Lynn D'Avolio
J. Barrett & Company | 801-597-2857 | lynn1@soldbylynn.com


Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 1/1/2019

There are countless variables in life which make it nearly impossible to predict the future. Whether you're talking about your own life, your children's future, or how society will change in coming years, we can only make educated guesses about where any of us will be in a decade or two.

One of the few things we can predict with a high degree of certainty is the continued growth of the senior citizen population. According to the Institute on Aging, the percentage of retirement-age adults in the United States will reach 20% by the year 2030. That's when the youngest members of the so-called "Baby Boomer Generation" will turn 65.

Although the proportion of older Americans will level off after that, the actual number of people in that demographic group will keep increasing. An advantage of growing older in the next few decades is that we will be in good company! As a result, services, societal attitudes, and government programs will likely be more in-tune to the needs of an aging population.

Empty Nest Syndrome

When children grow up and leave the nest, middle-aged parents often look around them and re-evaluate their needs. As more people reach retirement age, a major lifestyle decision many couples will be weighing is the possibility of "downsizing." While they may still want to be able to have enough room for family gatherings and overnight guests, a large home may no longer fit their lifestyle or financial goals.

Buying a condo, cottage, or other type of smaller home can offer retirees a lot of benefits, especially for those ready to scale back on property maintenance. Moving into a gated community or planned development can free you from the burden of lawn mowing, landscaping, and other time-consuming maintenance tasks. Since these potential benefits may also come with restrictions, it pays to fully understand and feel comfortable with Homeowner Association agreements.

There's also the option of purchasing a smaller and easier-to-manage new home in which you don't have to comply with the requirements and fees of an HOA. For senior citizens of all ages, moving to a house that has a smaller yard to maintain and fewer stairs to climb can make life a lot easier. More compact homes also bring with them the advantages of lower heating and cooling costs.

Depending on financial resources and goals, some Baby Boomers decide to keep their family homestead and buy a second property for vacation purposes, rental income, or a combination of both. While that may seem like the opposite of downsizing, costs can be offset by renting the vacation home to reliable tenants or sharing it with family and friends. Owning a second home also gives you the option of transitioning completely to it when you are ready to downsize or relocate.





Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 6/12/2018

While they have become ubiquitous with the emergence of suburban neighborhoods and townhouses, homeowners associations (HOA, for short) are a relatively new phenomenon.

In modern America, there are many ways to live: apartments, condominiums, houses, townhouses, and now even “tiny houses” are gaining traction. But it wasn’t until the late 1900s that property owners began to experiment with alternative ways of living that revolved around share, “common spaces.”

What constitutes a common area?

Whether you live in an apartment, a house, or in your RV you likely experience common areas every day that are owned by the government. Roads, bridges, and parks are all common areas in that they are used by multiple people and their upkeep is paid for with taxes.

If you take that analogy and apply it to the greenways and lobbies of a condominium, or the streets and sidewalks of a gated community, there are few differences.

What is a homeowners association?

When a developer plans a new community they will often create a homeowners association that will be managed by the people who move into the houses or condominiums. Once a certain number of people have moved into the development and joined the HOA the developer will typically hand over ownership to the HOA and relinquish their legal rights and responsibilities of the land. From there, the HOA typically has complete control over management. Though it should be noted that states have their own HOA related laws with varying levels of oversight.

What does an HOA do?

The most common thing we associate with HOAs is fees and rules. People who move into a community governed by a homeowners association are typically required to join the HOA and are therefore obligated to pay fees and adhere to the guidelines set down by the HOA board.

The fees you pay will go towards maintenance and development of the common areas of your community. That usually amounts to landscaping, maintaining pools and fitness complexes. Fees can range from anywhere between $200 and $450 per month depending on where you live.

HOAs also enforce regulations that homeowners must follow. These vary depending on the community but often include building restrictions for things like fences and additions, as well as other ways that homeowners can customize their homes such as paint and vinyl color. Some homeowners associations go so far as to regulate whether or not a homeowner may fly the flag on their favorite sports team over their door.

Advantages and disadvantages

So what are the advantages and disadvantages you can expect when you belong to a homeowners association? Let’s start with the clear disadvantages. If you are a tinkerer or someone who relishes the freedom to do what they want with their property, living in an HOA-run community might not be right for you. If your salary isn’t quite what you’d like it to be, the cost of living in an HOA neighborhood, along with the monthly fees, might be a bit more than you’re comfortable with.

What about the advantages? First, you can expect that the neighborhood will be well-maintained. This brings about another advantage in that you can expect your property value to grow or at least remain stable thanks to the quality of the neighborhood being carefully managed.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 3/21/2017

In theory, a Homeowners Association (HOA) is a great idea. It gives homeowners a say in how their neighborhood or complex is run and maintained and it gives people an opportunity to get to know their neighbors.

But we’ve all heard stories about homeowners associations that range from a small annoyance to a nightmare, and even some that are just plain strange.

On reddit, homeowners were asked to share some of the stories from their homeowners’ associations. Here are the best ones.

Outsmarting the HOA

Reddit user Bundabar tells about the numerous difficulties they’ve had with their homeowners association when it comes to home improvements. In one instance they were told by the HOA that their fence was a few inches too tall. In response, Bundabar appealed their decision and presented new plans for his backyard… plans that included at 40ft HAM radio tower, which incidentally cannot be regulated by a homeowners’ association. The HOA quickly changed they mind and allowed Bundabar’s fence to remain a few inches outside of regulation.

Backyard engineering

In another strange HOA tale, reddit user Furlessxp shared their experience with a neighbor who loved to tinker. The neighbor began work on a treehouse in his backyard which the HOA disapproved of. A years-long dispute followed, and ultimately the HOA told the neighbor that he would have to have the plans for his treehouse certified by an engineer. At the next meeting, according to Furlessxp, “he handed in the blueprints signed and stamped by no other than himself. That was a great meeting. It turns out that he had a PhD in civil engineering.”

Rooting for the home team

In a different thread, user Viking042900 explains that he liked to fly the flag of the Georgia Bulldogs when the football team was playing. The HOA regulations in his neighborhood state that homeowners are only allowed to fly flags on the day that sports teams are playing. User Viking042900 notes that he accidentally left the flag out a day longer than was allowed, but the HOA was still threatening him with fines.

His response?

“Now I was mad. I printed off a schedule of every sporting event the Bulldogs had in every sport, even club sports and then proceeded to fly the flag every single day.”

Since the University of Georgia has some time of sporting event nearly every day, it became impossible for the HOA to enforce this rule. Ultimately, the association gave up and let him fly his flag freely.



We’ll leave you with one last HOA tale from reddit. This time, user Interwebbing was running the show as president of the homeowners association. His policy?

“I was HOA president for 3 years and never enforced anything. Power to the people.”




Categories: Uncategorized