HOA Initiation Fees: What Are They & Do I Have to Pay?

If you’re considering joining a homeowners association (HOA), you may wonder about the costs associated with doing so. One of the potential expenses you may encounter is an initiation fee. This article will demystify HOAs and their initiation fees and help you understand if you’ll need to pay one when joining an HOA community.   Read […]

How to Direct Questions from Potential Homebuyers (CA)

Since COVID-19, followers of the real estate market may have noticed that the housing market is currently booming. There are not as many sellers as there are buyers, so the competition to obtain a buyer’s dream home is through the roof. Many of these potential buyers are looking to buy their next home within a […]

For Some Seniors, Home Is Where the Amenities Are

These communities differentiate themselves from assisted living and other medically focused facilities. Unlike assisted living, residents of over-55 communities may own their homes. They can also join a community of peers at a similar stage of life and, often, enjoy shared amenities like pools, dining and even theaters, as well as clubs or activity groups. […]

The Top 10 Things You Should Know About Community Associations

Community associations are becoming increasingly popular across the United States. They offer several advantages for homeowners, including maintenance and landscaping services, security, and social opportunities.   Read the article………………………..

Condo owner forced to sell after building deconverted to rentals

Q: My daughter bought a condo several years ago. Her condo is located in a suburb of Chicago. Last summer, she was notified that the complex was going to be reconverted to rentals. She was offered a price for her place along with an extra amount if she committed to selling by a certain date.  […]

9 Things to Know About Homeowner Associations

Homeowner associations (HOAs) are entities that enforce the rules for living in a community that chooses to be governed. They are common in planned developments; you join them and agree to their terms and fees when you close on a home in a community with an HOA.  Read the article………………………..

Everything You Need to Know About Homeowners Associations

If you’re in the market for a new home, you might have come across the term “homeowners association” (HOA).  HOAs are increasingly common, and while they’re sometimes given a bad rap due to the rules that must be followed, there are some benefits to buying a home within an HOA.  Read the article………………………..

How to Prepare for Selling Your Home in an HOA

When selling a home, many documents and disclosures are required. It can get overwhelming. That is why it is important to be sure you are working with a knowledgeable real estate agent and title company to ensure everything goes smoothly.   Read the article………………………..

DBPR Increases Association Estoppel Certificate Fees (FL)

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) released the first five-year adjustment to Estoppel Certificate Fees permitted under Section 718.116(8)(f), Florida Statutes, of the Condominium Act and Section 720.30851(6), Florida Statutes, of the Homeowners’ Association Act for the maximum amount an association, or its authorized agent, may charge for preparation and delivery of […]

Michigan Condos – Addressing New Lending Questionnaires

It has been just over a year since tragedy struck Surfside, Florida, when ninety-eight individuals perished in when a 12-story beachfront condominium partially collapsed. The national response following this catastrophic loss was multifaceted, from State-driven reforms aimed at condo safety to changes in lending and insurance standards.   Read the article………………………..

What Is HOA Estoppel? 15 Things You Should Know

If your home or condominium is in escrow, then you may see an HOA estoppel come across the stack of paperwork that’s being processed.  This document states the seller’s annual fees for the homeowners’ association.  It also indicates whether the seller has paid in full or has fees due at the time of sale.   Read […]

CondoTek executive: New condo rules “difficult to swallow”

It’s been more than a year since the Champlain Towers South condo building suddenly collapsed in the Miami suburb of Surfside, Fla., killing 98 people. Following the tragedy, a reform bill was passed to prevent similar disasters from occurring. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also toughened their loan standards on older buildings to ensure structures […]

Surfside tragedy makes condo buying challenging nationwide

Under new rules instituted by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the wake of the collapse of Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, Fla., last year, condo boards or property managers are required to answer a 12-question form about the structural integrity of the building and the financial health of the association for the transaction […]

What is SPDS? (Seller Property Disclosure Statement) (AZ)

It can feel like there’s a mountain of paperwork in buying or selling a new home. But one document that shouldn’t go unnoticed is a Seller Property Disclosure Statement, often referred to as the SPDS, or ‘spuds’.  In this article we share exactly what an SPDS is and why it’s so important in real estate.  […]

HOA FHA Approvals: What You Need to Know

It’s no secret that the housing market is booming again. As prices continue to rise, more and more people turn to the FHA loan program to buy a home.  But what is an FHA approval? Do HOAs really need one?   Read the article………………………….

The Dawn of a New Reality in Condo and Co-op Lending

In January of 2022, new Fannie Mae condo and co-op lending guidelines created broad changes in how condo and co-op loans must be underwritten. Freddie Mac followed suit shortly thereafter in February. In just a few short months, these sweeping changes in how lenders now must evaluate condo and co-op properties prior to closing loans […]

Chelsea Condo Board Loses Fight Over Its Right of First Refusal (NY)

The right of first refusal is a trusty weapon for condo boards seeking to preserve the value of apartments in their buildings. Under the bylaws of most condominiums, the board has first shot to buy an apartment, which is traditionally done when a seller puts a unit on the market at an artificially low price. […]

Buying Into The Condo Life? Don’t Skip The Inspection

Condo life has its benefits as well as its drawbacks, and one of the biggest realities is that there is no one type of condo.  You have brand new units that have all their own individual systems like HVAC, water heater, roof, or even foundations; units that share some or all of those systems; or […]

The New Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Condo Questionnaire

Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac are two of the biggest players in the mortgage market, particularly the secondary mortgage market, where mortgages are bought and sold after they have been originated. This article will look at a brief history of Fannie & Freddie and the new condominium questionnaire requirements.   Read the entire article……………………………….

South Carolina HOAs can charge substantial fee to leave neighborhood

Many homeowners are familiar with homeowners association (HOA) fees, but in South Carolina you could have to pay to leave your neighborhood group.  Isabel Ward was surprised to find a more than $1,700 bill from her HOA when she sold her home in Baxter Village in Fort Mill.  Read the entire article……………………………….

The New Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lender Questionnaire: To Answer, or Not to Answer, That is the Question!

Prompted by the Champlain Towers Condominium collapse in Surfside, Florida, the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”) recently issued new temporary requirements as an attempt to mitigate risk in community association loan underwriting. Many other industries within the community association world, such as insurance, have adjusted […]

Purchasing a Condominium Unit: Buyer Beware (IL)

There are many pros to living in condominium associations, as they are often one of the more affordable options in urban environments and especially in many areas in the City of Chicago. Condos can provide a great sense of community and allow individuals to focus on just maintaining their unit without having to worry about […]

What is a master-planned community?

Master-planned communities, frequently referred to as MPCs, are large, custom-built residential communities. They are typically built by a single developer and include plenty of recreational amenities for residents. Since first taking off in the U.S. in the 1960s, MPCs have been gaining steam. If you’re considering buying a home in one of these unique developments, […]

HOA, COA, And POA: How to Tell the Difference

When it comes to buying a home, it can be overwhelming! Understanding all aspects of the responsibilities and requirements is critical when your intended new home is part of a more significant community association. Almost 80% of all new homes are part of a community association such as an HOA or COA.   Read the entire […]

Tips on Filling Out the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Questionnaire

Effective early this year Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest purchasers of residential real estate mortgages from lenders, started requiring information regarding the structural integrity and plans for addressing deferred maintenance for almost all condominium buildings. This is in direct response to the tragedy of the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers in […]

Investing in Condos: Pros, Cons, and Considerations

Choosing the right type of real estate investment can be challenging. It’s essential to find an investment opportunity that suits your existing financial resources, your long-term goals, and your bandwidth as a property owner.   Read the entire article……………………………….

Buying a condo requires several considerations

It’s no secret that with home ownership comes many responsibilities, including landscaping, repairs and upkeep that some people are either unwilling or unable to do.  For people looking to move into a living space with fewer challenges and responsibilities, a condominium may be the answer. Condominiums come in many sizes, and many have square footage […]

Lender Questionnaires and Paid Assessment Letters (IL)

Many states have distinct disclosure laws that obligate sellers to inform prospective purchasers about the home or unit they are buying within a condominium, homeowner’s association or townhome association.  These disclosures can include a variety of information and paperwork that outline the association’s leasing restrictions, rules, regulations, and other owner obligations.    Read the entire article……………………………….

What is an HOA Estoppel

An HOA Estoppel is used to provide all fees that must be collected upon the successful closing of a resale property. The Estoppel is often also referred to as a demand statement, certificate of assessment, a resale statement or a closing statement and the name of the document will vary by state.   Read the entire […]

Bank Information Requests Explained (FL)

Q: Our manager recently told the board that there has been a change with “bank requests” and said the board needed to address it. I did not understand what that means or what the changes are. Could you please explain?   Read the Q&A……………………………….

22.1 Disclosures in Illinois Community Associations

Most states have specific disclosure laws that obligate sellers to inform prospective purchasers about the condominium, homeowner association, or townhome association.  These disclosures can include a variety of information and paperwork that outline the association’s leasing restrictions, rules, upcoming capital expenditures, and other association matters.    Read the entire article……………………………….

Is Community Association Living The Right Choice For You?

Buying a home in a community association can be a fantastic decision – you’ll often have access to some great amenities, perhaps no longer have to take care of your lawn, and get to enjoy convenient opportunities to socialize with your neighbors. But, as with most things, there can be downsides depending on your personal […]

Condo questionnaire causing some boards to boycott Fannie, Freddie financing (CA)

Can the condo world live without mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their more affordable financing terms?  A fast-developing crisis is hitting condominium association boards and property management firms across the country tasked with filling out “draconian” questions required of HOA property management companies.   Read the entire article……………………………….

Rules to promote condo safety could keep buyers out of the market (FL)

While it’s too soon to know its full impact, an obscure letter sent to lenders by Fannie May in October could have serious long-term consequences for people looking to buy or refinance condominiums, particularly those without the means to come up with bigger down payments or pay cash.   Read the entire article……………………………….

The 7 Most Frequently Asked HOA Questions

When you buy a house, you have a good chance of finding your ideal home inside an HOA. On the other hand, Joining an HOA can be more than new homeowners can handle. You are joining a community and signing a contract to uphold the rules and fund the maintenance of that community. If you […]

How shaky HOA finances can scuttle your home purchase

Getting a mortgage is rarely simple, and if you’re looking to buy a property in a neighborhood that has a homeowners association (HOA), including condos and co-ops, you’ll face an extra level of complexity.    Read the entire article……………………………….

New Freddie Mac Underwriting Guidelines for Condominium and Cooperative Projects

Freddie Mac has promulgated new temporary underwriting requirements for mortgages secured by units in condominium and cooperative projects in need of “Critical Repairs”1 and those with current or planned special assessments. The guidelines come in the wake of the collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, and apply to all condominium and cooperative […]

Loans for Condos? New Rules Start to Have an Effect (FL)

Fannie’s tighter loan requirements post-Surfside collapse started Jan. 1; Freddie’s start Feb. 28. In the meantime, the list of no-loan condo projects will likely keep growing.   Read the entire article……………………………….

New Fannie Mae Temporary Requirements for Condo and Co-Op Projects – What Do Illinois Condominium Associations and Co-Ops Need To Know?

In the wake of the tragic condominium building collapse in Surfside, Florida, Fannie Mae issued new temporary eligibility guidelines for loans insured by Fannie Mae for condominium units or co-op apartments which are effective as of January 1, 2022. Condominium associations and co-ops can expect to receive requests from lenders for this information in the […]

The Four Critical Components of Homeowners Associations (HOAs)

Dear Monty: We are considering buying a home in a homeowners association. The agent calls it an HOA. We have heard both positive and negative reviews about the concept. Are homeowners associations a good idea?  Read the entire article……………………………….

As South Florida Condos Age, More Owners Are Willing to Sell

For some South Florida condo dwellers, that tap on the shoulder could lead to the deal of a lifetime.  The tri-county’s white hot real estate market is prompting developers to take stock of the region’s older beach front high-rises as potential buyout candidates for redevelopment. While not new, the trend has taken on greater importance as […]