The condominium resale certificate is a critical part of every condo sale. Condos and homeowner associations are governed by documents that outline the duties and responsibilities of the homeowner and the community. When a buyer purchases a condo they are entitled to review those documents. The “resale certificate” is a 5-6 page summary supported by many other documents that contain information and disclosures that include the HOA’s governing documents (Declarations, ByLaws and Articles of Incorporation), budget and financial reports, assessments, reserves, reserve study, rules and regulations, pet and rental restrictions, meeting minutes, etc.
Why is a Resale Certificate Needed?
In Washington State the seller is required by law to deliver a current resale certificate to a buyer for review and approval. If not approved, the buyer may terminate the sale. The buyer’s lender will also review sections of the resale certificate as part of the buyer’s loan approval.
Who Prepares the Resale Certificate?
The documents are prepared by the HOA’s association manager (or a board member if the community is self-managed). The resale certificate is ordered by and paid for by the seller. Anticipate a fee of $275+.
In Washington State the seller is required to deliver the HOA resale certificate to the buyer per the terms of the Purchase and Sale contract (within 10 days unless otherwise specified). The buyer, once the package has been received, has five days to review the information and either approve or disapprove the resale certificate. If the buyer does not terminate within 5 days the resale certificate contingency is automatically waived.
I frequently review resale certificates and understand the importance these documents have for sellers, buyers and the successful sale of a condominium residence. If you have questions or need additional information, feel free to contact me.
In this fast paced, competitive real estate market, it’s common, in an effort to “win”, for buyers to waive contract conditions such as inspection, financing, appraisal, neighborhood review, etc. Buying a condominium is different than buying a house. With condominiums perhaps the most important contract condition in place to protect a buyer is the homeowner association (HOA) resale disclosure documents. The State of Washington requires a seller to provide the HOA resale disclosure to a buyer upon mutual acceptance and the buyer has the right to review and approve or disapprove based on the information contained in the package.
What is a resale certificate? It is a set of documents typically assembled by the condominium’s association manager that includes the summary “resale certificate” which discloses information about the HOA, delinquencies, pending special assessments, HOA reserve account balance, owner occupied vs. rental units, pending lawsuits, etc. Supporting documents will include detailed information about the HOA’s budget and financial statements, reserve study, meeting minutes, rules and regulations, recorded Bylaws and Declaration and insurance.
This is a large package of detailed information which too often buyers glance at briefly or ignore totally. It’s important to understand the health of the HOA and how well it is functioning, how well funded the reserve account is, and what conditions or community rules and regulations could impact a buyer’s planned use of the property.
What should you look for? The recorded Declarations can be hundreds of pages, which is overwhelming. There are major pieces you should review, but it’s wise to spend some time going through all the documents to understand how the HOA is governed and how owner’s monthly assessment dollars are being spent.
Resale Certificate – A 5-7 page document highlighting the major elements of the HOA (owner occupancy, delinquencies, reserve balance, special assessments, lawsuits, etc.).
Budget and financial statements – Review the annual financial statements and current operating budget to see the line-by-line operating expenses. Is the HOA staying within budget? Is the HOA building adequate reserves? Is the HOA financially healthy? Continue reading