4 Ways an HOA Can Kill Your Next Closing

by Peter Thomas Ricci


It doesn’t matter whether your next transaction is a short sale or an equity sale: if the subject property is part of a homeowners association, you may be in for a rude awakening. That’s right: homeowners associations are becoming the latest deal-killer.

When the recession began several years ago, distressed borrowers had to make sacrifices when paying bills, and many of those distressed borrowers with properties in homeowners associations started skipping their monthly HOA payments as a means of making ends meet. As a result, many homeowners associations across the nation are still facing high delinquency rates due to these defaulted payments.

Top 4 Ways That the HOA Can Kill Your Deal

It doesn’t matter whether you are involved in a short sale or a traditional transaction. Here are the top four ways that an HOA can hamper your next closing:

1. Some homeowners associations file liens against the property for the unpaid dues and legal fees in order to compel the distressed borrower to make good on their debt. These HOA liens (depending upon your state) could be upwards of $20,000, and usually must be satisfied at or prior to closing. (If you are involved in a short sale and the short sale lender does not agree to pay the HOA balance, you may not be able to close.)

2. Some homeowners associations are filing Notices of Default (since homeowners have defaulted on their HOA dues) and even foreclosing on properties – leaving the mortgage lenders and homeowners behind.

3. Buyers obtaining loans to purchase in certain condominium communities are faced with numerous of challenges. High delinquency rates, bad HOA balance sheets and low owner-occupancy are red flags for mortgagors. Many lenders do not approve mortgages because the underwriters cannot qualify the property due to the HOA situation.

4. Buyers obtaining FHA loans may find that their complex is not on HUD’s list of approved condos any longer. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development maintains a list (which is constantly being updated and changed) of FHA-approved condominium projects. If buyers are purchasing a short sale, the complex may be on the list one month, and then three months later (when the short sale is finally approved) the property may not be on the FHA-approved list any longer.

If you are a listing agent or a buyer’s agent purchasing a property in an HOA community, it’s best to do a lot of research prior to putting a home on the market. It’s a good idea for listing agents to discuss the HOA issues with sellers, so that no unfortunate situations arise when you are approaching the closing date.


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