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Rancho Ortega Blog discusses matters of public interest in South Orange County, including the communities of San Juan Capistrano, Ladera Ranch and Rancho Mission Viejo.

The writings of Don Juan Ortega on the Rancho Ortega Blog are the personal views of the author. This blog is not authored by nor does it have any affiliation whatsoever with any other person, place or entity using the name "Rancho Ortega" (or any similar name).

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What Will Your HOA Fee Buy in Sendero and Gavilan?

In its recently updated Frequently Asked Questions, Rancho Mission Viejo Company has provided more detail on the homeowners association at Sendero, as well as the amenities being offered to residents for the HOA fee.  From the FAQ:

A fee will be collected on initial home sales by neighborhood homebuilders and on the resale of all Ranch homes to fund an important Community Services Organization called RanchLife.  RanchLife is unique to Rancho Mission Viejo and each of its villages in that it will fund a full calendar of Ranch-resident recreational and educational programs (i.e., fitness classes, happy hours, lectures, and enrichment classes), community-wide events (i.e., holiday festivities, celebrations, and concerts), Ranch resident-led clubs (i.e., biking, photography, hiking, bocce, gardening, mommy and me, wine and dine, and more), a community-wide web portal, and program collaboration with various Ranch partners.

In addition, all Rancho Mission Viejo homeowners will pay a monthly master homeowners associations fee through the Ranch Master Maintenance Corporation or Rancho MCC.  Rancho MMC will fund the management and maintenance of Rancho Mission Viejo community recreational facilities including all-access clubhouses (for example, Sendero’s Ranch House, Guest House and the Outpost), gardens/farms, parks, common area landscaping, hardscape, lighting, trails, and monumentation as well as related staffing and administration.

Additional fees will be assessed for other purposes including attached-home sub-associations and/or “special benefit areas” (i.e., covering the maintenance of slopes, alley areas, gated neighborhoods, and more).

Sounds like a full slate of activities, and we continue to be impressed by the fact that Sendero is going to boast a total of four separate community centers in close proximity (including one dedicated solely to residents of age-qualified Gavilan).  In addition, the Sendero Farm is perfectly poised to capture the rising interest in organic and home gardening.  Add to that yoga, bocce ball, access to the Reserve and social events, and residents are getting a lot for their HOA fees.

Note that there seems to be two fee structures at work here.

The first is a fee paid upon the initial sale of properties within the association and upon each subsequent resale.  Ladera Ranch does this.  Ladera assesses a 0.25% “Community Enhancement Fee” upon the sale (initial and resale) of each property within Ladera Ranch to fund LARCS, Ladera Ranch Community Services, a non-profit organization that coordinates Ladera Ranch community services and entertainment (and is separate from LARMAC, the Ladera HOA).  It is an effective mechanism for funding LARCS although the fee sometimes catches homebuyers unaware.  It sounds like Rancho Mission Viejo is repeating this blueprint in Sendero.  Our guess is that the amount of the fee will even be the same — one quarter of one percent of the purchase price.

The second fee structure is the customary monthly HOA dues.  Like Mello Roos taxes, monthly HOA fees are the norm in new housing developments, and help maintain the lavish resident amenities that new home communities offer.  Although we have not yet seen an announcement specifying how much Rancho MCC fees will be.  Based on what other new home communities in Orange County are charging, our guess is that the base HOA fee in Sendero will be around $200-225 per month, with Gavilan fees probably around $500 per month, on account of the guard gate.

Please note that in both cases, we don’t know what the actual fees are going to be, we’re just guessing.

Let’s review:

  • Sendero residents will be members of the Ranch Master Maintenance Corporation or “Rancho MCC,” and potentially some sub-associations.
  • Sendero will have a community services organization called “RanchLife.”  The name RanchLife is reminiscent of LaderaLife, the Ladera Ranch community portal.  It appears that has been taken.  Let’s hope Rancho Mission Viejo has their domain reserved.  Or else this might happen.
  • The various fees will support and maintain activities for the residents, community amenities and recreational facilities and common areas.  Residents of gated Gavilan and certain condo and sub-associations within Sendero may pay additional fees for other purposes.

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