Doing the Paperwork Correctly
For the third time in as many weeks I called a Bonita Springs management company to obtain buyer application paperwork. Calling for these documents is a frequent occurrence. Every time an agent gets a new listing they need to verify the fees for buyers. These fees are then usually presented to the buyer on an addendum when they buy their Bonita Springs real estate.
As far as management companies operate, if a Bonita Springs home or condo is in a deed restricted neighborhood or gated community a professional management company is usually hired to manage the affairs of the community. Occasionally, the owners take charge of management, themselves. Management companies provide a variety of tasks, some of which include:
- Collecting the quarterly assessments from property owners.
- Organizing services such as lawn care, pool cleaning, building maintenance and insurance.
- Enforcing the rules of the deed restrictions or the condominium documents.
- Balancing the budget by obtaining estimates for services used in the community.
- Processing applications for tenants and owners that join the community.
I understand what a task these managers have in front of them. It's big, but it is in fact their job. What I don't understand is the shock and surprise at any manager or company that "we" need verification of the fees. I've been refused the fees, I've been given the third degree to get them, I've been given a "guestimate" of what the fees are, I've had someone in accounting tell me they weren't sure if the golf membership had a transfer fee or not. Now, I knew it was last $2,000 and was just trying to verify if it had gone up in the last year. Imagine sitting at a closing table and a buyer sees a $2,500 transfer charge that isn't disclosed to them on their settlement statement. Yeah, ugly is how a bad guess like that goes.
Here's the deal. At the beginning of the year a homeowner association or condo association sets their budget. It is voted on and passed by the owner/members and a written copy is given to their owner/residents. When a new buyer is located, the budget, and application, frequently asked questions and rules and regulations pages are all given to the buyer. They become part of the transaction and generally accompany a full set of the condominium documents [provided by the title company or homeowner] which are presented to the buyer so they have full transparency and disclosure of fees, debts, lawsuits, pending or future assessments and a general state of the community. Some buyers even request a copy of the last set of HOA meeting minutes to see what the subject matter of the meetings has been about.
If you're thinking of selling your Bonita Springs home grease the skids by obtaining a current set of the budget and applications for transfer of sale. If you're selling for sale by owner you will need to do this, also. The title company will make sure that you're properly closing your property by calling the management company to verify the application and obtain an estoppel. The estoppel is an instrument that ends your responsibility for payments to the association and is issued when you're paid up to date.
If you are a person on the board of a condominium or home owner association or you work for a management company, we, the agents in Southwest Florida, would love to have this go smoother. Drop those documents into a scanner so they can be emailed off hassle free and forwarded to buyers. Look at all the time and effort that can be saved by going paperless. We just want to make sure that we do our job correctly and help make your job easier.