[Attachment for January 27th Housing Committee Agenda Summary, Item II. A. (2)]
Desert Resort Management in Palm Desert, California has their own website and their fees are ridiculous. Their usual upfront costs are a minimum of $260.00 - $310.00, or more, and if you need a rush, add an additional $150.00 and then they get a Post Closing Fee of $250.00. They take their 10 days unless you order a rush and they E-mail everything. You have to pay in your upfront fees - a $40.00 updated charge where you can get one verbal update, after you go back on their website and request the update.
Condo Certs out of Tempe, Arizona - (that a lot of Management companies here in the desert use, like Personalized Property Management, Monarch and others) - usual minimum upfront cost of $260.00 and sometimes as high as $500.00, (or more, depending on what you order) which includes Condo Certs fee of around $30.00 now. Then at closing you pay the management company their transfer fee which can range from $100.00 to $250.00 or more. (They also E-mail all the documents to escrow for us to print and package for distribution.)
Albert Association now uses
Home Wise and their fees are some of the worst. Their upfront costs for documents are about the same as Condo Certs and Desert Resort Management’s, ranging from $250.00 to $500.00, plus any rush fee if you need them prior to 10 days. What is worse is the “packages” you pick from their website as to what you want to order does not provide details of exactly what you are getting, so then you can get stuck having to order items separately which costs even more, besides the time you have wasted having to re-order and sending them more upfront money. Then Albert Association gets their transfer fee at closing and they also charge $40.00 for UPDATED FIGURES at time of closing.
Heaven forbid you forget to put your request in on-line to order it a day or so before closing…you can’t get your update without doing that first. It is a time-waster besides the additional cost that should be a normal service they provide. You can’t just “call” anymore for your update. It is crazy.
Then they all E-mail us the documents to print out, package and distribute to the Buyer, so then we have to charge for that, because, after all, we are the ones doing the actual work and not just spending 5 minutes to “send an E-mail” or look up current accounting. We have to enter the address, sellers' names and addresses, phone numbers, buyers' names, escrow number and more onto their website to place our order, which you know filters in to the forms they are sending to us. So what work ARE they REALLY DOING? These companies are getting almost what we get in an escrow fee for doing what?
The first thing out of the mouth of a clerk at the HOA management company is “we have 20 days to deliver those documents”and the part that they don’t say is “and we intend to take every last hour of that time”. This is especially common when the document is the HOA Cert. That is the document that tells whether or not there is a pending lawsuit as well as other information. Even 10 days is an inordinate amount of time, given the time frames within which buyers and sellers have to work. The information is essentially at their fingertips. I live in an HOA where the association allows management to set the doc fee - it is currently $200 which I believe is too much for what is delivered. I work for other HOAs whose doc fee range from $25-$75 and the fee is paid to the association and not to me as management
This condo is located at 1042 Calle Del Cerro #208. The escrow is cancelling and there is $600 of prepaid association fees. They have been over-charging for years. There could not be more than an hour's work and copying costs. The total amount that should be owed is about $50, not $600. I have confronted them before and was able to reduce the fee, once, by telling them I would report what they are charging. It is the lowest priced development in our area and the highest HOA documents escrow charges!
The unit is in a community called Cameray Pointe homeowner’s association. “Cameray Pointe HOA” utilizes Optimum Property Management Inc. for HOA services. Cameray Pointe is part of a Master community called “Bear Brand at Laguna Niguel Community Association” which we believe utilizes Transpacific Management Services. The HOA document fees were $609 and $525 for the two management companies above. We felt this was way out of line. Our estimate is that there were less than 500 sheets of paper contained in the two packages which could have been duplicated at any office supply store for less than $100.
To add insult to injury; the first buyer was trying for an FHA loan and the community did not qualify (hence the above cancellation) and we opened escrow with a backup buyer. A termite inspection determined that there was some damage/infestation in the common areas which would be covered by the HOA, but the HOA would have to “approve” the repairs at their next meeting. Problem was that the next meeting was scheduled after the anticipated close of escrow. No problem - the HOA management company would give us a letter stating that the HOA was responsible for the work which would satisfy the terms of the contract. However, the cost to “prepare” the letter is $150 - cash or check up front - so a 65-mile round trip with check in hand yielded the second attachment, a form letter! By our estimation three or four of those would more than pay for the computer and printer it took to create it! Obviously these management companies have turned these simple tasks into a profit center and the actual homeowners have no idea of the negative affect it has on their property.
Between Muir Hills HOA and CID Property Management, and Condo Certs, buyers and sellers paid over $500 in fees including $100 to "expedite" a questionnaire sooner than 10 days. This was on a $167,000 condo. Condo Certs is a nightmare to deal with; they charge one fee to get the docs and then when you want to close the escrow, they demand more money.
Two associations with Curtis Management charged $200.00 x’s 2; upfront HOA doc fees plus $200.00 for the HOA certs.
HOA used to provide a hard copy of closing docs for $100. Now, they just send a link to a page to title. No copy work, no printing, no ink. They usually charge about $250. Personally, I consider that exorbitant when actual cost for personnel (and being liberal on time) is 10 to 15 minutes of an assistant typing in an e-mail address. Their cost at say, $20 per hour is 5 dollars. Even if you factor in the cost of maintaining the package, office space, rent, and overhead, you can’t be looking at more than another $10…even say it is $25. Should they be permitted apply a "link" cost of $250?
I closed a deal in the third quarter of 2010 that was an HOA/Management Company horror story for an Agent. The property was a Short Sale. HUD required that the back HOA dues be paid in full but it didn't allot for the HOA documentation. The Seller lived in a 6-unit complex with little common area (one driveway, some grass and trees) and still the paperwork ran us $350. The Buyer's Agent and I split that cost, paid the HOA and expected our HOA docs to be released to us (needing them for the Buyer and for their Lender). But that turned out not to be the case. The HOA held the paid-for docs hostage until the back HOA payments were paid in full. This was about $2500 in back HOA assessments (that were approved to be paid at the Close of Escrow on the HUD). I finally had to pay the HOA out of pocket AGAIN, got our docs, and closed our Escrow. Escrow cut a check to the HOA (as per the Short Selling Bank-Approved HUD) for the $2500 and once that check cleared, the HOA cut me a reimbursement check. This "means-to-an-end" could have cost these Buyers and Sellers much more than I risked. It still amazes me what a strong-hold these HOA companies have on our transactions. I'm working on one transaction now where the HOA isn't willing to provide to us FHA-required documentation because state law "doesn't require" the more in depth information. Aw, the joys of an HOA!
Recently, I closed two escrows in the Cypress Ridge golf course community in Arroyo Grande, CA. The fees charged by the third party vendor seemed very high to me. There was an up-front fee of $85 to the Seller/owner with another $225 at close of escrow. The sellers are not allowed to pass along their own personal copy and only ask for updates to that 2007 set of documents. As they were purchasing within the same community as selling, this resulted in two sets of fees; one for each seller. The third party vendor name is Condo Cert.
Section 1368 FeesCharging Entity
$480 Lake Mirage Desert Resort Mgt Community $679 Canyon Sands Albert Assn; agt - Condo Certs $425 Casa Blanca White Star Mgt $999 Oakmont Estates Albert Assn; agt - Condo Certs $1049 Deep Well Ranch Albert Assn; agt - Condo Certs $680 Mountain Back Monarch Assn; agt - Condo Certs $350 Biltmore III Desert Mgt $500 Royal Hawaiian Brentwood Assn; also Charge cancellation Fee @ $250.00 $250 The Springs Assn. $584 The Compound Personal Prop Mgt; agt - Condo Certs $680 Tucson Monarch Condo Assn; agt - Condo Certs $537 Mara vista Merit Assn. $350 Villorrio P S Mgt.