The HOA Database can be of significant help to a broad range of real estate professionals in their search for accurate information about which, if any, homeowners' associations (HOA) and condominium associations (COA) affect properties they are working with.
For information about how the HOA Database works and how it can assist you in determining the correct associations affecting the property you are working with, click here
Here are a few examples of the types of real estate professionals who can benefit from using the HOA Database:
– As part of a comprehensive title examination, it is essential to determine if any HOA or COA applies to the property being examined, and if there are any associations, which specific associations apply. Since there are thousands of active associations in the State of Florida, a simple search of the Florida Secretary of State, Division of Corporations site will be insufficient. There are many associations with similar names. So, it is critical to determine the correct association that applies to the specific property being searched.
Foreclosure Attorneys and Law Firms
– As part of the mortgage foreclosure process in Florida, attorneys are charged with the responsibility of determining which associations apply to the parcel of property being foreclosed. This is critical so that the foreclosing lender can take advantage of the safe-harbor provisions of the Florida statutes regarding assessment obligations. If a law firm fails to properly join an association that affects the property, that law firm may have financial liability to the mortgage servicer and/or mortgage investor for any assessments over and above the safe harbor amounts. As part of the foreclosure process, all associations affecting the subject property must be joined as defendants in the foreclosure action. All too often, an applicable association is missed or an incorrect association is joined in the action. This wastes tremendous amounts of time, energy and money for the foreclosure law firm staff.
Title Insurance Companies/Title Attorneys/Title Agents
– As part of providing settlement services, a title company/agent is required to obtain proper estoppel information from all associations that affect the property involved in the transaction. So, it is important to make certain that all associations have been properly identified and that there is information on where to reach out to obtain the desired information, whether that be from the association itself or from its management company. This is particularly true in real-estate owned (REO) transactions. Since the mortgage servicers and investors have no independent knowledge about which associations affect the property, they look to the title company/agent to make this determination. If an association is missed, and an outstanding obligation to an association is not included in the closing transaction, the title company/agent is open to potential liability for all unpaid assessments. Additionally, all too often, incorrect information is provided to the processors and closers about which associations affect the property. This wastes staff time, energy and money, since in many cases, associations require payment in advance for a response to an estoppel request.
Title Insurance Underwriters
– As time goes by, more and more title insurance companies/agents are looking to the title insurance underwriters to provide the title information these companies rely upon to process their title and settlement processes. That being the case, it is becoming more important that the title information, often in the form of a pro-forma commitment, be as comprehensive as possible. Over time, this will also include the requirement for comprehensive information regarding which associations, if any, affect the specific property in question. Since title companies will be relying upon the information being supplied by title insurance underwriters, they will look to the title insurance underwriter to be responsible for any potential financial obligation for missed associations.
Real Estate Investors
– Many real estate investors look to purchase distressed properties, either directly from property owners, or at foreclosure sales and real estate auctions. As part of investors’ due diligence prior to submitting offers or bids, real estate investors need to investigate to make sure that all associations are identified and that a proper determination is made of all outstanding obligations to those associations. A missed association with a large outstanding assessment balance can make the difference between a profitable investment and an investment disaster.
Property Management Companies
– Companies that specialize in managing property for investors, particularly in the REO arena, need to have correct information regarding which associations affect the properties they are managing. This way, these management companies can make sure that they are properly handling all obligations affecting the property. In many cases, the investors for whom they manage properties have no first-hand knowledge regarding which associations affect the property being managed.
Lien Search Companies
– Often a foreclosure law firm or a title company/agent will retain the services of a lien search company to obtain the association estoppels for them. As part of that process, it is often the responsibility of the lien search company to determine which associations, if any, apply to the properties in their lien search orders. Use of the HOA Database can assist lien search companies in properly identifying the appropriate associations to whom estoppel requests can be made efficiently.
Real Estate Agents/Realtors®
– Since in many cases real estate agents draft contracts, it is important that all associations be identified in the contract. Additionally, in REO transactions, real estate agents are asked by the mortgage servicers and investors to provide appropriate association information to title companies and settlement agents. Use of the HOA Database can be of tremendous value to real estate agents in this regard.
Homeowners' Associations/Condominium Associations
– Since there are so many associations in Florida with similar names, all too often foreclosure attorneys join an incorrect association in a foreclosure action, or a title company/agent will submit an estoppel request to an incorrect association. So, associations have a vested interest in making sure that all interested parties have correct information on when their association applies to a particular transaction. Additionally, associations can save time and energy if inquiring parties are aware of the appropriate contact information to obtain estoppels, whether it be the associations themselves or their management companies. So, by assisting us in making sure our HOA Database has accurate information about their association and by referring others to the HOA Database, these associations will help make the estoppel and/or foreclosure process more efficient.
Mortgage Brokers/Mortgage Lenders – In many cases, mortgage brokers and mortgage lenders will want to make independent determinations of what association obligations apply to a specific property upon which a mortgage loan is being made. So, the determination of which associations apply and appropriate contact information is important to them. This would apply to all levels of personnel in mortgage companies, from loan originators, mortgage brokers, mortgage processors, mortgage underwriters, mortgage closers, and post-closing audit and quality control personnel.
– Mortgage servicers have a significant number of their loans that are either delinquent or in default. When this occurs, mortgage servicers often have the need to determine if there are any assessment payment delinquencies. Use of the HOA Database can be of tremendous assistance to personnel in these companies in properly identifying which associations apply to their property and appropriate contact information to reach out to them.