What is an ESTOPPEL LETTER?

By
Real Estate Agent with PEMCO Realty
http://actvra.in/Lh6

 

What is an ESTOPPEL LETTER?

When considering to purchase a home an estoppel letter is of great importance to you.

Estoppel letters are directly from HOA/Condo Associations and is an official certificate that states the amount that the current homeowner pays each month for maintenance fees. An Estoppel letter will also show if there are assessments or fees that are outstanding.

Maintenance fees usually covers any repairs outside of the building such as painting, roof, building insurance, amenities, and lawncare. Assessments come into play if there are repairs to make, and there isn't sufficient funds to cover such repairs. The Association in turn equally divides the total amount needed between the current homeowners in order for the repairs to be completed.

Condo BuildingBalcony

In regard to financing; a lender uses an estoppel letter to see how much the current owner owes the Association, and if the Seller attempted to make any unauthorized remodelling changes to the unit. If so; the estoppel letter will reflect that as well.

This information pertains to current homeowners that are refinancing, and to future homeowners that may be interested in buying a home where there is an Association presence.

Estoppel letters are essential because they reveal exactly what is going on, and what has transpired in the past with a particular home. It is vital to have any outstanding fees paid by the Seller before or at closing. This prevents the Association from claiming that monies are owed on the unit after closing. Outstanding fees can transfer with the home, and the Buyer being the new owner can be held responsible by the Association. 

Each State has its own laws related to Homeowner Associations. In Florida; an estoppel letter must be given to the Buyer no more than 15 days after it was requested.

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Rainer
291,065
Lori Gardiner
RE/MAX River's Edge - Barrington, RI
GRI, SRS, ABR, e-PRO

Yes....great info.  Thanks for sharing. 

Have a great weekend!

Jul 09, 2011 11:38 AM #1
Rainer
12,011
Janet Robinson
Keller Williams Realty Augusta Partners - Augusta, GA
Augusta, Ft. Gordon, Evans, Grovetown, Waynesboro

Thanks for letting us know how estoppel letters work with HOA associations!

Jul 09, 2011 11:41 AM #2
Rainmaker
166,722
Bruce Parker
RE/MAX Best - Highland Park, NJ

an estoppel letter can also be the statement from the lender about how much is owed on a mortgage about to be assumed.  Enjoy your weekend!

Jul 09, 2011 11:51 AM #3
Rainmaker
66,564
Adell Forbes (Realtor)
PEMCO Realty - Atlanta, GA
"Knowledge & Experience Working for You"

Lori & Janet- "you're most welcome!"

Mr Remax- Abosulutely! There are multiple benefits of ordering an estoppel letter.

Aug 01, 2011 07:48 PM #4
Rainmaker
331,025
Wandanna Melliphant
Mississauga, ON
A Name Real Estate Investors Trust and Recommend

Hi Adell,
Well done blog!
A lot of first time buyers aren't aware of the importance of an estoppel letter.
Good job, breaking down and explaining the importance.
Happy blogging!

Oct 15, 2011 11:02 PM #5
Anonymous
Janice Hill

 

Lately some title companies are closing with outdated/ expired estoppel letters or without an estoppel letter on bank owned homes.  

Normal sales & Short Sales, The HOA can collect all amounts due.  If the home has been in foreclosure for years the balance due can be substantial. Foreclosed or Bank Owned Homes, In Florida the HOA can collect only the amount due in the last 12 months before the summary judgment.  The HOA has to write off any amount over 12 months old. The amount that has to be written off is passed on to all homeowners as an assessment.

In both cases the required research to determine the amount due the association in each individual case can be time consuming.  The property and property records have to be inspected for violations.  Buyers need to be aware that Estoppel letters have a “good till” date and something changes after that date which makes the old estoppel inaccurate.  Most HOAs or Property Managers charge for a letter of Estoppel. Some companies because they don’t want to pay for a current estoppel will close with an outdated estoppel, while others close without one at all. The catch is that the new owner (in most cases) ends up paying all of the past due amounts and/or correcting violations on the property.  Nothing knocks the glow off that new home like a violation letter or a 20 day demand letter from the HOA as your moving in.

 

Nov 29, 2011 03:35 AM #6
Anonymous
Jacob David

That is all well and good. Who pays for the Estoppel Letter - Buyer or Seller?

 

Apr 28, 2012 08:36 AM #7
Anonymous
Janice Hill

The title company requests the Estoppel and it used to be part of the seller's closing costs, which is why some closed with expired estoppels.  Lately I have seen some cases where the buyer is paying for it, so check your contract.

Apr 30, 2012 10:21 AM #8
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Rainmaker
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Adell Forbes (Realtor)

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