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Mello Roos and Other Quirks of Orange County Homes

Covington kitchen







If you’ve ever owned a home, you already know the basics about buying. Unless you’re paying cash, you need to put some money down and then pay the rest of what you owe through a monthly mortgage that may last for 30 years.

But there are some things that may surprise you about buying new Southern California homes. We want you to approach the process with your eyes wide open. So here are a few of the most important quirks. 


You’ll hear this term bandied about at many new housing developments or hidden in the fine print at the bottom of a sales brochure. Mello-Roos comes from Senator Henry J. Mello and Assemblyman Mike Roos, co-authors of the Community Facilities Act. The act establishes special districts that impose a property tax on homes in that area. The money then finances schools, infrastructure, parks and other government services for the neighborhood. This tax is one way that local governments get around California Proposition 13, which limits the raising of property taxes to a low percentage each year.

What Mello-Roos means for you is more money out of your pocket when you buy a home. It’s one of the first things you need to ask about when thinking about a purchase. All things being equal, a property with Mello-Roos costs more to buy than one without it. None of our current developments at Brandywine Homes have Mello-Roos taxes. 

HOA Fees

HOA stands for Homeowners Association, which is the resident-controlled group responsible for administering fees in a housing development. Such fees take care of landscaping, community playgrounds and other public services that affect all the homeowners in a tract. Nowadays, HOA fees are not just part of buying a condominium. You can expect the assessment at any new development.

If you’re not seeing the fees at developments you visit, ask the sales agent about them. We like to put HOA fees up front, such as in the price list for Provence, our latest offering in Yorba Linda. (Amounts currently range from $100 to $300 per month in our developments.) 


Model homes tempt you to buy through their layouts and decorative styles. Filled with furniture, they give you an idea of how to use each room and what living in a home would be like. You may assume that those granite countertops and brick patios are included with your purchase. They may not be, just like the beds, sofas and dining chairs are not included.

Many developments warn you against expecting all the luxury touches with a generic sign that says “Model only. Not all options included.” At Brandywine, we like to put up specific labels telling you what you’re getting in the base price and what options are upgrades.

At Covington, for example, each model details what features are included and what are extras. At Residence 2R (3 bedrooms + loft, 2.5 baths), you’ll know upfront that the standard GE Stainless Steel Appliance Package, which includes the 30-inch built-in oven, 36-inch gas cooktop, dishwasher and microwave/convection oven, is part of your standard purchase. The GE Refrigerator, however, is an optional upgrade.

You can read brochures and browse websites to get a start on what’s involved in buying a Brandywine home. But there’s no substitute for actually visiting in person and walking through the models. Why don’t you contact us and schedule a visit today?