We had a realtor out to look at our place the other day. Karen came highly recommended and we found her to be fabulous. She has a professional photographer take her listing photos, has a stager work with clients to get the place ready for listing, markets aggressively on the internet and really knows her stuff as far as legalities are concerned, which it seems could make all the difference.

We want to move to a 4-bedroom single family home now that we have a third on the way. And there are many for sale for not much more than we’ll sell our townhome for. With lowered interest rates, we should end up not paying any more than we do now. So the realtor really liked our place and the only changes she recommended making were new flooring in the upstairs bathroom, kitchen and living room, if we can afford it.

But the big problem is the association, for two reasons:

1. Karen said we’ll have a hard time selling until the association fixes the peeling siding because it won’t pass FHA inspection, and our primary market will be those with FHA loans. So we need to push the association management (basically two out of the eight owners here) to get a meeting and vote scheduled to get new maintenance-free siding or get the current wood siding scraped and painted. I asked what the vote threshold was to get something approved (since we’ll all have to pay a portion of the cost) and got this answer from our treasurer (who I always go to with questions b/c the president is nutso): “I would love to do the siding yet this fall. The problem is we can’t get blood from a turnip and there are some who just don’t have the money I don’t know how we can make them pay. I mentioned to Cheryl (our president) that we need to have an association meeting where we can discuss these and other issues.” Vague enough?

2. We know nothing about the association’s operations. We fully take responsibility for not pushing for financial information after two years of grumbling about how the little service we get can possibly cost $150 per unit per month. But we just thought this a nuisance. Turns out, it’s illegal. Annual meetings and published annual reports are required by law and we’ve had neither in the last three years. Our realtor cited five other statues the association is likely in violation of. We need to get this remedied before she’ll list the property. She has a feeling other units in the association haven’t sold or have taken so long to sell because realtors are warning their clients not to buy into such a shoddy operation. She said we were done a great disservice by our previous realtor buy allowing us to buy without taking care of these issues.

The vacant, foreclosed townhome next to us finally sold after months on the market. It worried us that it took so long to sell but our realtor thinks the above two issues are part of why it took so long. On a side note, the new owner bought for $90k less than we paid three years ago. OUCH. She said there was no significant damage but pretty much everything was out of date and ugly. With the help of her family, she has completely gutted the place and is now putting in new stuff. I think she’s going to end up with a nicer place than ours for a lot less money.