Buying an REO? Make sure the bank knows about any HOA dues

If you’ve got a buyer planning to purchase a home from a bank, there’s a potential speed bump (or road block) you might want to be aware of: past-due HOA fees.

As this HousingWire article explains, banks will often get deep into the sale process before learning that there are back HOA dues on a property. And when that property has been in the bank’s hands for a while, those dues can add up.

“High delinquency rates place tremendous pressure on associations to meet their obligations to the homeowners who are paying their fair share,” says [Community Associations Institute] chief Thomas Skiba. “When some owners — including lenders that have foreclosed on homes and now own them — don’t pay their share, other homeowners often must make up the difference in higher regular assessments or special assessments. Associations must still pay their bills.”

And so they’re going after the banks for everything they can.

Of course, when the fees are large the banks will try to get them reduced, but HOAs have a duty to their members (who havebeen paying their fair share) and aren’t always amenable to cutting Big National Bank a break.

The banks, although they must realize that they’re going to owe that money either now or later, will often drag out the process, leaving a buyer in the lurch. (Well, for as long as the buyer is willing to hold out.)

This is one reason that, back in 2008, the Three Fs (Fannie, Freddie, and the FHA) stopped offering financing for a condo where more than 15% of the units were delinquent on their assessments.

But that means it’s harder for condo owners to sell, pushing more of them into foreclosure… you get the picture.

Anyway, the Housing Wire article is an interesting read. Check it out.

About Andrew Kantor

Andrew is VAR's editor and information manager, and -- lessee now -- a former reporter for the Roanoke Times, former technology columnist for USA Today, and a former magazine editor for a bunch of places. He hails from New York with stops in Connecticut, New Jersey, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Roanoke.
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