Disclosures are meant to protect each party by disclosing facts about a property. However, they can sometimes be incomplete or inaccurate, since sellers fill it out to the best of their knowledge. One part that is often filled out incorrectly or skipped altogether relates to Section G in the Community Association Disclosure section:
1. “Fees Charged to Buyer Upon Sale of the Property”.
The association may require an initiation fee, which was not the case when the seller moved in. Be sure to ask the community association about this fee prior to closing.
2. “Account Statement or Clearance Letter”
The buyer will be responsible for paying the $250 for an account statement or clearance letter if the seller does not check the box. See Section P to determine who is responsible for the fees and letters.
UPDATE FEB 3 –
The Atlanta REALTORS Association is working with GAR and a few interested parties to address the issue of HOA letters and accompanying fees. Currently, the law permits a $10 fee for an HOA to produce a closing letter. It has been brought to attention that there are apparently many instances where HOAs are circumventing the law by also adding accompanying fees (primarily expediting fees).
As we work with the state legislature to rectify this issue, if there are any experiences that you would like to share of either exorbitant fees, expediting fees (please state the time frame for the expediting), or any additional tacked on fees/requirements, that would be greatly beneficial to our efforts. Please follow this link to share your story. Provide as much detail as possible and any redacted documents that may evidence the abuse.
3. “Seller Warranty”
The seller agrees that they filled out the disclosure to the best of their knowledge, but it is up to the buyer to confirm what fees they will owe when they purchase the home. Contact the Association directly to also determine what services and amenities you will be entitled to once you move in.
While the disclosure protects all parties, the buyer suffers the consequences if it is inaccurate. Take the time to check over the disclosure so that you are aware of what you may be responsible for on closing day.