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Friday, February 20, 2015

Home Seller Tip: Your Homeowner Asssociation will "Sign Off" on Your Sale - Be Proactive!

As a real estate agent working with home buyers and sellers in Brevard County, Florida  home owner associations usually can not be avoided.  In popular areas of Brevard County like Viera, Suntree and Bayside Lakes in Palm Bay, mandatory home owner association membership is a way of life.   Almost any area of newer construction in Brevard County, Florida HOAs exist. 

The purpose of this article is not to discuss whether associations are good or bad.  When it comes to home owner associations everyone has an opinion.  
 
First of all, the title is somewhat misleading as the association does not technically sign off on the sale but rather they do provide an estoppel letter to the closing agent.  This letter acknowledges any fees or outstanding balances (dues, fees, fines, etc) owed to the association by the current owner.   As with other liens and debts these must be cleared before the property can change hands (clear title).  [Disclaimer: I am not an attorney and this is not considered legal advice.]

In a recent closing my buyer received notification with the letter of an existing violation that needed correcting in the future.  The problem had existed for years (in my opinion) and it was not appropriate to punish the new owner.  My buyer worked with the seller to address the issue but it should not have been a last minute (day of closing) problem!
  
I suggest home owner associations monitor all homes for sale in their community.   If there is a current violation like neglected lawns/landscaping, paint color issues, mold/algae issues (common in Florida) or whatever and address it as soon as the for sale sign goes up.
 
The HOA monitoring sales in the neighborhood can serve a couple of purposes.   First it possibly can help the seller get the home sold faster by improving an obvious appearance issue.   But, more importantly,  a new home owner will not be alienated by receiving a notice of violation once they move into their new home. 

Sellers should be proactive and consider their compliance with association rules and restrictions when preparing their home for sale.  And sellers should make sure they accurately disclose how much the association dues currently are and if an increase is in the future. 

I suggest sellers should contact their association or management office and verify the dues as well any pending changes in fees.   Further, sellers should verify the contact information and obtain current association documents (or a link if online documents exist).  

Buying and selling a home is often quite stressful.  Dealing with home owner association issues up front is an easy hurdle to clear before the for sale sign goes up.

If you are considering selling your Viera, Florida home,  please give me a call at 321-693-3850 if I can help.  If you prefer,  send me an email.

gwatersc21@aol.com

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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