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.
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.
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.
- Good Faith – has been covered a number of times. Acting in the best interest of the collective.
- With Care – this is the one that is fairly subjective and where a Board is susceptible to claims of negligence or ill-intent. Boards must always use their resources, illustrating careful thought and having researched information as contributing factors to a decision. Some examples illustrating this would include: reviewing a Management Report prior to a meeting; asking for an attorney to review a detailed or complex contract/agreement prior to executing; utilizing an engineer for an in-depth study of a complex structural problem and gathering formal recommendations; engaging with an accountant to do an annual audit of the financials; speaking directly to an insurance agent before binding coverage. Engaging with experts and showing due diligence is always a good way to prove “duty of care” was taken
- Best Interest – if meeting minutes reflect these steps were taken, and if the discussion and decisions happened in a recognized open meeting of the Board, the Board is acting in a reasonable manner and in the best interest of the association.
As volunteers of a non-profit corporation, it is sometimes hard to recognize and accept there is a significant amount of liability put on the Board. If Fiduciary Duty is understood and followed, and Directors & Officers insurance is put in place, the Board should be comforted in the protections afforded under the Business Judgement Rule doctrine.
April 23, 2019 — Sharper Management, a locally-owned, mid-sized property management company located in Eden Prairie, MN has recently been brought on board to manage the Hague Commons Condominium Association in St. Paul, MN. Sharper Management’s ability to customize financial-only management contract was one of the key factors in the associations decision to bring Sharper on board. Known for their professionalism and transparency, Sharper Management manages several other HOAs in the area including Dakota on the Park in the Lowertown area of DT St. Paul.
“We’re excited about our growing presence in St. Paul,” states Dan Cunningham, Partner and Managing Broker. “Our clients truly appreciate our ability to tailor services to their specific needs. This flexibility along with the exceptional and reliable property management services we offer is continuing to be a deciding factor in many local association’s choice to hire Sharper. We’re happy to grow with our clients and help board members throughout the area.”
Known for their reliable and committed approach to services for condominium and townhome associations in Minnesota, Sharper Management specializes in providing exceptional property management solutions. Offering a full-suite of premier services to the Minneapolis-St. Paul seven-county area, Sharper Management continues to expand their service area and look forward to building more new relationships throughout the Twin Cities.
Did you know that associations, as a registered non-profit corporation, are required to file Federal and State taxes? It is also important to be aware of any requirements of your governing docs for an annual financial review or audit. If you are governed under MCIOA (Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act,which effects all condominium associations and any association incorporated after June 1, 1994),you are required to have, at minimum, an annual financial review. Note: you can have a vote of the membership to waive this requirement.
Financial reviews and audits do differ; however, they achieve the same goal. That is to have an independent, licensed CPA review the association’s financials and the accounting practices of its management company. It should also be noted that MCIOA puts this criteria on who performs the financial review or audit.
Your property manager and staff at Sharper are working hard behind the scenes to provide the engaged CPA firm with all of the materials required. Bank statements, reports, invoices, etc. all must be provided.
The up and down temperatures and the record-breaking February snow totals have been the perfect recipe for ice dam formation on various types of roofs this year. Ice dams are particularly tricky for associations because the line between Homeowner vs. Association responsibility can become rather blurred.
First, it is important to understand how and why ice dams form. In short, they form when snow melts on your roof and then re-freezes over the eave-typically over the soffit area. The ice “dam” then prohibits further melting snow to drain properly off the roof, which can (but not always) cause leaking water into the home.
There are many factors as to why ice dams form-the inevitable freeze/thaw cycle; excess snow pack; clogged gutters or frozen downspouts-but the primary culprit is excessive heat loss from the unit and/or a lack of ventilation. Which is why, many times and depending on your governing documents, ice dams and the leakage they can cause are not necessarily the association’s responsibility. They are not caused by roofing deficiencies; they are caused by insulation and ventilation deficiencies INSIDE of the home.
It is important to understand how your association’s governing documents define “unit boundaries.” Does the boundary of the unit include “unfinished surfaces” or “no upper or lower boundaries”? If so, this could imply that the attic space (or the space between the roof deck and the ceiling) and insulation inside of it would be a homeowner responsibility; therefore, the heat loss causing the ice dam is the homeowner’s deal.
Once there is an understanding of who is responsible for what, it is very helpful for associations to review their ice dam situation and have a policy in place for how they are to be addressed.