Friday, November 5, 2010

Miss V answers your questions about the Village

Often Miss V gets questions about Fairfax Village. I figure for the benefit of everyone, I'd share my frank and honest answers. If you still have questions, do NOT be afraid to ask.

I keep hearing there are multiple Villages in Fairfax Village. How many Villages are there and is Fairfax Village one condo association?
There are nine Villages in Fairfax Village. For ease there are numbered I-IX (how creative... not). Each Village has their own set of governing documents, Board of Directors, budget, and condo fees. All that to say there are nine individual Condo Associations.

There is also the Fairfax Village Community Association, which is comprised of Villages I-VII. Village VIII and IX elect not to be part of the Community Association The Community Association has a Board of Directors comprised of a representative from each Village (I-VII). The Community Association has its own governing documents and budgets. Each Village pays a monthly payment to the Community Association for shared services such as administrative staff, on-site maintenance, landscaping, insurance, and snow removal.

So are you the President of the Community Association?
No. I'm the President of Fairfax Village IV, which is 2000 to 2014 Fort Davis St SE and 3901 to 3933 Pennsylvania Ave SE. The current President of the Community Association is a representative from Village V.

What are the condo fees and what do they pay for?
Each Village passes their own budget, so condo fees do vary by Village. Since I'm not a unit owner in the other Villages, I'm not privy to their budgets, however I do know that My Village (Village IV) has the highest fees in the Village. While it may deter some people from wanting to purchase in my Village to save money, one thing to keep in mind is that our high condo fees provide us with money to provide services to our residents. In addition, the current Village IV Board has invested money into our property to preserve our building infrastructure. For example, we just invested money to have our gutters replaced. If you look at other Villages, the gutters are in deplorable shape. Food for thought.

Condo fees pay for expenses such as maintenance of the common elements of the building, landscaping, snow removal, insurance, administrative fees, and reserves for improvement projects.

The rumor through the Realtor community is Fairfax Village has high condo fee delinquencies and too many renters, so banks aren't closing on home loans on interested buyers. Is that true?
The answer is more complex than a strict yes or no. As far as the banks goes there are several reasons why they aren't closing. 1) The potential buyer who can afford to purchase in Fairfax Village can't meet the banks new stringent requirements, which has nothing to do with us. Banks are being stingy with their money. 2) We aren't FHA-certified, which means certain buyers would not be able to purchase in Fairfax Village with a FHA loan (lower interest than conventional loans) and 3) Some (not all) Realtors are not adequately marketing Fairfax Village as a place with potential.

To address the rumors.... As a result of the economy, some Villages do have delinquencies. In some Villages homeowners refuse to pay because they do not feel like they are getting adequate service from their Condo Association. Some Villages do not have enough money to operate because their condo fees are low and their delinquencies are high. While my Village does have delinquencies, we have been aggressive with getting court orders and in some cases foreclosing.

Some of the Villages are very renter heavy, which makes them ineligible to get FHA-certified. My Village is about 50/50. I will be very frank and state that I hope and pray no more "investors" purchase in Village IV. I can't control who buys, but I will say that absentee landlords have been the bane of my Presidency. We desperately need unit owners who are going to live in their units and work with the Board to make it better.

How bad is the crime?
Our crime is low compared to other parts of the Ward AND other parts of the City. When we do have crime are hotspots are 38th and Suitland Terr. Most of our crime is theft from auto because people leave valuables in plain sight. I've lived here for 5 years and I've never felt unsafe. I think it's because 1) I know my neighbors (who belongs and who doesn't) and 2) I have a good relationship with MPD because I attend the PSA 606 meetings. All that being said, I recognize that I do live in an urban area and I need to be aware of my surroundings.

Why type of person would Fairfax Village be ideal?
Fairfax Village is ideal for single young professional men. A large portion of the new residents over the last 5 years have been FINE single young professional women. I'm JUST SAYING. In all seriousness the units are ample space for a single person. Mayor-Elect Vincent Gray mentioned many of our public servants live outside of DC. I think Fairfax Village is ideal for police, fire. ems, and teachers.

Fairfax Village is ideal for empty-nesters and retired individuals. These individuals would not have to worry about all the headaches of maintaining a single family home. Living in Fairfax Village would give them plenty of time to relax and enjoy life without kids and a 9-to-5.

I also think the townhomes in Fairfax Village are ideal for families. Anne Beers Elementary school and the new Francis A. Gregory Library are within a stone's throw (literally) of our community. With the addition of speed bumps on the 2000 Block of Fort Davis and 3800 Block of W Street, the traffic doesn't fly down those streets anymore. In addition, your child would be exposed to adults of diverse blue and white collar professions.

Knowing what you know now, would you still have bought your first place in Fairfax Village?

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