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What To Do Before Selling Your Condo
Selling a condominium comes with its own set of challenges. Unlike selling a house, you have to navigate specific considerations. For example, if you own a house, you have more control over the sale process. You can choose to sell it to a family member at a lower price, accommodate evening showings to align with work schedules, or work with a buyer who offers a high cash price but may face credit or background check issues. These flexibilities may not apply when selling a condo.
Condos drastically limit your flexibility . . .
You are at the mercy of the Homeowners’ Association. They make rules and you have little choice but to obey. If you must sell an HOA property, give us a call (786) 904-1444. 123SoldCash.com buys community properties regularly, navigating burdensome HOA rules.
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There are a few steps you can take to make the condominium sale as smooth as possible.
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Learn The HOA Rules.
Homeowners’ Association (“HOA”) rules restrict how can sell your property. A Homeowners’ Association work like this:
When you purchase a condominium, townhouse or another type of property in a planned development such as a leased land property or a gated community, you are obligated to join that community’s homeowners’ association (HOA) and pay monthly or annual HOA fees for the upkeep of common areas and the building.
HOAs have specific rules, known as covenants, conditions, and restrictions, that every condo owner must adhere to. These rules cover various aspects, such as the color of your front door, rules regarding pets and guests, and guidelines for common areas.
It’s important to note that these regulations don’t only apply to everyday property use but also govern the sale procedures. You can access the HOA rules online or request a copy from the HOA board, although there might be a fee involved. Keep in mind that HOA rules are subject to amendments, so it’s advisable to obtain the most up-to-date version (you can even ask for a stamped copy to confirm receipt time). If needed, the title company can assist in obtaining the covenants before the closing.
Before selling your condo, be sure to review and obtain copies of the HOA rules and covenants. Prospective buyers may make an offer, but if they haven’t reviewed the rules, they have the right to cancel the contract upon review. This can be a waste of your time and effort.
Important HOA Rules to Consider When Selling Your Condo:
- Provide the Buyer with a “Homeowner Resale Package”: This package includes essential HOA information for the buyer, such as any outstanding HOA fees.
- Property Inspection: Unlike selling a regular house, HOAs typically require a formal inspection, and you may be obligated to address any necessary repairs.
- Unpaid HOA Fees: Condo sales may be restricted if there are outstanding HOA fees that need to be resolved.
- “Right of First Refusal”: The HOA may have the right to purchase the condo at the agreed-upon sale price before any other potential buyer, which can impact sales to family or friends where you intended to offer a discounted price.
- Restrictions on Showings: HOAs have rules regarding when and how a condo can be shown to potential buyers, including specific hours and guidelines for entry into the building.
- Buyer Qualifications: HOAs often conduct interviews and approval processes for prospective buyers.
Select A Qualified Buyer.
Buying a condominium is not open to just anyone. HOAs have strict rules and the power to select who can join the community. To finalize a condo sale, the buyer must obtain a Certificate of Approval.
The HOA requires buyers to submit an application for approval, which includes details about their income, employer, personal information (such as social security number and birth date), and a copy of the purchase and sale agreement. The HOA then conducts credit and background checks. Buyers who raise “red flags” may not be approved. Additionally, there is usually an interview between the prospective buyer and an HOA representative.
It can be a costly problem to work with a buyer for months, only to be denied at the last minute. During this time, you continue to pay maintenance, taxes, and the dreaded HOA fee. Condo owners often end up losing money each month until the sale is complete.
What can you do to mitigate the risk of a buyer being disqualified?
You can ask the prospective buyer upfront about their credit and criminal history. Make it a condition of entering the purchase agreement that they provide you with enough information to run a credit and criminal check. If you discover any issues, inform the buyer that you won’t proceed with the contract or reach out to the HOA to inquire if the background problem will result in disqualification.
Condos offer amenities that traditional single-family houses don’t have, which is why they come with HOA fees. Some desirable amenities include rooftop recreation areas with a pool, grill, and cabanas, environmentally friendly features like energy-efficient appliances and LED light bulbs, fitness/spa facilities, children’s playrooms and daycare, boat access, hardwood floors, new heating and cooling systems, parking, and attractive updates and renovations.
While not exactly an amenity, you can highlight to prospective buyers that HOA rules can be beneficial. These rules help limit interference from neighbors and ensure that common areas remain enjoyable and well-maintained. When discussing the HOA fees, mention that they cover certain maintenance, repairs, and utilities, saving the buyer money and reducing stress.
Create a bullet-point list of all the amenities and emphasize these features during the sale negotiations. This will help attract buyers and sell the condo more quickly at a higher price.
Understand How To Value A Condo.
Condos in the same building can have varying sale prices. To determine the right price, you need to look at recent sales and active listings of similar properties, just like with regular property sales.
However, finding the right condo “comps” is not as simple as checking recent community sales on Zillow or other platforms. Even real estate professionals can sometimes make mistakes when pricing condos. Some condos stay on the market for months or even years because the realtor listed them at an unreasonably high price based on irrelevant building comparisons.
There are key factors to consider when setting the price for a condo:
- Waterfront/City View: Condos have two sides, and naturally some units have a superior view. This often occurs when facing an ocean or city. Units with the better view sell for much more. Use the same North / South / East / West exposure when looking at comps.
- Living Area: Larger living area units sell for more.
- Bedroom/Bathrooms: BR/BA count increases sale value.
- Floor Number: Higher floors sell at higher price, even double or triple that of the lowest floors.
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