Anyone who owns a condo or is thinking about buying one should read this, and save it in case you need it. I know I've had some of these experiences in both selling and owning a condo. This is such a well-written post from another Realtor just trying to do her job in the face of ridiculous interference from and incompetence of HOA boards. Enjoy!
This is an open letter to all the folks who sit on HOA Boards or live in a community that has an HOA. This is written by a person who is on the front lines to sell your homes as quickly as possible because it is common knowledge that the longer a house is on the market the lower the resulting sale price will be.
WE ARE IN A DECLINING MARKET. YOUR MANY RULES TO PROMOTE EXCLUSIVITY IS REDUCING THE VALUE OF EVERY HOME IN YOUR COMMUNITY!
Here are the top items you need to address so that we can sell your homes.
1. THE GATE: First of all we need to have access. It should not take an act of Congress when we represent the seller, who might be a bank, to get authorization to come into the community. If you need to have us register fine, then give us a temporary pass code, that would go very far to give us access quickly to begin marketing the property.
2. THE GATE PERSONNEL: Need to be friendly and cooperative to outsiders coming to view the property for open houses. Sending people from gate to gate is not acceptable and it is a tactic that leaves a first impression of being an unfriendly place.
3. SIGNAGE: 28% of sales are due to signage. Not allowing signage on a property, condo, etc. only reduces the market of potential buyers by 28%. People driving a community respond to the signs and this is a given. Not allowing any "unsightly signs" only blocks out about a third of your potential buyers.
4. COORDINATING SIGNAGE: When you do allow signs that must be of the same style, fon'ts, colors that has been approved by your board....do you realize that they BLEND IN to all your other signage and defeat the point of having the house for sale get noticed. I have to look for house numbers when I'm in your communities because I'll drive right past my own listing because these types signs do not ATTRACT NOTICE.
5. YOUR HOA'S DOCS AND REGULATIONS- Why not put these online and keep them updated? Do you really need to charge $50 for poorly printed, blurry papers that look like they were done on a mimeograph machine from 1960? How about scanning them and making them available, online, with your community website?
6. YOUR OFFICE PERSONNEL- We Realtors are not your enemy. We are here to sell your homes quickly and professionally. So often, finding out the community's requirements regarding procedures for: a. approving a new owner b. giving the current owners the first right of refusal is like playing a game of "GO FISH". If you could prepare a package of information that is given to us upon first contact that explains your process, we wouldn't have delays in closings, or NO CLOSINGS AT ALL.
7. LOCKBOXES- Not allowing a lockbox on the property means that agents have to go out of their way to show your communities listings. They must make an additional trip to the listing agent's office to sign out the key, then they show the property...then they must return the key. This is an amazing inconvenience and expenditure of time that we don't have in a non-productive way. Many agents will just remove this kind of listing from their list in showing properties. Do you realize how stiff competition is today? For every listing there are probably 30 more that will be easier to show and be located in a REALTOR FRIENDLY ZONE. In our business, time is money.
8. THE VOTE: Waiting till next month's meeting means that you are delaying potential closings by up to 30 days. In a declining market this means that the property's value will have declined by (in our area) 1.5-2%. That means that your vote just cost the seller 1.5-2% of the sale price in value. It also means that IF AND WHEN THE PROPERTY SELLS....IT SETS THE NEW LOW SALES COMP FOR YOUR COMMUNITY! ALL THE HOMES IN THAT COMMUNITY ARE NOW DEVALUED.
Do you see what is going on here? You are shooting yourselves in BOTH FEET!
We are in a tough market and that is no secret. We need everyone to do everything they can to make it easier to sell homes instead of maintaining the status quo.
There are no exceptions- I have a listing that is $1,200,000 that is a bank foreclosure. Three houses north of this home is another foreclosure. All sectors of our society is affected.
NO ONE AND NO COMMUNITY IS IMMUNE FROM THIS FINANCIAL CRISIS.
So let me be the first to suggest that at the next meeting, that you take this list and read it to your members. Please evaluate your procedures and put in a contingency plan that will make showing your properties easier for the troops in the trenches- THE REALTORS- to sell these homes.
If you have questions or need a consultation I would be more than happy to speak to your HOA. If you are a REALTOR reading this, I suggest that you take this post and forward it to every HOA member you know. If you have more points to add, please share them here on Active Rain.
We are in a war here and everyone loses as they see their home's value decline. We must do everything in our power to fight the decline.