A few months back I was helping some out-of-state buyers look for a condo in the Scottsdale area. While I’ve helped plenty of out-of-state buyers (and sellers) – these particular buyers had a good friend who lived nearby and was accompanying me on the tours.
In short, they had TWO people looking out for their best interests.
Everyone fell in love with one condo in particular. It was nicely updated, it was an end unit and it had an incredible mountain view from the master bedroom. We began the offer process.
And then I did a little digging. Financing for condos is a bit more complicated. Both Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae have thresholds which can’t be exceeded for a single owner within any given H.O.A (Home Owner’s Association). I asked the listing agent if he happened to know if there was any ONE owner that held a large portion of the units within the H.O.A. He seemed hesitant to answer me.
I pulled up the County Tax Assessor records. There were hundreds of units within this H.O.A. I downloaded every unit along with their respective owner (or entity holding ownership). With the help of some excel sorting – I determined that one particular owner, an entity, held 79.9% of the units within the H.O.A.
I called my clients. I advised them not to proceed with the purchase. The condo unit with the view, that everyone loved, completely updated, with a garage and within their budget… and their agent was advising them to move on. Surely, they thought I lost my mind, right?
You see, if a single owner owns 80% of the units within an H.O.A. they can force a takeover, and terminate the H.O.A. Which in turn allows them to force individual owners to sell their properties. While they’re required to pay “market” value, there is a myriad of ways that the numbers can get skewed from what shows up on tax records.
Recently there’s been some changes to this particular law in Arizona. Click HERE for a report from ABC15 which outlines the changes.
As an agent, my fiduciary is to my clients. I am committed to protecting them and looking out for their best interests. In this case, it meant my client wasn’t going to buy. Which meant, I wasn’t getting a commission.
But at the end of the day, I knew I’d be able to sleep – I knew I wouldn’t be turning a blind eye to something which could be detrimental to my clients and their investment. I got paid with good karma on that one!
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