The Hills of Independence Townhomes/community

hey everyone, my wife and i have been townhome shopping lately and stumbled into an open house last weekend at one of the bigger townhomes in the hills of independence. i think we have fallen in love way too quick since we would like to save a bit more before being first time home buyers. i have a whole slew of questions since we both absolutely adore the size and layout, im just hoping a few people here have experience with this community.

how is the neighborhood, what the association fees do, any ridiculous rules (bbqs allowed?). ive noticed that some of them mention they have a new roof. is this up to the owner to get the roof replaced, is it covered by the association, half/half? how are they with snow removal and what do they plow/not plow? are they flexible with additions/changes to the interior? the particular unit we walked through had a very small deck, but would be a piece of cake to expand. would this be something the association would say absolutely no to?

VR6Wagon VR6Wagon
Apr '13

The fees are kind of high. They were closing in on around 300 when i left a few years ago. Plus there were several years in a row where an add'l fee was charged of around 300 (this went to the roofs which all had to be replaced due to age). Otherwise we didn't pay directly. I thought snow removal was good, you just have to do around your garage. I liked living there. It was pretty quiet overall. Most people were pretty nice but generally kept to themselves. Prices now seem very reasonable to me. You could BBQ with coal but of course not propane (that's a state law i believe).

Bryan Bryan
Apr '13

You will not be allowed to expand the deck or alter the outside of the home in any way.The association fees cover things like replacing the roof and replacing decks, etc. But because that's what the fees cover, they continue to go up each year. The people here are nice. It is a fairly quiet street.

We feel that the fees are too high here, and they are very strict about parking among many other things. I don't want to say too many negative things. That being said, we are anxious to move out of here. Sadly, we owe too much on our unit to sell.

overlook res overlook res
Apr '13

Have you checked out the W. Valley View Townhomes on W. Valley View and Canal Way? Very nice neighborhood. Sidewalks, streetlights and nicely maintaned. Assoc. fee is $255.00 per quarter. They do not shovel snow, but do the landscaping, seal driveways, paint front doors. You are allowed a grill on your deck and I believe you may expand your deck with permission from the assoc. I've lived there for about 20 years and love it. Neighbors are nice and look out for one another.

townhomey townhomey
Apr '13

Also look at peachtree village town homes. Huge end units with two car garages, basement, fireplace, nice layouts. Nice community, long valley schools with hackettstown address. Well maintained, grills allowed, snow removal included in maintance.

Lvmamma Lvmamma
Apr '13

Wow townhomey. Wish we had bought in your neighborhood. Our fees are up to 365 a month and no end in sight.

overlook res overlook res
Apr '13

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but Hills Of Independence Home Owners Association managed by Integra Management is a greedy organization who is running the neighborhood and its families to the ground with its ever increasing fees ( currently $365 per MONTH!) and endless rules (no bbq's, permission for everything, parking fines, Gestapo like busy body Board members). Have lived here for quite a few years and the fees are consistently rising while the maintenance consistently declines. The neighborhood itself is nice, quiet ( now that the drug dealer kid is locked up). The units are rapidly declining in value, however the property taxes keep going up. They're changing pool management and have added a plethora of new rules making it less enjoyable for the one amenity that has a value. Overall I would say keep looking, don't settle for anything that you haven't done a ton of research on. I commend you for taking the time to reach out for feedback. Best of luck in your home search. Health and Happiness to you and your family.

PO'd on the hill PO'd on the hill
Apr '13

Their association is a mess financially, and some homeowners are YEARS behind in their dues. Other things are ridiculous there, too. And, there's a major hoarder in there somewhere too. Run away as fast as you can. You'll find something as nice or better elsewhere.

W.Valley View = newer and nicer neighborhood

JimmiesMommie2013 JimmiesMommie2013
Apr '13

PO'd on the hill - couldn't have said it better myself

overlook res overlook res
Apr '13

a hoarder? what is he/ she hoarding?

a good day
Apr '13

Been there numerous time and definitely wouldn't want to live there because the parking is terrible. Don't ever have company, because there is no place for them to park.
JMO, look elsewhere.

botheredbyu botheredbyu
Apr '13

more of the forum negativity. i have a close relative who has lived there a long time and loves it. is it perfect? no but then what is? the location is lovely. the view is great and her home is spacious and the grounds are well maintained

a good day
Apr '13

I would recommend you look in Panther Valley. I believe you'll get more for your money...and they maintain the properties nicely there, not to mention swimming pools are included in your monthly fees, which are comparible to those of the Hills at Independence. I would recommend you keep on looking :)

Dannek1 Dannek1
Apr '13

Ok everyone, it's sunshine & rainbow time. Apparently you're no longer allowed to share your experience/opinion, as it's considered negativity...

Lori...since '73 Lori...since '73
Apr '13

deleted my post. so sad. here is more sunshine for you. why not try real hard to include sonething positive in your opinion- some balance.
happy rainbows to you.

a good day
Apr '13

Peachtree is nicer, quieter and located near Hackettstown but the benefit of Long Valley Schools. I saw an end unit there a week ago through Weichert but don't know if is still available. They tend to go quickly but you might luck out. Good Luck.

Sister Jane
Apr '13

I lived there for 6 years. The biggest issue was they didn't have enough in the reserve fund to cover typical expenses that happen after a building is 20 years old. That's why we got hit with the extra payments and prob why the fees are so high now. The parking didn't affect me bc I actually parked my cars in my garage. It was tight though because there just isn't enough room (not the associations fault). There were always open spaces if you were willing to walk a few mins. I have integra in my new development and have no issues with them.

Bryan Bryan
Apr '13

@a good day - he asked for opinions. Sorry they are not all positive opinions, for your liking. He wants honest opinions and thats what he got. Not going to lie to the man.

botheredbyu botheredbyu
Apr '13

I lived there for five years and I loved it. The assoicate fees are an issue, and we did get hit with an extra fee for snow removal a few times which was frustrating (especially since no one gives any money back when very little snow removal was needed!). We ultimately left because we knew we wanted to start a family soon and wanted a yard, extra bedroom, etc. If you can deal with the fees, you will love everything else about it.

Kate23 Kate23
Apr '13

@ bothered by u- thanks I needed that clarification and value all of the opinions. Have a great day. Enjoy!

a good day
Apr '13

Sorry so many negative reviews! My husband and I have lived in The Hills for 3+ years. We love our place, so spacious and bright...views to die for. We checked out Panther Valley when we were buying, and there was no comparison. Small, cramped, old units and I have a bunch of friends in PV, and believe me...they have issues. Any condo complex is going to have issues, wether its PV, Hills, Oak Ridge, ect. the dues are comparable to any other condo complex in North Jersey. If you don't want to pay dues or worry about rules buy a single fam...don't want to worry about cutting your grass, buy a condo! LOL! Also, the rules are exactly the same as any other condo complex.

As a young professional couple, the place is perfect for us.

Good luck in your house hunt!!!

P's on the Hill P's on the Hill
Apr '13

PO'd on the hill, I wish I knew who you were - we could talk! I agree with you completely. I love the 'newsletters' that come around that are just filled with rules and threats. And they want us to approve them having the right to fine folks 'as they see appropriate"!!! THEY'RE OUT OF THEIR FREAKING MINDS! I sure hope people aren't stupid enough to allow that! They walk around looking for violations, when instead they should be looking for things that need attention-lots of attention! Totally agree that we pay more and more and see less and less in return! ANGRY!

ANeighbor
Apr '13

do most of the residents go to the meetings with the board?

a good day
Apr '13

No, most of the residents do not go to the meetings. It's kind of a lost cause, the board is rather stubborn and high on power. They're not a pleasant, welcoming bunch. And the residents that join usually have their own agendas as to what they can get for themselves.

ANeighbor
Apr '13

go to the meetings, maybe that could help change it and make it better for all. just a thought as I seen it help at my condo.

a good day
Apr '13

My husband and I have lived in HOI for the last seven years. We bought here because we wanted the amenities that come from living in an association with privacy. You cannot beat a private road where the units back up to a canal or open space. We searched for over a year before we found this place. Previous to this, we rented in Peach Tree. Yes, the units were bigger there. However, your shared amenities (pool, tennis courts & playground) are with the apartments. All of the middle units are low income and the police frequent the area often. Peach tree was a cut through as well. We looked at OakHill as well but didn't like how large the complex was. Your views are of your neighbors windows or a parking lot.

Yes, maintenance has gone up a great deal since we bought. It is now $290 a month with a special assessment fee of $75 (you could pay that upfront or factor it in to your monthly payment). So many updates have happened since we moved here. We've received a new deck, roof and retaining wall. For less then $4,000 a year we have access to a pool, tennis courts, private playground, snow removal, landscaping, maintenance, garbage & recycling. There are a lot of rules but every association has them. The use of BBQ on your deck is a state law now. You can have a natural gas grill but need to run the line. The estimate we got to do that was $1,000.

Every place is going to have it's pluses & minuses but HOI continues to be a great value in a private location. Good luck with your search!

Digital Digital
May '13

I have lived in the Hills for about 20 years and would love to leave. The maintenance is terrible and Board members don't communicate with one another much- There is very little supervision of workers here. Few people use the pool. Many people are in default. I would suggest that people who are looking for condos look in a better community where there is a better school system like Long Valley in Morris County..
Due to changes of Board members with different philosophies there is no consistency here in priorities. One hand does not know what the other hand is doing.
I attend every Board meeting . They are all volunteers .I do allot of my own maintenance because very little gets done in a timely matter.
My advice is buy your own place because you'll do your own maintenance so why pay maintenance fees for little in return?

Carol Cohen Carol Cohen
Jul '15

Carol- curious to know how many of the homeowners are in default for the monthly dues? Does the board or management group disclose this at a board meeting or otherwise?

A good day
Jul '15

A good day - I can answer that - way too many.

Overlook res Overlook res
Jul '15

There are homeowners in default everywhere - including the condo I lived in starting in 1989 and the one I lived in 9 years before moving here. Boards have to adjust budgets and monthly maintenance to take this into account. It's not fair but it's very common.
Your board should be able to tell you how many are in default and whether they have filed liens or taken other legal action. Part of the problem is that there are not enough judges in the state to deal with these cases in a timely manner. I am all too familiar with these problems having been on two previous boards. It's a real struggle dealing with it.

5catmom 5catmom
Jul '15

But there is an agreement that the condo dweller keeps up with the monthly fee and the condo management holds up their end of the agreement ie maintenance as per the by laws. When one defaults on this agreement the other party should have the option to not pay.

A good day
Jul '15

and how would that work a good day? look at the budget and see what you'd like to cut out because of lack of funds................

5catmom 5catmom
Jul '15

Interesting. Maintenance of units according to bylaws should be carried out. This is the expectation if you pay your fees.

A good day
Jul '15

I guess I've been lucky--- all 3 complexes have performed expected maintenance --occasionally with a needed push - significant work has sometimes had to wait until enough money was in reserves - one huge project required a significant assessment - but there was no option.................There's much to know about what can get done and when it can get done.......I always found it interesting, as a board member, to hear other homeowners thought - that the board members were the enemy - Very few get it that the board has to pay the same fees as everyone else..........

5catmom 5catmom
Jul '15

is there hard wood under the carpeting or what material is under the carpeting

marlene corish marlene corish
Aug '18

At HOI condos there is plywood under the carpet.


I found the steepness of the stairways a turn off,I would never buy there due to this and the amount of those steps you have to climb each and every day.

hammer hammer
Aug '18

There is a new board member who is working extremely hard to ensure that long term projects are being completed. As well done in a fashion that is financially responsible. It's exciting to see the positive steps that are being taken.

Peyton Peyton
Aug '18

Is there a separate fee for a pet dog or is that included in the monthly maintenance fee?

Michelle DeMayo Michelle DeMayo
2 weeks ago

I grew up there and loved it!


Michelle DeMayo-there are no "pet fees". Maybe owners that rent out their units charge a fee? But I've never heard of that.

Just A Neighbor
2 weeks ago

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