Sharper Management


Getting Ready to Sell in an HOA

Prepping for the sale of your home doesn’t need to be an arduous task. Just like selling any other single-family home, selling your townhouse or condo may require a few interior updates and fixes, but there are also a few simple things that you can do that will go a long way in adding appeal to your property. Simple Tips for Selling Clean and re-organize your space – As long as you’re trying to sell your CIC property, you will need to keep it clean and organized in case of any last-minute showings. Rooms should be re-arranged to appear spacious, and storage areas should be emptied, when possible, to make them appear larger. Depersonalize your space – Take down or remove items such are your photos on the wall, religious items, knickknacks, worn-down furniture, and other personal items. Potential buyers want to envision themselves in the space, and a non-personalized space can help them do that. Little updates go a long way – Updating things like cabinet hardware or outlet covers will help the space feel updated without a lot of effort. If your walls aren’t already neutral colors, then re-paint them so they’ll appeal to a wide range of buyers. In general, a new coat of paint will make a space look better. Focus on your kitchen and bathroom – The kitchen and bathroom are big sellers in any home. Make sure they are clean! If your bathtub has mold in the grout, scrub it or reroute the lines to freshen them. Remove clutter from your kitchen countertop space. This will make even a small kitchen seem larger. Be flexible with your showings – Stay courteous and responsive when dealing with potential buyers. Flexibility when setting up a showing will help move you to sale faster. Choose the right realtor – Make sure you choose a realtor who knows how to market an HOA property. Ask questions about where they plan to market your home. Does include a full range of the most popular real estate websites such as Realtor.com? Will they bring in a professional photographer to ensure your online photos make your home look its very best? With these helpful tips, you should be able to expertly present your property to potential buyers. Remember to also play up the benefits of your HOA. As the seller, you’ll need to provide resale documents to your potential buyer. You can find this information on our website. Visit sharpermanagement.com and look for the Resale Disclosures link in the menu bar. Or, click here.

Construction Chat: To Blacktop or Not to Blacktop?

Similar to concrete, your association’s blacktop makes a statement about the community. After the extreme temperatures from this winter, it’s important to include pavement maintenance or replacement on property inspection lists. When reviewing your pavement, look for damage such as potholes, large cracks, and persistent puddles. Potholes and cracks in pavement are a common occurrence for Minnesota in the spring, and residents will have to deal with them enough driving around the city. They’ll likely not be pleased dealing with them at their residence, and it can negatively affect your association’s curb appeal for potential buyers. Insistent puddles, the ones that just won’t go away, let you know there is a drainage or ponding issue with your lot. When this happens, the long-standing water begins to wear down the blacktop. It also increases the chances of the pavement being drastically affected by Minnesota’s extreme freeze-thaw. The best way to solve these issues is by getting a professional out to examine the parking lot and give an estimate on the work needed. For the potholes and cracks, if they’re not too extensive, they may be patched or solved with a mill and overlay, which is less expensive than a complete tear out and replacement. Once your new blacktop is installed, but sure to maintain it properly with regular sealcoating. This extends the pavement’s durability and strength so the association can save money over time through preventative action.

Don’t Break Your Own Rules in Rule Enforcement

Spring is here and that means Community Managers and Board members will be active in walk-arounds/site inspections while hoping to whip the association back in to shape after a long winter’s nap. Rule violations are always a focus in these efforts. Melted snow un-earths pet damage to turf; holiday lights still adorn balconies; neglected exterior maintenance items that homeowners may be responsible for become apparent; “big-boy toys” like boats and RVs begin to come out and park in driveways and guest parking; kid toys and sports equipment litter patios and common areas; and on and on. While associations should be assertive and fair in cleaning up these and other rule violations, there is one area that Boards can get themselves in trouble when it comes to enforcement – adhering to their own appeal opportunities and hearing processes. Many Declarations documents give some parameters and rights to members/homeowners when it comes to compliance and remedies in regard to rule enforcement. It is always wise to not only have a thorough Enforcement Policy (warning, first fine, second fine, etc), but also an appeal and hearing procedure as part of the Rules & Regulations document. This policy should mirror or further enhance -but never contradict – any existing language in the Declarations or ByLaws. The most common approach to creating fairness when it comes to rule remedies is to allow for an appeal and hearing procedure. Some rule violations, after all, might have extenuating circumstances, or sometimes the violation might have been applied to the incorrect offender. Allowing for an appeal procedure creates an opportunity to hear this out. This “appeal” should come in way of a “hearing” before the Board. Additionally, the Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act (“MCIOA”) contemplates this notion when it provides that owners should be able to speak before the Board. A common approach that has been incorporated into more recent governing documents is to allow for a rule offender to be given 10 days to request a hearing before the Board. The Board then has 30 days to schedule said hearing from receipt of a formal request for a hearing (tip: which could and should be at the next scheduled Board meeting). The Board then has a reasonable amount of time to further deliberate the information presented and provide a formal written response to the owner either upholding or altering the rule violation and any corresponding sanctions. The key, however, to making this procedure work, is to be appropriately notify the homeowners of their right to appeal and hearing in all correspondences that related to the rule violation. Many Declarations (and therefore coinciding rules and enforcement policies) do state something along the lines of “the offender shall be given notice of the nature of the rule violation and the right to a hearing…” If any of the rule violation letters, be it the original warning or certainly any subsequent fines, did not state the owner had a right to an appeal and/or hearing, the Association did not follow through on their requirements for enforcement. Should the matter end up in court, a judge might likely side with the homeowner. While no one wants to add administrative steps, particularly with regards to owners breaking rules, it is important to be aware of any appeal and/or hearing procedures that may already be in place – and certainly it is important to be incorporating those requirements in enforcement efforts.