’t know–why you did–Mike–so many of us. Once we know the dangers and risk involved, it is too late. I often use your proposed disclosure risk–Amazing bit of work on your part

  2. Thank you, Shelly.

    Yes, my dad was a builder and developer but would never build or live in an HOA. He worked for JC Nichols after WWII. If you recall from Privatopia by Evan McKenzie, JC Nichols started this HOA nightmare here in Kansas City. I remember as a child when the calls would come asking my dad to build in a particular subdivision. He would ask if it restricted him from selling to blacks and Jews. When they said, yes he told them he was not interested because he would not build in any subdivision where people who could afford to live there were denied that right because of the color of their skin or religion. I remember those calls but as a child had no idea what they meant. He later developed with restrictions but no CC&Rs and no board or mandatory dues. I can tell you a community he built on a popular lake in Missouri now has houses selling for 10 times what those homeowners paid for them. I’m sure part of that reason is because there is no HOA. The homeowners have kept the properties looking nice and many of them have been in the families for over 40 years. What an investment, right? Parents or grandparents built a resort home for $50 and now it’s worth $500! So much for the propaganda of needing an HOA to protect property values!

    My first big mistake was never asking my dad WHY to never buy in an HOA before he died 30 years ago. The second of course, was buying into an HOA. It’s difficult to watch other people do it, but as you’ve learned people must experience the misery for themselves. Thus is life. I know we’ve saved some from the HOA misery and it’s best to focus on those I suppose.

    Keep up the good work!

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