Are HOA Management Companies Simply About The Money?

Greedy Business PersonI’ve been working with a seller for several months. She is battling Stage IV cancer and has moved to another city for treatment.  We listed her local home and quickly had a contract on it.

As part of the sales process, an HOA Resale Certificate had to be ordered from the HOA via the management company hired by the HOA to manage their day-to-day operations. Their “processing fee” for producing this document was $325.

This sale took a turn for the worse when the lender denied the buyer’s mortgage. This was not the lender’s fault but rather the fault of the buyer who refused to cooperate and provide documents required by the lender. Either way, we had to go back on the market.

We got the property under contract again and the sale is set for February 8th.

Yesterday I receive notice that the management company is turning my seller’s account over to collections on February 1st for non-payment of the processing fee.

I emailed the management company explaining the situation and received a curt response with the text of their agreement. Basically, the fee is due within 30 days of the sale or within 90 days of the request.

I understand the fine print but the seller is not in the area and battling cancer so I sent them back a note asking for an exception to their policy and letting them know that I would personally be responsible for the payment if the sale did not close on February 8th and the seller did not pay them.

This time a member of management responded with another curt response

“This notice was sent as a courtesy since it has been over 90 days, it has been almost 120 days we can only hold the order until February 1st after this day the account is no longer with us and it will be handled by NECS, the collection agency. As stated on our agreement on line, the requesting party is responsible to ensure payment is received within 90 days even is contract is terminated.”

I went ahead and paid the processing fee for my seller. I simply cannot allow this to go to collection and have an impact on a closing set for next week. The seller is under enough stress and does not need this over $325.

Legally the management company is within their rights to enforce the terms for receipt of their processing fee. Ethically, I find it hard to believe that the HOA and their management company would not be willing to work with a homeowner who pays her dues and is fighting for her life.

Are HOA Management Companies Simply About The Money?

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR

Photo Licensed from iStockPhoto

Lorraine Branch 1930-2012

Lorraine BranchJune 16, 2012 will go down as the worst day of my life. It’s the day I lost my mother.

Lorraine Branch was a remarkable woman who deeply enjoyed her journey through life.

That journey began in May of 1930 in Queens, New York as the daughter of Thomas and Cecilia LeMaitre. She never lost her New York accent nor that famous New York attitude–it was still there in the final hours of her life.

When the nurse removed her from life support, they confided in us that she only had 10 to 15 minutes. I think she over heard him and said, “Really? Watch this!” She remained with us for another two hours passing away at 3:55 PM.

After raising three children and travelling around the states and the world as a military spouse, she moved to Ocala, Florida in 1984 and worked for Marion County as a licensing clerk until she retired. Even after retiring, she volunteered in the community working in the hospitals and performing as part of the Golden Troupers.

She was infused with life and freely shared that spirit with the people around her. She had a way about her, always helping people to see things more clearly. I will personally miss her wisdom.

Most people slow down in retirement but my mother would have nothing to do with slowing down.  I would often call her and hear stories that sounded like they should have been on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” with some 40-something rather than a great-grandmother globe-trotting around the world.

As always, she journeyed the world with Parker, her husband of 56 years, at her side. Germany, France, Spain, Italy Australia, New Zealand, Alaska, the Caribbean, Greece, Turkey…the list goes on and on.  She walked on the Great Wall of China, visited the Great Barrier Reef, and lived life to its fullest.

The journey continued up until a couple of weeks ago when she flew out to Kansas City, Missouri to attend her grand-daughter’s high school graduation.

While the public records will show that her journey ended on June 16th, she believed that death was the beginning of another journey.

Lorraine Branch was a remarkable woman. Let us not mourn her death. Let’s celebrate her life and wish her Godspeed on her new journey. Rest in peace, I love you and will miss you.

Photo Copyright 2012 Patrick Branch

Tied of Chasing Your iPad or iPhone Cable?

Cable ClipI’d like to be able to take credit for this one but I was out showing homes the other day and noticed that the owner had kept their cables from falling behind the desk with a simple binder clip.

The clip is attached to the overhang on the desk and the cable is run through the wire handles. When the wire is removed from the iPad or iPhone it usually slides back to the clip making it easy to find and reconnect later.

Photo Copyright 2012 – Tom Branch

Memorial Day 2012 – Some Gave All

Some Gave All

Click for Larger Image

“We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we will always be free.”

– Ronald Reagan


Photo: Copyright 2011 – Tom Branch

Memorial Day 2012 – A Time to Remember

Memorial Day 2012As a retired military combat veteran, Memorial Day holds a very special meaning for me. It’s a time to reflect back and honor those who not only served, but made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation and her people.

Many people have tried to capture the essence of it. Few accomplished it.  Billy Ray Cyrus’ song titled, “Some Gave All” is one of them:

All gave some and some gave all
And some stood through for the red, white and blue
And some had to fall
And if you ever think of me
Think of all your liberties and recall
Some gave all

What non-veterans cannot comprehend is the guilt felt by many of those who make it home. Jamey Garner’s song titled, “That’s What Soldiers Do” showed remarkable insight :

Those emotional wounds run deep and those veterans returning home need our support more than ever.

Freedom is not free. We enjoy our liberties because brave men and women have always been willing to put everything on the line in order to insure them.

If you love America and our way of life, thank a veteran. Their blood has been shed preserving the liberty that we enjoy and many take for granted.

Photo licensed from iStockPhoto

Just Do It! It Might Save Your Life

Turning 50 was no big event for me. Gina organized a big birthday party to celebrate the milestone. I felt like I was still 35.

I went in for my annual physical that year. Along with all the usual tests, my doctor ordered a colonoscopy. Call me naive but I had to go look that one up. All I knew was it involved my colon and a camera! After reading about the process, I put it off and put it off some more. It took over two years for me to get the test scheduled.

All the horror stories are completely wrong. The preparation day was the worst part for me. Without going into all the details, you have to take some time off to be near a bathroom. Since I have a home office, it was not that big of a deal.

The day of the test was a walk in the park. Go into the hospital at 7:45, get into a “fashion gown” (I had visions of Jack Nicholson in Something’s Got To Give), start an IV, and try to relax. At 9:15, they rolled me into a small room. The anesthesiologist injects something into my IV and I went down for the count.

I woke up about 30 minutes later in the recovery room. The good news is that they removed two small polyps that will be sent off for testing and I don’t need to do another one for 5 years.

The test was painless and only took a few hours of my time. I left the hospital at 10:15 and was back in my office answering voicemails by 10:30.

Waiting those 2-plus years could have been a huge mistake! I got lucky. Cancer is not a fun thing to go through and it’s always best to catch it early. Don’t put it off… Just do it!

Photo licensed from iStockPhoto

Some Gave All

Some Gave All

Click for Larger Image

“We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we will always be free.”

– Ronald Reagan


Photo: Copyright 2011 – Tom Branch