Category Archives: Condominiums

Wilton Manors – A Gay Village for Retirees

Wilton Manors in Florida is home to a very large LGBTQ population. Many of these individuals are retired individuals and couples who have moved to Florida to spend their golden years in peace. The city has the second highest percentage of LGBTQ residents to total population (behind Provincetown, MA), with 140 out of every 1,000 identifying as a member of the community. This 14% is much, much higher than the national average of 1.1% of the U.S. population, so if you want to spend time with other LGBTQ people, Wilton Manors is definitely one of the places to go!

The History of Wilton Manors

Wilton Manors – A Gay Village for RetireesWhile it may not play as big a part in the struggle for equality as gay villages in New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles, Wilton Manors still has an interesting history. It’s a somewhat young city—it was incorporated in 1947. Despite that, it quickly became a haven for LGBTQ individuals. As more and more LGBTQ people moved to Wilton Manors, related organizations came into the area. This led to the funding of the Wilton Manors Pride Center, a branch of the Stonewall National Museum, and the World AIDS Museum and Educational Center. The city’s police department features LGBTQ officers and a liaison officer, plus a number of elected city officials, including at least one mayor, have identified as members of the community.

Senior Living

In addition to the condos, apartments, and single-family homes that retirees can purchase in Wilton Manors, the city is also home to an LGBTQ senior housing complex. This development features more than 50 housing units, all of which are priced for the limited income retirees often find themselves with. They also offer extra features to help those in need, including assistance getting to doctor’s appointments and other locations.

A Great Location

While Wilton Manors isn’t a huge city—it has a regular population of a little over 11,000, although that number greatly increases during vacation season—it is located near Fort Lauderdale and Oakland Park. Both of these cities are also home to a number of LGBTQ individuals and families, plus they offer many different shopping and dining options. The city is also considered a part of the Miami Metro Area, and thanks to several major highways, it’s easy to get to travel to many of the events Miami hosts.

Pricing in Wilton Manors

Wilton Manors does have a wide range of housing prices. Those who qualify for living in the senior living center may find that their housing costs fit nicely into their budgets. Those who are looking to purchase a home, though, may end up spending $500,000 or more depending on where in Wilton Manors they want to be located. A gay or lesbian real estate official can assist you with finding a home that fits your needs and your budget.

3 New York Neighborhoods That Won’t Break The Bank

New York gets a lot of flak for being extremely expensive. Sadly, most of the time this reputation is completely deserved; the state has some of the most expensive neighborhoods and cost of living prices in the country and if you try to cut corners you could end up somewhere that’s less than desirable.

New York is a Great Place to Live, and Is Not As Expensive in Some Areas As It Used to BeHowever, New York actually has a few neighborhoods that are moderately priced and safer than the surrounding areas, but still have the metropolitan feel that New York is famous for. If you don’t mind waiting a year or two for the gentrification to take hold, then these neighborhoods might be your ticket to a blossoming piece of investment property.

Harlem

Harlem is the cultural center of New York City. But it was also noted as the crime capital of New York a few years ago. Luckily waves of gentrification have struck the city which has forced crime down and property values upward. The going rate for condos in Harlem is around $400,000 to $500,000, currently.

Buying property in Harlem is a smart investment at this point in time. The value of these homes will increase substantially as the neighborhood gentrifies more and more. Even if you’re not willing to make a forever home in Harlem, you can still rake in a tidy profit when you decide to sell.

Bushwick

Bushwick isn’t quite as far along the gentrification path as Harlem is. The neighborhood is still rough around the edges, and it lacks things like restaurants and other amenities that would cause the prices to increase.

However, the neighborhood is a far cry from what it was just a decade ago. You may not want to move in just yet, but this one definitely should stay on your radar. The prices for condos vary greatly, but it’s recommended that you go no lower than $400,000 in this neighborhood.

Crown Heights

When non-New Yorkers think about the town of Crown Heights, they automatically think of the Crown Heights riots that took place 1991. This event combined with New York’s general reputation as a hive of unrest causes them to look elsewhere almost immediately.

However, the riots were over two decades ago and any unrest from that time period has long since died. Crown Heights boasts affordable (and really good looking) condos that start at around $400,000. It still suffers from a lack of common amenities like restaurants and coffee shops, but remember that this is New York we’re talking about. Something exciting is never farther than a few minutes away.

5 Tips for Same Sex Couples and Home Owners Associations (HOA’s)

Home Owners Associations, (HOA) is an organization of property owners in a subdivision, development or condominium complex that administers the rules and covenants of that neighborhood or community. Covenants are legal, contractual agreements that are said to run with the land, meaning that the covenant cannot be separated from the land and is transferred with it when the property is sold. They are used to enforce certain standards of the community to keep property values from falling and can prohibit a number of things, including the color you can paint the home, fences, landscaping and building materials.

imagesRules are made and enforced by the HOAs in relation to property owner conduct, common areas such as pools and other amenities and even how many pets , what size and what type you can have. Following are 5 tips for same sex couples and Home Owners Associations.

1. Before purchasing a home governed by an HOA, ask to see the rules and regulations or Codes, Covenants and Restrictions, CCRs. Review those documents carefully to make sure that you are comfortable living by those rules. For example, if you have four pets but the rules only allow you to have two, are you willing to find other homes for two of your pets?

2. Ask to see the HOAs financial statements. They are generally not obligated by law to show them to you if you are not a homeowner. Many HOAs are nonprofits and, as such, you may find their statements from the Secretary of State or other government office, depending on the state that you live in, that maintains corporate nonprofit licenses and financial statements.

3. Read the board of directors meeting minutes to find out if any special assessments are coming up. Special assessments are funds that are needed by the HOA for unexpected expenses or extraordinary repairs. They get those funds by charging each homeowner with a portion of the cost. That assessment is in addition to your normal HOA dues. You may also find out about any bylaw or other changes in how the community will operate that may have a direct effect on you.

4. Talk to your potential neighbors. This is an excellent way to find out how the HOA is doing financially and whether the homeowners are happy with the current board of directors. In addition, you will get a feel for the type of people living in the neighborhood and may even make new friends. This is especially important for same sex couples so that they can avoid the frustration of not being welcomed into the community.

5. Find out if the home you are considering purchasing is in violation of HOA rules. If it is, you will be required to correct the problem to avoid being fined by the HOA. The rules of all HOA organizations allow fines, liens and other consequences for noncompliance with its rules. Note that some states have laws dictate how HOAs can operate along with the notice requirements for violations of the HOAs rules. You should check your state’s HOA laws so that you are aware of what an HOA can legally get away with.

Living in a community that is governed by an HOA can be great for maintaining your property values and having someone else take care of the community amenities. Problems arise when the HOA does not do a good job or overly restricts what you can do on your own property. The above 5 tips for same sex couples and home owners associations can help you avoid bad HOAs that can end up costing you a lot of money and stress.

An experienced local LGBT real estate agent at GayRealEstate.com will also know the ins and outs involved in purchasing a home in an HOA community and can guide you through the process while looking out for your best interests.

5 Tips for Same Sex Couples and Home Owners Associations (HOA’s)

Home Owners Associations (HOA), is an organization of property owners in a subdivision, development or condominium complex that administers the rules and covenants of that neighborhood or community. Covenants are legal, contractual agreements that are said to run with the land, meaning that the covenant cannot be separated from the land and is transferred with it when the property is sold. They are used to enforce certain standards of the community to keep property values from falling and can prohibit a number of things, including the color you can paint the home, fences, landscaping and building materials.

imagesRules are made and enforced by the HOAs in relation to property owner conduct, common areas such as pools and other amenities and even how many pets you can have.

Following are 5 tips for same sex couples and Home Owners Associations.

1. Before purchasing a home governed by an HOA, ask to see the rules and regulations or Codes, Covenants and Restrictions, CCRs. Review those documents carefully to make sure that you are comfortable living by those rules. For example, if you have four pets but the rules only allow you to have two, are you willing to find other homes for two of your pets?

2. Ask to see the HOAs financial statements. They are generally not obligated by law to show them to you if you are not a homeowner. Many HOAs are nonprofits and, as such, you may find their statements from the Secretary of State or other government office, depending on the state that you live in, that maintains corporate nonprofit licenses and financial statements.

3. Read the board of directors meeting minutes to find out if any special assessments are coming up. Special assessments are funds that are needed by the HOA for unexpected expenses or extraordinary repairs. They get those funds by charging each homeowner with a portion of the cost. That assessment is in addition to your normal HOA dues. You may also find out about any bylaw or other changes in how the community will operate that may have a direct effect on you.

4. Talk to your potential neighbors. This is an excellent way to find out how the HOA is doing financially and whether the homeowners are happy with the current board of directors. In addition, you will get a feel for the type of people living in the neighborhood and may even make new friends. This is especially important for same sex couples so that they can avoid the frustration of not being welcomed into the community.

5. Find out if the home you are considering purchasing is in violation of HOA rules. If it is, you will be required to correct the problem to avoid being fined by the HOA. The rules of all HOA organizations allow fines, liens and other consequences for noncompliance with its rules. Note that some states have laws dictate how HOAs can operate along with the notice requirements for violations of the HOAs rules. You should check your state’s HOA laws so that you are aware of what an HOA can legally get away with.

Living in a community that is governed by an HOA can be great for maintaining your property values and having someone else take care of the community amenities. Problems arise when the HOA does not do a good job or overly restricts what you can do on your own property. The above 5 tips for same sex couples and home owners associations can help you avoid bad HOAs that can end up costing you a lot of money and stress. An experienced local LGBT real estate agent from GayRealEstate.com will also know the ins and outs involved in purchasing a home in an HOA community and can guide you through the process while looking out for your best interests.

6 Questions Every LGBT Person Should Ask Before Buying a Condominium

A condominium, commonly referred to as a condo, is a large building that is divided into single family units that are sold individually. Ownership includes shared community property such as the parking lot, hallway, elevator and the central heat and air conditioning unit.

condominiumBefore purchasing a condo, you should do some research so that you understand exactly what you are buying before signing on the dotted line. The laws of condo ownership are not exactly the same as they are for buying a typical single family home. Following are 6 questions every LGBT person should ask before buying a condominium.

1. What are the condo association rules and regulations? Before purchasing a condo, you should ask for copies of the condo’s bylaws and read that document. It outlines the rules and regulations that govern owners and tenants and how the association operates. There may be some rules that could impact the lifestyle you choose to lead that would be important for you to know before purchasing the condo.

Condo associations may enact rules and regulations as they deem appropriate within the confines of the law. Each state has its own statutes on what may or may not be included in those documents. For example, California Civil Code §§ 1350 – 1378, the Davis Stirling Act, dictates the authority that an association can exercise and what can and cannot be included in an association’s bylaws and rules and regulations. Because of this, you may want to review your state’s laws before looking for a condo to purchase. It will give you an idea of whether owning a condo is the best choice for you.

2. What fee does the condo association charge? Most associations charge monthly fees that are applied to the upkeep of the common property including the land surrounding the condo, the exterior of the building and any amenities such as swimming pools or banquet rooms. For example, snow and ice removal, lawn maintenance, siding and roofing. You will also want to find out if any increases are imminent and, if so, how much.

3. What maintenance does the monthly condo association fee cover? For items not covered in the fees, you will want to find out what how often special assessments are initiated and for what type of repairs. A special assessment is money that an association needs to pay for a project that is not included in the annual budget. For example, the septic system becomes damaged and must be replaced. A special assessment may be initiated to pay for the replacement. The assessment may take the form of a lump sum payment from all members of the association or an additional amount added to your monthly fees. This information will impact the amount of money that you will need to budget each month for your condo expenses.

4. Ask to look at the minutes from the condo association board meetings. Reviewing the minutes will let you know what the members are complaining about, how the association responds to those complaints, how well the association is taking care of the building, and whether the seller has been truthful about any upcoming projects that may cost you money in the form of a special assessment if you buy the condo. Not all associations will provide their minutes and most state laws do not dictate that they have to.

Even if you are allowed to read the associations minutes, you should also talk to some of the neighbors in the condo. Ask them how they like living there, what problems they are having and what they think about the condo association. Talking to the neighbors will also give you an idea of whether they are the type of people that an LGBT person or family would be comfortable living next to.

5. What does the condo association insurance cover? You will need to purchase a separate insurance policy to cover items not included in the association’s insurance, such as the inside of your condo and its contents. Some association bylaws dictate what minimum type of insurance coverage owners must purchase.

6. How much money does the condo association have? This is an important aspect because if the association has no reserve funds, they cannot afford to pay for repairs, and that cost may be assessed to the condo owners. If the condo has a bad roof and the paint is peeling and the condo has no funds in its coffers to repair the building, it is a major red flag that there are problems within the association or with its members.

The best way to purchase a condo is to hire an LGBT real estate agent who knows the neighborhood that the condo you are interested in is located. An experienced agent will also know the ins and outs involved in purchasing a condo and will guide you through the process while looking out for your best interests.

Chicago Gay Realtors tips to lower Home Owners Association (HOA) Dues

Most of us pay our HOA (Home Owners Association) dues monthly without question. However with a little investigation and possible participation, our Chicago gay realtor suggests you may just become the residents’ new best friend, by actually lowering the dues.

Gay Realtors tips to lower Home Owners AssociationHOA fees greatly influence decisions on whether to buy or not buy a specific condo, since the dues come straight from the buyers pocket and influence the amount of money they can potentially spend on the mortgage itself. HOA dues can be problematic for sellers as well making your unit unaffordable and in most cases and difficult if you want to sell your property.

The HOA board is made up of volunteers (condo owners) who have their life just like you. Even with good intentions the typical day-to-day problems, concerns and considerations make it difficult to focus much attention on ways to reduce the monthly HOA dues.

The association budget is similar to any budget, and hence there are ways you can minimize the expenses. Below are some of the ways to positively influence your HOA dues.

1. Inquire to Review The HOA budget          

Make sure you review the HOA budget as the condo owner and ask for any questions related to it.

2. Become Part of The HOA board

By being a board member, you will have the unbiased opportunity to know everything that goes around the HOA’s finances- They could be contracts etc., and you’ll have a direct opportunity to guide the direction of the association, vs. sitting on the sidelines.

3. Review the HOA’s contracts

By reviewing contracts (elevator, security, landscaping, maintenance, etc.) you will understand the agreements involved with the different vendors. You will see contracts that might have been agreed upon years ago and may be worth renegotiating, or putting out to bid, to receive more favorable terms for the HOA.

Other things you can look into:

  • Analyze insurance premiums
  • Cut or delay unnecessary “new/pending”projects and non-essential maintenance.
  • If possible, reduce reserves.

It’s not that difficult

HOA’s normally are dying for quality candidates to participate on the board, and for homeowners to show up at monthly and especially annual meetings. Keep in mind, even as a board member you are required to following the by-laws of the association, your suggestions might have to undergo some formal voting by the board members and in some cases it will involve the whole association (every owner) before they are implemented.

Have a conversation with the HOA president or board members and inform them about your desire and or your agenda. Let them know that your goal, is to lowering the association’s cost to benefit everyone!

Author Jeff Hammerberg is a gay realtor and Founding CEO of GayRealEstate.com ~ Offering Free Instant Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast to Coast. Free Buyers Representation ~ Free Relocation Kit to any City, USA ~ Free Sellers Market Analysis for home sellers.

Posted on October 11, 2013 in Condominiums, Gay Realtor News