HOA Nightmare! Avoid this common Homeowner Association problem

Warren Oberholser
Warren Oberholser
Published on July 8, 2021

Hi, I’m Warren Oberholser. I’m a realtor in the East Bay Tri-Valley area in Northern California. My goal is to help both buyers and sellers get maximum results for one of their biggest investments, their home.

When the buyer’s offer is finally accepted, there are several items to handle all at the same time.

When your offer finally gets accepted to purchase a home, there are several items that you’re going to need to handle all around the same time, which include getting the buyer’s earnest money deposit to the title company, the buyer’s financing, getting the loan started, and handling the investigation period. Part of the investigation period is the inspection. For this particular property, there were no pre-inspections available, so the buyer had to have his own inspections performed. The property was a condo, so the inspections to order were just the home and termite. The HOA covers the roof, so no roof inspection was required.

The inspection results were pretty straightforward. Just a minor section one item found under the sink, which is not uncommon and a few other items were noted. However, what got everybody’s attention is what was found on the back porch balcony area. It was determined that the back porch top coating was in marginally serviceable condition. The balcony design was constructed of a wood subfloor with a top coating of elastomeric paint. So on visual inspection, you could see a raised or bubble formation under the exterior surface and some areas had been repaired by patching them.

The inspector recommended in his report that a licensed contractor come out and investigate the actual integrity of the area. Now, here is the problem. If it’s determined that the porch needs repairs, who’s responsible for it? Keep in mind, the condo’s on the third floor. If the balcony was to fail, people could get hurt.

When the property’s a condo or townhome, you should first reach out to the HOA for a current ruling on any issue or information you may need. Unfortunately, this HOA would not communicate with the buyer, so we had to ask the seller to contact the HOA to request them, to advise on this issue. Keep in mind, it’s recommended that you handle this by email exchange only. This way, the information is in writing.

Now, you’re probably thinking, why don’t you just ask the current homeowner the question, who’s responsible for the back balcony? Here’s the issue. If no repairs were required in the past, many homeowners just don’t know. Also, when the current homeowner did purchase the property, it may have been HOA’s responsibility at the time of purchase to cover any deck maintenance or repairs. But over the years, rules could have changed, switching responsibility to the homeowner.

Read and understand all HOA documents thoroughly.

Now, while waiting for the HOA’s response, in order to stay compliant with the contract’s timeline, we did send in a repair request to the seller to fix a few minor items, such as the section one issue found under the sink. We also included the resurfacing of the deck, in the event, it was determined that the HOA didn’t handle this area. So what was the verdict? Well, we had good news and bad news. First, the bad news. The seller would not agree to any of the buyer’s repair requests. The seller’s response is not too surprising, given our current crazy seller’s market. Here’s the good news. The HOA does cover the back balcony. My buyer was relieved that the main repair problem was handled by the HOA and he felt he could take care of the other issues on his own that the seller wouldn’t handle. So he moved forward with the sale of the property and closed on time. As I do with all my clients, I do check in regularly after a home is either sold or purchased, and he does report being happy in his condo.

One of the key elements to a successful home transaction is to investigate all the details, especially when there is an HOA involved. Don’t take the word of the homeowner. It’s not about whether they’re being honest or not, although they do have a responsibility to answer all questions honestly enter the best of their knowledge. But more important, when you have an HOA, you should get everything in writing from the source, which is the HOA itself. This way, there can be little to no doubt.

Knowledge is power. The more you know and understand will equal a happy and successful home purchase

I hope you enjoyed this article. Please let me know if you have any questions. Warren

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Hello…I work with both buyers and sellers in the Tri-Valley area of Northern California. The Tri-Valley is comprised of 6 cities: Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon, Danville, and Alamo. To better understand what each city has to offer, I have created a Pros and Cons video and BLOG for each – (Pros & Cons for Pleasanton, Pros & Cons for Livermore, Pros & Cons for Dublin, Pros & Cons for San Ramon, Pros & Cons for Danville and Pros & Cons for Alamo). If you are thinking about purchasing or selling a home, please reach out to me by text, phone, or email. If it is convenient, I can schedule a Zoom chat so we can discuss your home goals. Wishing you all the best on your home journey. Cheers!

Warren Oberholser

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Warren Oberholser

eXp Realty

[email protected]

(925) 980-4603

DRE # 01861944

ALL MATERIAL PRESENTED HEREIN IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN HAS BEEN OBTAINED THROUGH SOURCES DEEMED RELIABLE BUT CANNOT BE GUARANTEED AS TO ITS ACCURACY. SUBJECT MATERIAL MAY HAVE ERRORS, OMISSIONS, CHANGES OR WITHDRAWAL WITHOUT NOTICE. ANY INFORMATION OF SPECIAL INTEREST SHOULD BE OBTAINED THROUGH INDEPENDENT VERIFICATION.

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