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Category Archives: condominiums

Invest now in vacation property!


In preparing for a short talk about how to convey various kinds of vacation real estate, I arrived at the unbrilliant conclusion that people make decisions to buy vacation real estate (RV lots, lake houses, timeshares) based on what they think they want at the time of purchase, with some attention, but not enough attention, to the future. A short version of my presentation is posted here.

Many decisions to purchase vacation property are made when buyers are in a state of vacation bliss, a kind of wistfulness, that makes them less critical than when they’re on their home turf. They hope the vacation property will be a place of togetherness for family and close friends, where memories are created. Perhaps it will become a retirement home, where the grandchildren will want to visit. The sales techniques for vacation property are addressed squarely at those sentiments.

Many of those good things do happen. But vacation properties have the same drawback as all real estate investments: real estate is immobile. If you must to sell it quickly, the price must be low. You probably can’t sell it yourself, because you’re not there.

Ownership of most objects becomes undesirable. Our family situations change. Rising fortunes suggest that we should upgrade. Declining fortunes require that we sell. Seclusion that initially provided peace now brings feelings of loneliness. Or seclusion is ruined by the tasteless vacation home just built next door. The only time available to be at the vacation property is consumed with mowing and repairs.

Now is a great time to buy, because many owners need to sell. Get some advice about your purchase from people who aren’t going to make a commission if the sale goes through, whom you can confide in about your needs.

The advisors you need when considering purchasing vacation property should be able to advise you on such topics as:

  • the history of the project (subdivision, resort, condominium), including the reputation of its developer
  • subdivision restrictions and plats
  • maintenance fees
  • responsibility for road maintenance
  • recreational amenities
  • water and sewer systems
  • lake or river access
  • police and fire protection
  • homeowner association status and activities
  • distance to medical facilities
  • resale opportunities
  • nearby employment opportunities

The information that you need probably isn’t available from just one person. Take your time in making a decision. Don’t sign anything while you’re in the wistful state.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The defunct HOA problem continues in Missouri, legislation needed urgently


Homeowner associations (HOAs) are given responsibility by recorded subdivision and condominium documents for maintaining, insuring and operating private communities’ common properties, such as streets, drinking water systems, sewer collection and treatment systems, and recreation facilities.

With many developers having abandoned projects before the HOA is operated by residents, the residents and other lot or unit owners (such as lenders that have foreclosed) are often faced with HOAs that cannot properly Read the rest of this entry

All owners are necessary parties in condominium litigation when class action fails

Posted on

The Villa Dorado condominium has 45 buildings, only nine of which have elevators. When the condominium association’s board assessed every unit owner for repairs to elevators, Epstein and Root protested. Their units were in buildings with no elevators, Read the rest of this entry

It’s time: HOA budgets for 2010


Homeowner associations (HOAs) generally have fiscal years that correspond to calendar years, which means that it’s time for HOA boards to begin work on their 2010 budgets, so that the new budget–which establishes the HOA board’s authority to collect assessments and spend money–is in place before the start of 2010.

Missouri HOAs, other than condominium owners associations (COAs), don’t have any special statutes to follow. Instead, they are governed by corporation statutes and by their recorded covenants and by their bylaws, which are often not recorded.

Here’s an overview of the sources of general and financial powers of HOAs and COAs: Read the rest of this entry

Branson Landing and FEMA


Several people have asked me about my take on the allegations that FEMA was given incomplete or inaccurate information about the flood-plain status of buildings in Branson Landing.

My firm represents several tenants and condo unit owners in Brans0n Landing and also represents another party in an appeal of an administrative determination made by Branson’s Department of Planning and Development.

I am withholding comment about the Branson Landing-FEMA controversy for two reasons:

  • I don’t know anything
  • I don’t want to inadvertently make a statement that would affect my firm’s ability to represent its clients.

SB 230: The Uniform Planned Communities Act


Today, I’ll travel to Jefferson City to testify before a Senate committee in favor of the Uniform Planned Communities Act, which is Senate Bill 230, sponsored by Sen. Joan Bray.

I have testified in support of the UPCA at two or three times previously. I’m not a lobbyist, and I testify for myself at my own expense, taking off work to do so. Here’s why: Read the rest of this entry

Styron & Shilling’s HOA database project


Suppose you are buying a home in a subdivision. You don’t see many occupied houses in the subdivision, which is not in a city or town. But you see a water wellhouse and storage tank and maybe an odd looking structure that must be a sewer treatment plant or pumping station. You don’t see any signs indicating that these belong to a local government entity. You wonder who maintains the streets, the water system and the sewer system. The answer is that a homeowners’ association (HOA) is responsible for maintenance and operation of these essential facilities.

But where is the HOA?  You can’t find it in the phone book or on the internet. The public records are sketchy. Read the rest of this entry

Sunday night blues


sunset-at-k-dock1

Sunday evenings have become much worse for me, as the economy has deteriorated, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

I used to spend a couple of hours making lists, getting ready for a week of new people and new projects.

Now I try to figure out how to get the things done that I should have finished last week, but couldn’t get to because of all the urgent requests and attempts to wrap up jobs that have been hanging for months, waiting on something, usually money-related.

On each Sunday night this winter, I’m facing a week of these kinds of calls:
• “I’m being evicted, and I have no place to go.”
• “I’ve worked as a sub for this general contractor for 10 years. The last draw on the last job wasn’t paid. How can I collect? The general is my friend and promises me more work.”
• “Can you make a power of attorney for my aunt to sign? She’s showing signs of Alzheimers, and she promised me that she would give me her home if I’d take care of her. If we wait any longer, it might be too late.”
• My house is being foreclosed on Thursday. How long can I stay there?”
• “The bank wants my truck and my tools. If they would take my truck, I could get by, if I can keep my tools.”
• “How soon can you get a deadbeat out my rent house? He hasn’t paid the rent for six months.”
• “Do you have any openings?”

Though I’m fortunate to be receiving these calls instead of making them, it’s hard to look forward to Monday.

My heart goes out to those who are going to make those calls. I wish I could help.

Defunct HOAs: what to do?


Outside of incorporated cities in the Ozarks, the homeowner association (HOA) is often the government for homes in subdivisions and condominiums. The clean water rules enforced by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources include HOAs as eligible “continuing authorities” to own and operate drinking water or sewer facilities, or both, in subdivisions not served by public utility companies regulated by the Public Service Commission or by governmental providers. In addition, the HOAs often have the responsibility of maintaining subdivision streets unless and until the county commission adopts an ordinance to maintain the streets.

HOAs are ordinarily established by the subdivision developer, in order to obtain permits for sewer or water facilities and to create an entity for road maintenance. An HOA’s power to collect assessments from lot owners (or unit owners, in the case of condominiums) is established by the recording of subdivision covenants (usually called CCRs or a declaration). The HOA is almost always set up as a non-profit corporation, with the developer and the developer’s associates making up the initial board of directors.

Even under the best of circumstances, the developer fails to file annual reports for the HOA with the Missouri Secretary of State, and the HOA, as a corporation, is administratively dissolved. When few lots are sold, that also happens. And there are worse omissions and consequences: Read the rest of this entry

Important legal terms: “I grandmawed it! Ain’t I grandfathered?”


By Harry Styron

As the Ozarks becomes suburban, there are many clashes between the old economy and ways of life and the new, expressed in colorful language. A couple of familiar terms are sometimes used in ways that sound funny, especially used as verbs.

Grandfathering
“Grandfathering” as a legal term is not peculiar to the Ozarks and seems to mean here what it means anywhere. It is the concept by which something that has been done in the past is lawful for that reason, regardless of any new laws.

The historical origin of the term is ugly: Read the rest of this entry

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