Barker Martin

Condo-HOA Blog

Welcoming New Owners

In a February 10, 2013 post, the Seattle Times reported on the improving real estate market for condominium sales referring to a “double digit increase in median sale prices, below normal inventory supply and hyped up sale activity.” See

That is welcome news to both owners and associations alike, but it is also a reminder that boards and associations need to take steps to smoothly assimilate those new owners.

Even if your new owner has lived in a condominium before, they need to know how your association works. Don’t assume that new owners will receive the essential basic information as part of the purchase process. A prudent purchaser will make sure they receive the declaration, bylaws, rules and monthly assessment information, but it doesn’t always happen. Far too often, purchasers never see the resale certificate because their broker forwards it to the buyer’s lender but never the actual buyer. The Association is not to blame for this breakdown in communication, but it results in uninformed owners, which benefits no one. Even when buyers receive the information, it often comes in a large package that is hard to digest and is usually ignored during the excitement of buying a new home. To offset that problem it is a good idea to give new owners a welcome package after they have moved into their unit.

A welcome package is a great way to draw a new owner’s attention to the aspects of the association that will impact the owner’s daily life. Information about quiet hours, emergency contact information, whom to call with non-emergency questions, when board meetings are scheduled and any upcoming events is useful to new owners. But other information should be included that is beneficial to the association. Politely remind them that they are obligated to comply with the governing documents, and if they lost the copies that were provided to them during the purchase process, additional copies are available. The welcome package should also include your rules and any collections and enforcement policies you have in place.

As the real estate market hopefully continues to improve, now is the time to create or revise your association’s welcome package for new owners. For the many managers and associations that already have a welcome package, now is the time to think back over the problems you have faced over the last few years and consider what revisions might help avoid those problems in the future.