Sunday, March 15, 2009

How Associations Can Help Owners Sell Units

In an article in Sunday's Chicago Tribune, Pamela Dittmer McKuen offers tips for associations to make it easier for owners to sell their units. Among them:

Remove the right of first refusal from your governing documents. That right allows the association to block a sale by matching a prospective buyer's offer. If it does, the Federal Housing Administration won't grant its popular low down-payment financing.

Get on the FHA list of approved associations, which will help speed transactions.

Loosen restrictions on renters and dogs.

Spiff up the common areas. If the building and grounds aren't attractive, many buyers won't even stop. Cheap fixes: plant flowers, pick up trash, replace burnt-out light bulbs, remove personal items from hallways.

Put your finances in order. Buyers want to see balanced budgets, healthy reserves and reasonable assessments. Other red flags: outstanding litigation and deferred maintenance.

Help sellers bring in prospects. Restrictions on open houses or for-sale signs reduce the flow of prospects. Lockbox bans limit the number of showings. Perhaps the doorman or onsite manager can hold a key, or there might be another place nearby to put the lockbox.

Streamline the amount of documentation and intensity of interviews.

Cozy up to neighborhood sales agents. They've got insider information and they communicate that with other agents. Invite agents to your meetings or parties, host a get-acquainted coffee hour, elect a resident agent to your board, self-publish a brochure that touts your good points or explains the bad ones.

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