Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Paying HOA Dues

Home Owner's Association dues are one of the annoyances of home ownership in many towns and cities. On one hand they keep you and your neighbors from collecting junk in your front yards and from painting the houses pink. My HOA spends it's time and my money on sending out weed letters to people and creating a newsletter urging residents to watch out for graffiti and to pick up after their dog.

My dues used to be $20/m when I first bought the house. Now they are $28/m. I didn't realise they could go up. Anyway, I pay them regularly because no one wants to get on the wrong side of their HOA. This year they sent out payment booklets with a little coupon every month. I despise payment booklets. What a waste of paper and time. The only bill that I pay monthly is my credit card bill and that is only because I like to look at it first. I get the statements online and pay with online bill pay.

In the last HOA newsletter, they announced that dues can be paid online through their website. Great, I thought, I can put 6 months of dues on my credit card and get cash back. I went through the whole process of signing up and finally got to the place to pay. I was just about to push the pay button when something caught my eye. I went back and read "$9.95 convenience fee". Are they crazy? They almost got me. I got off that site very fast and used online bill pay which is free through my bank. That was almost an expensive mistake just to get about 30 cents cash back.


Dave said...

So your HOA wants to charge YOU an extra $10 for the "privilege" of paying THEM EARLY so they bank your prepaid money and earn interest on it? What a scam! Glad you found it before you got hit with the unpleasant surprise.

Then again, at my co-op, I once asked the manging agent (after the post office lost my check) to enable us to set up an automatic electronic payment like we have had with our local utilities (i.e. phone, electric, cable TV) for more than 10 years. And they won't do it, despite the fact that we have for the last several years been mailing our monthly maintenance fees (like your HOA fees except that they include property taxes and extra common charges for our co-op's upkeep) directly to our managing agent's BANK instead of to them!

So after all these years, this is the only monthly bill I still pay using a check, stamp, and envelope. How ancient!

Daizy said...

Some people just can't move in to the modern age. My gas company used to have an option to pay online called "check free". They meant you didn't have to write a paper check. The service was not free.

Anonymous said...

I'll trade HOA fees with you. Mine is $76 monthly, and I also live in AZ. (Not Scottsdale, either!) About the "convenience fees"--B of A touts their "save a stamp" feature, but I'd rather sacrifice a stamp instead of paying them $9.95 for the convenience. Guess they think we're all crazy.


Lizzie @ her homeworld said...

Finally a bill i don't have to pay. What do you get for your money? I guess it isn't optional. Maybe you can register as a dog charity? Okay, maybe not!just an idea

Daizy said...

Hi Laura, $76! Wow. I hope you at least get a pool with that fee.

Daizy said...

Hi Lizzie, the HOA is for the neighborhood that my rental house is in. I don't have an HOA out here in the country where I live. My fees pay for a basketball court, a picnic table, the people who keep the weeds away from the common area and for all of the paperwork involved in making sure everyone follows the rules. Oh, and for the ssalaries of the management company. I wanted a pool but no luck.

Kevin Surbaugh said...

They send out weed notices? Aren't HoA fees suppose to include paying someone to do the maintenance (like mowing)? Why would a d*** newsletter benefit me? If I am paying homeowners association fees, then they should be doing the mowing, maintaining the pool, and any other areas (like maybe the condo/town-home/duplex/etc roof).

As for online bill pay, just go to the banks/credit unions website, set up a payment for them and send them a payment (if they aren't set up to receive the payment electronically, the financial institution will send them a payment via check in the regular mail. I have several people that gets a check payment this way (like my trash man). If you want to send the payment monthly, have the financial institution automatically send the payment monthly, or quarterly or semi-annually, or even annually.

Daizy said...

Prince of Thrift, yes, weed notices and 'you left your trash cans out too long' are the common notices. I don't even want to know how much they spend on postage. The newsletter includes handy tips like 'clean up after your dog' and 'don't play your music too loaud when you drive through the neighborhood'.