Barb Silverman, GRI, CNE, CLHMS
LIV - Sotheby's International Realty
1050 Walnut St, Suite 100, Boulder CO 80304
(303) 886 - 5329
Are there maintenance fees (dues)? How much are they?
Washington Village unit owners pay monthly HOA dues to cover common operational expenses and reserves. The developer can tell you the estimated dues for any given unit in a given year. Since the HOA is now operating on a budget based on actual expenses, the dues projections will be adjusted each year when the annual budget is adopted.
Who do maintenance fees (dues) cover?
Currently, our budget covers the following types of expenses:
master insurance policy
property management services, which includes accounting and bookkeeping
landscaping maintenance and repairs
trash and recycling services
common utilities, including irrigation water, common space electricity, and a share of the gas and water bill for buildings that have common spaces
required safety inspections (e.g. fire sprinklers, elevators)
audit and tax preparation
bus passes for all residents
supplies (e.g. community kitchen staples, cleaning supplies)
capital improvements (small amount each year)
contingency (e.g. for unexpected repairs and expenses)
deposit to reserve funds account
Many individual homeowners typically pay a number of these expenses for their current home. So, dues payments can be viewed as being offset by a reduction in expenses that private homeowners usually pay from their household budget.
How are expenses distributed?
Expense allocation for Washington Village is somewhat complicated due to the wide variety of building types, sizes, configuration, age, construction, and unit sizes within the complex.
In general, common expenses, which account for roughly 70% of our budget, are allocated based on the square footage of your unit relative to the total square footage of all units in the community. Building-specific expenses, including reserves, are managed separately for each building and allocated based on your unit's square footage within the building.
We encourage you to read the Condo Declaration and the Washington Village Community Association (WVCA)'s Budget Overview document for a more detailed understanding of how different expenses are allocated.
How much do you rely on volunteers to get work done?
Washington Village members have agreed to hire professionals for any essential work that must be done to maintain property values. We have hired a property manager to handle bookkeeping and manage property maintenance. We work with the property manager to contract professionals for maintenance services, such as landscape maintenance, snow removal, and regular cleaning of the common spaces. We will also hire professionals to audit the books and prepare taxes for the association. There is still plenty of work for volunteers to do in the way of planning and decision making, coordinating social activities, overseeing maintenance, as well as doing things like maintaining the website and coordinating bus passes. Residents are also encouraged to supplement the regularly scheduled maintenance services by cleaning up after using common spaces, particularly in the community kitchen, and help with maintaining the garden areas as they see fit. We may also schedule a few community work days each year to focus on areas that required some focused attention. To the degree that we can employ volunteer energy to get things done, it helps lower our expenses, but if we should ever run short on volunteer energy, the budget is sufficient to maintain property values.
How do you manage reserve funds?
Each building has a separate reserve account funded by the units that occupy the building. Until the project is completed, we are assessing reserves based on 75% of the estimated reserve requirement calculated by the developer based on the construction costs for each building. Once the project is completed and the developer has provided the HOA with a formal reserve study, we plan to fund reserves at 65% of the reserve requirement, which is considered to be a reasonably conservative funding level by many HOA managers.
How are utilities handled?
Some utilities, such as electricity, are metered separately for each unit. Other utilities, such as gas and water, are metered individually for single-family homes, and shared in multi-family buildings. Each unit pays its own electricity. The bills for shared meter utilities are allocated to the units by those utilities on a square footage basis.
Can I have an electric car?
Yes. While many electric cars can be charged on a 110v circuit, the attached single garages also have at least one 240v circuit to support an electric car charging station for owners who choose to install one. We have yet to determine a system for managing expenses associated with electric car charging stations in garages with shared electric meters, but the most likely solution will be based on sub-metering the use of electricity on a given outlet, so the expense can be assessed to the owner of the car that is charged on the outlet.
Can I have a satellite TV?
Yes. However, no satellite TV hookups are provided by the project. Units are wired for standard cable service. So you must contract separately with the satellite dish provider for installation and service. The installation must adhere to the covenants, codes and restrictions of the homeowners' association.
What if I don't need a bus pass (EcoPass)?
Boulder has a great public transit system and encourages residents to get bus passes, which make it easy to hop on a bus. Not only do the buses get you all over town, but you can also catch a bus from Boulder to downtown Denver, the airport, or the Eldora Ski Resort.
If you already have a bus pass through work, we still need to assess the cost of one pass (~$130/year in 2015) to each household. You will be given the option to pay for additional passes for other members of your household.
The City of Boulder required the Washington Village HOA to pay for annual EcoPasses for every household in the community for at least 3 years. One of our community members successfully negotiated to have our community included under the Old North Boulder's neighborhood EcoPass contract, which reduced the bus pass expense to $130 per household (2015 rate).
Until the end of 2016, we will be subject to RTD rates and practices. After 2016, the community will be free to decide whether or not to continue paying for bus passes through HOA dues. However, it is likely that many members of the community will choose to participate in the EcoPass program, regardless of whether it is paid for through the HOA.
What if I don't use the common space? Do I still have to share that expense?
Yes. That is standard practice for any condominium association. Many regard the common space as an asset that adds to the value of homes in our community. If you do not value the grounds and common space, Washington Village may not be a good fit for you, because those expenses represent a significant percentage of our dues.