You purchase a property at the Trustee sale, find a buyer, open escrow and wait for your estimated Settlement Statement from your Escrow Officer. How many times were you in shock after reviewing over the settlement statement and seeing all the Home Owner Association (HOA) fees? Sometimes there are one or possibly two transfer fees, disclosure fees, demand fees, cancellation fees, community enhancement fees, reserve contribution fees, and the list goes on. Well, there are things you can do to monitor what you are being charged is correct.
Start by having your Escrow Officer or the HOA’s Management Company provide you with an account ledger showing the current balance on the account. This will show you two things, the first being when they started charging dues to your account. They should only be charging you from the date of the Trustee Sale. Anything before that should be removed off of your balance as it is not your responsibility. You or your Escrow Officer will need to provide them with a copy of the Trustee’s Deed in order for them to properly charge your account. The second thing the account ledger will show is if they have included any disclosure or transfer fees in this balance.
With that said once you have a copy of your account ledger review over the complete copy of the demand provided to your Escrow Officer. HOA’s may charge you a transfer fee per transfer meaning one for the Trustee Sale and one for the transfer from you to your buyer. There are some fees such as the disclosure fee that you can negotiate not being charged twice. Refer to the Arizona State Legislature A.R.S. § 33-1806, which states, “The association may charge the member a reasonable fee to compensate the association for the costs incurred in the preparation of a statement… excludes a trustee of a deed of trust who is selling the property in a trustee’s sale.” This means the HOA should only charge you a disclosure fee for the transfer from you to your buyer, as the Trustee transfer should be excluded from it.
In each transaction there are steps you can take to possibly save some money and avoid being overcharged. Review over all HOA documents provided to Escrow. If you find a discrepancy with anything be sure to contact the Management Company for the HOA to inquire before the close of escrow.