14 Jul Special assessment: is the value too high? Please, help.
Hi all, sorry if this is not the right place to ask and start such discussion. If so, please, suggest me where should be the right community to ask this kind of questions.
So, one year ago, I've bought a condo which had a Special Assessment for window replacement. The condo was built almost 40 years ago and they've decided that the window replacement was needed for the entire condo to improve energy efficiency, sound deadening and to replace some foggy IGUs (I guess this is the right term). By that time, the Special Assessment would be paid by the seller and the total amount for my unit was $37k USD. The whole unit was sold for $450k USD, just to compare the amounts.
So, fast forward one year, the HOA said that the initial estimate was not enough for the project and they're trying now to approve a second Special Assessment for the same amount as the previous one. That means, another $37k for my unit, totalling $74k for the project. Some of the arguments for an increase on the budget is that there are few available contractors in Seattle area willing to do the work due to the high demand of work. Also, they said that the sidings should be replaced as well because some areas can be in poor condition and analyzing case by case and updating the budget would be less cost efficient than considering the whole siding replacement upfront.
My question is, is $74k too high for the project? They will be replacing two bedrooms windows plus the living room window and the balcony door. The total amount for the project summing up all units is $2.4m. My neighbor has put her unit for sale as I think she doesn't want to pay for the special assessment. Her unit is almost the same as mine so you all can have an idea of how much work is needed by visiting this link:
Now, some of the home owners are asking us to vote against the approval of this new Special Assessment. Many of the owners in this condo are living on retirement income and they don't have the ways to get an individual loan or to pay in full upfront. Also, we approved the HOA to get the loan at the interest of 7%, which seems high compared to what you can get individually. In addition to that, we pay a significant high HOA due monthly, (about $800.00/mo) as they say they are saving for future improvements such as a roof work and elevator replacement.
As a new condo owner and new to USA/Seattle, I'm not sure if this amount is fair or if something is really wrong with this whole story. I was relying on the judgment of other owners but looks like we don't have a consensus here and that's why I'm looking for help here.