Author Topic: Ethics of selling a condo w/ horrible property managers  (Read 1635 times)

le-weekend

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Ethics of selling a condo w/ horrible property managers
« on: January 27, 2020, 01:38:26 PM »
[First things first -- I live in a large and expensive metropolitan area, lots of condos, values hold steady or rise over time. A stand-alone house is not affordable for me unless I undergo a 2-plus hour commute each way which I'm not physically able to do, so please don't tell me to just buy a house :-) ]

I've owned my condo for almost 7 years, and have discovered over time that the condo board and office staff are horrible and disorganized. I already knew they were eye-rollingly unprofessional, but I didn't mind because our fees are low and overall the place seemed to be kept up well enough. However, in the last year my building (it's a garden style complex) had water damage during a rain storm, and their response was totally disorganized, unprofessional, and lacking in any kind of urgency. Same goes for the severe rodent problem we had; I eventually spent $750 of my own money so that at least my own unit would be 100% rodent-free.

They want to fix everything with a spit and a promise and are not demonstrating that they are actively working for the long-term health of the property. At the board meetings you can see that they are clueless and have no business running a large residential complex.

My problem is, I feel very guilty about passing this mess along to somebody else. I guess legally I'm only responsible for my own unit... right? But it feels awful. I've considered trying to get on the board and attempt to change things from within, but I don't really have the time or energy -- not to mention that it would be a huge gamble, since I'm not convinced this ship can be turned around anytime soon.

Any advice would be most welcome.

Dave1442397

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Re: Ethics of selling a condo w/ horrible property managers
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2020, 03:25:49 PM »
I'd be out of there asap. You may be passing the buck, but it's up to the buyer to do their due diligence. If it's the condo version of The Titanic, you have the option of not going down with the ship.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Ethics of selling a condo w/ horrible property managers
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2020, 03:41:37 PM »
I am under the impression that all HOAs are run the way you described... anyone buying into a condo should know thats what they are getting into. ie, no real ethical dilemma.   Seriously, Everyone in condos tells me stories like what you are telling.

le-weekend

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Re: Ethics of selling a condo w/ horrible property managers
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2020, 07:11:15 PM »
Oh my, I think that makes me feel a little better?! Is perhaps the whole business model of condos flawed?

I still want to own a place, and since condo is my only option probably for the next 5-10 years, I was thinking of selling my place, investing all of the proceeds in mutual funds for now, finding another condo development that seems to be well run, and then renting somebody else's investment condo in that development for a while so I can get an insider look at how it's run.

Sigh.... 😑

Freedomin5

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Re: Ethics of selling a condo w/ horrible property managers
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2020, 09:45:55 PM »
Not all HOAs are horrible. You do have to do your due diligence before purchasing a condo though, including asking your realtor about the reputation of the property management company. And if your realtor doesnít know, find a new realtor because the old one likely isnít knowledgeable enough. Our family has owned several condos over the years, and I donít think weíve had problems with any of the management companies (knock on wood).

Telecaster

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Re: Ethics of selling a condo w/ horrible property managers
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2020, 11:19:07 PM »
My family owns a condo in Wyoming.  For some reason, the HOA planted a bunch of crab apple trees around the development.  A couple problems with that.  One is that the crab apples don't ever really ripen in that climate.  The trees do fine, but the apples don't so you never get mature apples.  Next problem is the trees are all planted too close to the buildings which shortens the lives of the expensive shake roofs.  Final problem is that bears like crab apples.  Even unripe ones. 

So problems with bears on the roof eating crab apples.  You've got to call Fish & Game to come get the bear off the roof, and so on.  Fish & Game tells the HOA that bears are smart, and they'll just come back next year to eat the apples and they will teach their cubs, so this will be an ongoing problem forever. Fish & Game explains they don't like coming to get bears off the roof, they would prefer the bears remain in the park, where they belong.  But they do have some grant money (take it or leave it) to pay for the removal of most of the trees.  The HOA would have to come up with the rest. 

So the HOA ponders this for a while, and concludes they don't want free money to do something that needs to be done anyway regardless of the bears.  They like having bears on the roof.  I mean, they bought a condo in Wyoming in order to see wildlife.  That means when they look out their kitchen window, they want to see a goddamn bear on the goddamn neighbor's roof!   So, Mr. Fish & Game, take your grant money and shove it!

This by the way, only ranks about #3 on the list of completely insane decisions. 

Anyway, my point is that I don't think you need to disclose your HOA is horrible, because that should be the default setting.  As a buyer you need to do your due diligence.  Take the property manager (the person who does the maintence) out to drinks and get them good and drunk.  Get them to spill their guts. 

Malkynn

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Re: Ethics of selling a condo w/ horrible property managers
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2020, 04:07:41 AM »
Condo boards are made up of volunteers, so yeah, they tend to get a little whacky. It's a known risk.
That's why most buyers will demand access to the condo documents as a condition of their offer.

My experience with condo boards has been very positive, but I went out of my way to try and find good ones. Granted, both of the complexes I've owned in have been around for decades, so it's easy to find info.

le-weekend

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Re: Ethics of selling a condo w/ horrible property managers
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2020, 06:54:10 AM »
I know there's a law in my state that you're allowed out of a real estate contract during a period of (3 days maybe) after you've been formally provided with the condo docs to review.

First thing I'm going to ask next time is, "Is there a professional management company?" Because at my place it's literally just the condo board attempting to manage everything themselves with the help of an overworked clerk in the little part-time office.

Dogastrophe

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Re: Ethics of selling a condo w/ horrible property managers
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2020, 07:40:49 AM »
OP, if you list your unit it is up to the buyer to do their due diligence. 

When we bought our condo we requested 12 months of board meeting minutes, copy of reserve fund study, audited financial statements, bylaws, and declarations.

From the minutes we could tell that our Board was often chasing the property manager on a few things (such as timely update of resident forms) but nothing material enough for us to pull plug on purchase.  All in all, these docs showed us that things were being run well, minor and major maintenance looked after.


iris lily

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Re: Ethics of selling a condo w/ horrible property managers
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2020, 07:45:55 AM »
This thread, plus another MMM thread like it reminds me why I have sworn off buying a condo.

I still may do it though. But I will regret it!  There is an old building near my neighborhood that I love, and it has small condos that go for $50,000-$60,000. They have already had one assessment for major repairs on the residentís elevator. Itís a prewar building and Iím sure thereís lots of deferred maintenance..

That is a small amount of money to invest and I would look at it like a timeshare, I could walk away from $50,000-$60,000 thatís not a big deal. The problem is could I  get rid of it at all? sell it for 10,000 20,000 if I had to?Iíve been watching the market for things in that building closely. The last small condo in that range to three months to sell which is not bad at all but real estate is strong now. Another condo in that building, a bigger one in need of repair but had all kinds of nice features, sold within 48 hours.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2020, 07:50:54 AM by iris lily »

iris lily

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Re: Ethics of selling a condo w/ horrible property managers
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2020, 07:48:35 AM »
Telecaster, crabapples are ornamental trees and do not produce eating worthy apples. Their fruit is miniature.

Padonak

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Re: Ethics of selling a condo w/ horrible property managers
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2020, 07:50:29 AM »
Its a big building. Potential buyers will find out about these problems from Google reviews and other similar websites. No need to worry about disclosing it unless you are required by law to do so.

le-weekend

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Re: Ethics of selling a condo w/ horrible property managers
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2020, 08:25:27 AM »
I still may do it though. But I will regret it!  There is an old building near my neighborhood that I love, and it has small condos that go for $50,000-$60,000. They have already had one assessment for major repairs on the residentís elevator. Itís a prewar building and Iím sure thereís lots of deferred maintenance..

If you love it, can afford it, and other ones have sold well.... sounds to me like it could be worth the plunge. Still worth crunching the numbers, of course, and trying to be objective about how the shine might wear off after you actually own it.

Dicey

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Re: Ethics of selling a condo w/ horrible property managers
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2020, 08:39:40 AM »
Anyone who is not willing to make the time to be on the board or at least attend the meetings should never, ever buy a condo. Full stop.

And, yes, one mustachian person can make a difference. #askmehowiknow

BlueHouse

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Re: Ethics of selling a condo w/ horrible property managers
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2020, 09:38:36 AM »
I think your focus is on the wrong party.  The property management company is not doing their job -- rally with other residents and the board to get a new management company.  If they have people on staff at your building, then this is a big enough outfit to have lots of options.  I have a condo with an incredibly professional (although, still assholes) mgmt company.  There is no excuse.  But don't expect volunteer board members to be professional.  They are by definition, amateurs at this task.

le-weekend

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Re: Ethics of selling a condo w/ horrible property managers
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2020, 10:11:02 AM »
This is a good suggestion, but we don't even have a property management company!  The board / office clerk vet all the contractors themselves. I have attended several board meetings and spoken with the few fellow owners I know, and the belief is that the long-standing entrenched board members would never be willing to pay for professional management. Even if I had the time & energy to try and gather enough co-owner signatures to force some kind of change, I'm 90% certain they would find a way out of it by invoking some obscure bylaw.

AMandM

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Re: Ethics of selling a condo w/ horrible property managers
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2020, 12:17:26 PM »
Telecaster, crabapples are ornamental trees and do not produce eating worthy apples. Their fruit is miniature.

There are ornamental crabapple trees and ones that produce real fruit. Yes, the fruit are small (about an inch in diametre), and they're not edible raw, because they're very tart, but they make lovely jelly.

Car Jack

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Re: Ethics of selling a condo w/ horrible property managers
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2020, 01:05:06 PM »
What I would do.....

I would sell the condo and rent.  At least that way, if things go south, when the lease ends, you find a better place.  You're not tied there.

le-weekend

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Re: Ethics of selling a condo w/ horrible property managers
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2020, 09:06:19 AM »
Jack, did you mean try to sell it to somebody else but stay there as a rent-back?   Or did you mean, sell it and then go rent in a different condo community?