Urban Condo life: you never know what you’ll see outside your window

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   From coast to coast, it’s one shocking report after another. It turns out high rise condo living does not guarantee your privacy nor great views. At El Cortez, a landmark condo tower in historic downtown San Diego, residents have reported a suspicious drone hovering outside, apparently peering into …

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Mandatory reading before buying in or signing a residential or commercial lease in a mixed-use or high density community.

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   Higher density / mixed used communities, pros & cons A collection of articles and references citing pros and cons of increasing density and incorporating mixed land uses   Advantages promoted by the industry: Walkable communities Affordable lifestyles near urban amenities Reduces sprawl and conserves land and environmental resources …

Urban development: what is the appropriate limit on density?

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   Several readers have contacted me over the past several months, sharing concerns about overdevelopment of multifamily housing, mixed used urban development, and recently approved master planned communities. One reader from Virginia laments that vintage single family and row homes are being demolished to make room for much taller …

Is solution on the horizon for Sinking Millennium Tower Condo?

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities     According to a recent report in Business Insider, homeowners are in mediation with developer Millennium Partners and “other parties,” discussing a possible fix to correct a noticeable tilt in San Francisco’s Millennium Tower Condominium. That proposed fix involves driving dozens of structural piles through the tower’s foundation …

Condo owners oust board that tried to impose $6.4 million special assessment

  Sometimes, the underdog wins - at least in the short run. Following last week's Willamette Week report about a massive special assessment proposed at Westlake Village in Portland, Oregon, five new owners have been elected to the condo board. The new board intends to repeal the ousted board's previous approval of a $6.4 million …

Condo ownership is, at best, only temporarily affordable

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities As real estate prices start to climb, the industry is once again pushing low down payment home loans, luring first-time homebuyers with relatively inexpensive condominiums and townhouses. Buyer beware. In the previous two decades, when developers were building condos and selling apartment-to-condo conversions faster than they could build and …

What should be done about the Phantom, Inactive HOA?

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Yesterday's post provided quantitative data - statistics and surveys from the real estate industry and the U.S. Census - that suggest that association governed communities are falling out of favor with housing consumers. Today I share with readers a report that provides qualitative evidence of a governance model that …

Are homeowners, condo associations in a period of market decline?

Analyzing the HOA "product" from a business point of view By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   Anyone who has taken an introductory course in Marketing or Economics is familiar with the concept of Product Life Cyle. The business theory breaks down the life cycle of a product into four stages: Introduction, Growth, Maturity, and …

Vegas security guard charged with first degree murder following deadly shooting at Mountainside Condos

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities News of a recent shooting at Mountainside Condominiums in Las Vegas has made national news. Associated Press reports that Trayvone Crocket was shot by Malik Kendrick, a security guard employed at Mountainside. Crocket died from his injuries, and a 14-year old girl who was with Crocket at the time …

Condo, Strata power struggles out of control in U.S. and Canada

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Anyone who follows reports of conflict and dysfunction in association-governed, corporate-managed, common interest communities begins to see recurring behavior patterns. It goes something like this: Most owners and residents in multifamily housing try to get along, but, inevitably, a few people living in such close quarters start to get …