Dennis & Sunshine Smith
HOA Copying and Transfer Fees
What you need to know when selling a home
The California Civil Code 1368(b)clearly states the document copy fee "shall not exceed reasonable costs of preparing and reproducing the requested documents." Unfortunately, many management companies and associations using these fees as another profit center. It is hard for me to believe that it can cost $150 dollars to change one's records, but some are charging it. It could be they don't the law or are just simply ignoring it because most sellers never question the fees.
So if you are selling a condo, or a home that has an association then you should question those copying and transfer fees. The problem is most of the time they are billed to the escrow company and it is not the job of the escrow company to question the amounts. So what should you do? Tell the escrow that you want to question all the charges, better yet put it in writing that you want to review all charges before the escrow closes.
Once you have the charges call the management company and/or the association and question the amounts. Don't let them just tell you that is what they charge. Ask them if a judge would think that cost to be reasonable. While $100 fee may be reasonable if they are copying hundreds of pages of CC&R's, a $50 fee may be unreasonable if they are copying only a few pages. Don't forget that transfer fee. Ask them what they have to do to change their records. Most of the time it is as simple as changing a name and address. That can hardly cost $100 to $150 dollars.
Most of the time I have found that if you question the fees they go down, especially if you quote them the law.
Oh, by the way, if you know of, or talk to, a friend or relative who is considering buying or selling Real Estate, please let me know so I can offer them the same valuable service I give to you.
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