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  1. Why do people talk about “south facing” when looking at property? During the winter months the orientation of your home will make a huge difference in the amount of sunlight your home receives. Windows that face south will provide passive solar heating for your home and a driveway that faces south will have far less snow accumulation than a north facing one.  When the days get short, you will appreciate the extra light. If you can see the Sherwin Mountains you are facing south.
  2. Is it true that it is always windy in Mammoth Lakes? There is a local saying that if you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes and it will change. With the frequent changes of high and low pressure systems often comes wind. The prevailing winds tend to blow over the Mammoth Pass. When buying a home, if your patio/balcony faces the leeward direction you will be able to enjoy many days of outdoor living.
  3. What is the difference between owning a single family residence versus a condominium? Especially during the winter months, it is not advisable to leave any property unattended for a lengthy period of time. If you own a single family residence you will need to contract with both a Homeowner’s Service and Snow Removal Companies to inspect you home on a weekly basis and to keep your driveway cleared during the winter months. When you own a condominium the Owner’s Association takes care of the exterior maintenance and snow removal.
  4. How does one compare the various HOA fees between complexes? Unfortunately, it is like trying to compare apples to oranges. Properties often offer different amenities ranging from full service such as the Westin Monache to limited service as with Altis. Also, some HOA structures include shared utilities as with complexes in the Juniper Springs area that have central boilers. Additionally, the size and age of the complex common areas will make a difference.
  5. Are there any costs that most Homeowner Associations cover? Yes, most Associations cover all the exterior maintenance of the buildings, building insurance, cost for snow removal, water and sewage.
  6. What about the HOA’s reserves? Once escrow is opened there is a due diligence period. At that time you will receive the Association’s financial statements, reserve study and copies of the Board’s minutes for the last two years. It is very important that you review these documents carefully to ensure that the dollars set aside for reserves cover the cost of future repairs and maintenance.
  7. Is it hard to get financing for a Mammoth Property? There are some peculiarities that require the underwriter to understand resort properties. Several years ago, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac stopped insuring loans for Condo Hotels.  The unintended consequence of that action was initially any project that had a front desk handling reservations was considered a Condo Hotel. Also, some lenders have trouble understanding to concept of second homes and the relatively low number of year round residences. When selecting your lender it is best to find someone who has a successful track record funding loans in the Mammoth area.