HOA – Your Protector?

Sometimes.  In some ways, yes.  However in June, 2015, in  Brentwood, TN, a homeowner’s association threatened to sue a family if they didn’t take down a wheelchair ramp in the next week. Per KPHO, Charlotte Broadnax retrofitted her house with a small ramp after her husband Michael Broadnax suffered a stroke late in the previous summer.

As a result, the homeowners association for the Woodlands of Copperstone threatened to sue.

The association demands that within 14 days of the date of this letter, you remove the wheelchair ramp and restore the exterior of your home,” Charlotte Broadnax said, reading from the letter.”

[The Declaration] authorizes the association to come onto your property and remove the ramp and charge you with the work,” Charlotte Broadnax read.
The letter then reads, “If you force the association to sue you, it will seek a court order” and charge the Broadnax’s for attorney’s fees

Unfortunately, this was not the first time a homeowner experienced issues with an #HOA.

HOA super liens are an issue as of late. The court recently upheld a law that allows homeowners associations to foreclose on homes ahead of first-mortgage providers, giving HOA assessments super-lien status that extinguishes first deeds of trust.

There is a constant debate over the true pros and cons of living in a HOA. While some buyers view HOA rules negatively, others say the regulations protect home values and the community for everyone, an article from Bankrate said.

At least for the Broadnax family, the situation has taken a positive turn.  Kathleen Sutherland, director of training and technical services at Ghertner and Company, which manages the #homeowners association, sent the following statement to Channel 4.

“The governing documents for this community require that all exterior improvements receive prior approval. A letter was sent to the owner regarding the ramp as no application for approval had been received.

“The board did not know the ramp was for the homeowner, Mr. Broadnax. The association would like to work with the owners on a compromise regarding the appearance and location of the ramp and compliance with any applicable codes.

3 Tips For Timing The Sale Of Your Home

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Timing is everything, especially when selling your home!  Should you sell first, then rent something while house hunting?  Are you building another home?  What are your options?

Ideally, you would time the sale and closing of house A (the existing home) to coincide with the sale and closing of house B (the home you’re purchasing to replace said existing home).  Ideally…

But you can’t bank on it. Here are a few tips to increase your chances of timing each sale to your advantage.

  1. Negotiate time to find a home.

Usually, the easiest solution is to sell your home to a buyer who’s willing to agree with your terms in the contract, (maybe a lease-back) to give you a bit of time.  You could try negotiating the sale of your home contingent upon finding and buying the home you’ll move to.  Buyers are more inclined to be flexible if you’re a bit flexible on your price or other terms of the agreement.

Analyze your options.  Frequently a compromise will cost less, decrease your stress level, and make for a smoother transaction all around.  Unless your buyer is also selling their own home and need to time the sale and purchase on their end as well.  The trickle-down effect may require some sensitivity.   If you’re selling to a first-time home buyer, the buyer may be working within the constraints of a lease.  Communication and planning with your agent from the moment you list your home will improve your odds!

  1. A bridge loan.

May take some shopping and research.  Bridge loans aren’t the norm, but you might be able to find a bank who will lend you money without selling your home, or will approve a mortgage provided you have a viable contract on your home.  On occasion, a lender will approve you for both mortgages for a short period of time.

  1. Have a back-up plan.

Most people can’t afford to buy without selling their current home.  If you’re among those lucky few with available cash reserves, temporary housing and storage may be your answer, though it would be an expensive one.  If you have it in your budget, take a local vacation!  Check out VRBO and you might be surprised at your options.

What about family?  They’re usually good for a few weeks.  Probably not a great long-term solution, but would it work for 30-45 days?  Maybe?  Hey, we’re problem solving, here, tossing around possibilities!  It can buy you time to wait a bit for the perfect house, and, take some of the pressure off when you are negotiating.  If you are pressed for time, you may be forced to pay a higher price for the house you are buying.

First things first…

Planning on the front end will cut down on expenses, frustration and fear of the missing a good offer for House A and/or a good price for House B.  You don’t want to feel forced to buy the first house that happens to be available and will line up with your timing.   Failure to be prepared just in case can cost you. Get my book!

Much depends on your local real estate market.  It may be that the house you plan to sell will go quickly and the demand will be such that you can call the shots regarding the terms of the agreement and buy time to find the perfect home.  Who knows…maybe there are plenty of properties in your price range, just sitting there waiting for you, with owners who would be happy to work with you on timing the closings.

No matter what, don’t attempt to just wing it and hope everything works out for the best.  And don’t wait until you have your house under contract and have found one you want to buy, only to discover it will require scheduling two moves (into and out of storage) you aren’t prepared for.

Involve your agent and come up with your game plan beforehand.  Real estate agents deal with these concerns day in and day out.  Yours can help you make the best decision and create a plan that considers your situation and the local market.  Do this before you even start the process.   Look into different lenders and the options they may have for you.  You might be happily surprised – at least you’ll be informed.