Paying Your Dues


One of the pitfalls about being a realtor and blogging about this business is the fear of getting into trouble by badmouthing somebody’s property or project. I really have tried hard not to do that…and sometimes that hasn’t been easy! At the outset here I want to sincerely say that I think Foster City has the best condo/townhouse projects on the Peninsula. They’re well designed, have great amenities and they’re in a town that has substance.

Here’s the problem, I’ve been concerned for a long time about the impact some of these projects association dues would have on their values. I’m really concerned what will happen when some of these projects begin to incorporate flood insurance into their monthly HOA dues. For the uninitiated, Foster City has projects like Winston Square that has dues of $175.00 a month. Treasure Isle at $255.00 a month, Shell Cove at $299.00 a month and Marina Green at $340.00 a month. There’s a bunch of others in this same category and they’re pretty normal if you ask me.

Then you have Bayfront Court at $435.00, Nantucket Cove at $488.00 and Marina Point at $483.00. You also have Meridian Bay at $546.00, The Islands at $603.00 and Promontory Point at $772.00. In 2005 a unit at Promontory Point sold for $1,551,400. No fewer than 16 units sold for more than $1,049,000 in those years. The most money spent at Promontory Point since 2007 was $880,000 in January of 2009. There’s a unit on the market there right now for $749,947.  I can’t think of a project, community or neighborhood in the Mid Peninsula that’s taken the type of pounding that Promontory Point has taken when it comes to value erosion. Call me zany…but do you suppose those dues have had a negative impact?

How does that translate in the real world? At 4.75% interest $772.00 a month is the equivalent of  $148,000 on a mortgage. It’s $116,000 for the Islands and their $603.00 a month dues. I’ve had many, many clients reject these projects when they found out about these dues. I think it’s understandable.

Again, the question is…what happens when they have to absorb mandatory flood insurance? How much will they go up? I know there are really great people living at these projects and I’m sure there are significant reasons for these dues being this high…it’s just a fact that they’re having a large impact on the project’s overall value.


  1. hoa over $600 is totally ridiculous. You can get new townhomes in redwood shores or even palo alto at $800.

  2. sorry I meant $800k. 😛

  3. I thought flood insurance was only if you have a mortgage? What about people like us, who have no mortgage yet own our townhouse? I sure hope we’re not also stuck with sky-high dues (already at 380/month).

  4. and can I just add that our dues sky-rocketed (were 250/month for almost 10 years) when our HOA decided to add earthquake insurance to the policy.

  5. We used to live at Williams Landing. When we moved in 8 years ago, the dues were in the $200 range. In the six years we lived there, the dues alomst doubled. I think they are now up to $424 per month. The dues were one of the reasons that we couldn’t see living there long-term. We now live out-of-state and pay association dues of $250 per quarter!

  6. Jim Minkey says:

    Dana…I think you answered your own question with the news about the HOA increasing the dues when they added earthquake. Sorry..

  7. Dana Ferri says:

    well, I just don’t know how the people in our complex on fixed-incomes (i.e. senior citizens) are going to be able to afford to live here. Many are original owners (like us). Can you imagine having to leave your house of 30+ years because you can’t pay ass’n dues? This is scary & sad.
    I’m still mad at the people who voted in earthquake ins. It’s pretty obvious that if a quake takes out our homes, it’ll be above & beyond our coverage to rebuild. Crazy. We begged them to not instate the policy, even went around polling the neighbors, but in the end, fear won out. It’s better to self-insure against major catastrophes IMO. or get away from earthquake/flood zones.

  8. Jim Minkey says:

    Here’s something else to consider…the new map is supposed to be done in September. If the HOA waits too long to buy the flood policy the price will be substantially higher than if they buy it sooner. FYI

  9. Is it a done deal that flood will be mandatory when they remap?

  10. Jim Minkey says:

    In a nut shell…yes. Hopefully though, it will only be mandatory for a year. The work won’t be done by FEMA’s deadline and they won’t make an exception. You need to buy insurance by August to get the low rate. Here’s FC’s update:

  11. Jim,

    Its true that one could buy a single family home (SFH) that costs $100K+ more without the HOA fee, but but the SFH owner would have to then pay separately for many things that are included in a typical HOA fee — exterior paint, roof repair, fence repair, exterior wall fire insurance, swimming pools, gardening/landscaping, etc.

    I looked at some houses without any HOA fees in FC/Redwood Shores but some of these houses have run-down grass areas and fences because the owners don’t want to spend money to maintain their house. I would much rather pay a reasonable HOA fee (probably less than $500, depending on what is covered) that guarantees that all my neighbors houses are well maintained externally.

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