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Old 06-03-2014, 04:40 PM
 
6 posts, read 26,356 times
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Hi everyone, I have 2 questions about home buying in the Las Colinas area of Irving:

1) I am buying a foreclosure in an area of Irving over which the Las Colinas HOA has jurisdiction. I have a 7 day option period, which I cannot extend. How do I find out what HOA code violations are against the house in that time period?

The problem I am running into is that the HOA will not speak to anyone but the legal owner, which is the bank. The bank is silent on the matter, as they are selling it "as is". I am told that once the title company tries to draft its preliminary report on the property, they will request a resale certificate from the HOA, prompting the HOA to do a new inspection and provide details about what they will force the new owner (me) to do. That whole process is likely to take more than 10 days. Ergo, my option period will have expired before it is possible to know anything. I feel like it should be my right to have access to this information before committing my earnest money?

If I thought code violations were an insignificant amount of money, I would take the risk. It is a cool house at a good price. That said, the property could need over $50,000 to make it code compliant. I just don't know - the by laws are so vague...

2) Does anyone know anything about the enforcement of retaining wall rules for the Las Colinas HOA? The by laws just say that walls have to be in good shape. Well? What does that mean?

This is the reason I fear a $50k expenditure to be code compliant. The home's driveway is carved into the earth (garage is underneath house), and flanking the sides of the driveway are 10-foot high retaining walls made out of railroad ties. The ties are not staggered, as are some, but rather are stacked straight. Large, square, concrete pillars stand in front of the timbers at each of the vertical joints. Everything appears to be in good enough shape to last another decade, but the wall leans just a tiny bit in a few spots, and 2 of the timbers are rotting.

Talking with neighbors is how I was tipped off to the potential issue. If the HOA makes me tear it down and start over the moment I buy the house (can they even do that?), this makes or breaks the deal. Naturally that is info I need to know. Anyone have any recommendations or experience in this matter?

Thanks,
Chris
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Old 06-03-2014, 05:00 PM
 
31,722 posts, read 49,222,313 times
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if your timbers are rotting, the wall is not in "good enough shape"
Las Colinas area has history of foundation faults--since those walls are there to reinforce the garage and house foundation I think it is pretty significant piece of construction

In fact I am surprised that the Irving building code allowed something like that vs a solid retaining wall to be used...

Have you tried to check online for the HOA deed restrictions/covenants--or to see if there is lien against the prior owner for being in violations of stuff like non-maintenance of yard or any infringements?
Lien would be filed with county clerk I think
the state passed law couple of years ago that required ALL HOA to file current covenants/building requirements with the county clerk so they could be added to any deeds on homes purchased after law passed....I think ours are available on line but we have them on a neighborhood web site --not because the HOA wanted them there though--but bcause the state requires access for all HOA members...

too many people were buying homes and not getting accurate HOA requirements then getting hit with being "out of compliance"...
the rules are supposed to be viewable prior to buying I believe as part of state law...

contact the county clerk or the Irving planning and zoning office and see if you can get clarification...

Last edited by loves2read; 06-03-2014 at 05:13 PM..
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Old 06-03-2014, 08:39 PM
Status: "The 2nd most Interesting Man" (set 10 days ago)
 
Location: DFW - Coppell / Las Colinas
35,471 posts, read 38,875,114 times
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Apparently you don't have a competent RE Agent who can tell you about the outs you have when you receive the HOA documents or the difference between being out of compliance and being in violation.

Your agent should be able to explain all of this to you.
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Old 06-03-2014, 08:56 PM
 
31,722 posts, read 49,222,313 times
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how would a competent RE agent keep him from losing his earnest money if he walks away?

the house is foreclosure with shorter inspection time and sold "as is"
they aren't going to accept a contract that put the ball in the buyer's court
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:37 PM
 
Location: Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
4,153 posts, read 13,739,315 times
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There are several "out" scenarios with a foreclosure in an as-is status especially if he is doing a mortgage. I agree with Rakin.

Naima
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Old 06-04-2014, 07:23 AM
 
1,261 posts, read 2,154,860 times
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Agree w/ Rakin and Naima - a *good* RE agent would have told you how to write an offer so that you had a legitimate "out" should anything suspect like this turn up. (Whether the owner/bank would have accepted a contract like this is another story, but still ...).

If you really want the house, you could try to get a copy of the HOA covenants from the neighbor who tipped you off, read them and then decide if it's worth it.

If you want advice: I would say, run -- don't walk! -- away. Unless you have the stomach to try and hire an RE attorney to fight the HOA (should things escalate).

And might I add that the time of picking up a a "good deal" on a house via foreclosure is pretty much over. These days, an owner in financial distress can either sell quickly or rent a property out. They walk away from a mortgage only if the home is a black pit of expensive structural/repair issues.
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Old 06-18-2014, 08:27 AM
 
6 posts, read 26,356 times
Reputation: 17
Thank you, all, for the responses. An update: I was able to extend the option period with an amendment to the contract. In that time, I have obtained a copy of the HOA covenants in their entirety, and they do state that all retaining walls must be made out of masonry. They also state the HOA's method of enforcement: they have the legal right to make the repair on my behalf and send me the bill. If I don't pay it, they can put a lien on my house.

My confusion lies in the fact that the wall still exists, so clearly they have not enforced anything up to this point. A couple of RE attorneys I spoke with said this could be researched, and I might have a case if I spent a lot of money, but essentially, the rules are stated clearly and enforceable should they ever decide to do so. I would be making a $50,000 bet (not including legal fees), none of which I can afford to loose.

So... I am amending my offer price to the bank and including documentation: photos of the retaining wall, a copy of the HOA covenants that require the wall to be rebuilt, and 3 quotes from retaining wall contractors. And we'll see if they drop the price enough such that I can get this issue addressed in my initial remodel. I suspect they won't, and if that's how things play out, I have no choice but to walk away.
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Old 06-18-2014, 08:37 AM
 
177 posts, read 257,592 times
Reputation: 225
So what is the existing retaining wall made of at the moment?
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Old 06-18-2014, 12:05 PM
 
Location: Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
4,153 posts, read 13,739,315 times
Reputation: 2576
I'm surprised that the bank hasn't received any notices from the HOA to repair the wall if it's in that bad shape. May be the HOA should repair it because of lack of response and send the bill to the bank. They would have no choice but to pay for it or it would create a cloud on the title. The other scenario is a gamble is that they would pay for it but then raise the sales price.

Naima
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Old 06-21-2014, 07:52 AM
 
2,870 posts, read 3,505,660 times
Reputation: 3112
Quote:
Originally Posted by hguy00 View Post
Thank you, all, for the responses. An update: I was able to extend the option period with an amendment to the contract. In that time, I have obtained a copy of the HOA covenants in their entirety, and they do state that all retaining walls must be made out of masonry. They also state the HOA's method of enforcement: they have the legal right to make the repair on my behalf and send me the bill. If I don't pay it, they can put a lien on my house.

My confusion lies in the fact that the wall still exists, so clearly they have not enforced anything up to this point. A couple of RE attorneys I spoke with said this could be researched, and I might have a case if I spent a lot of money, but essentially, the rules are stated clearly and enforceable should they ever decide to do so. I would be making a $50,000 bet (not including legal fees), none of which I can afford to loose.

So... I am amending my offer price to the bank and including documentation: photos of the retaining wall, a copy of the HOA covenants that require the wall to be rebuilt, and 3 quotes from retaining wall contractors. And we'll see if they drop the price enough such that I can get this issue addressed in my initial remodel. I suspect they won't, and if that's how things play out, I have no choice but to walk away.
First, there is a 4 year statute of limitations on enforcing restrictive covenants. The HOA board gets 4 years to seek enforcement, not forever.

Second, there is no requirement under the law for an "inspection" to be done and it would be a bad idea to request an inspection in conjunction with a resale certificate. The law requires the HOA to identify any claim or condition that existed as of the date of the resale certificate and to list it on the certificate. If the claim or condition existed and its not listed then the HOA waives any ability to pursue that claim or condition. Why would you pay extra money to give the HOA and its vendors an opportunity to look for problems to sue you over? There is no reason at all to seek an inspection for purposes of a resale certificate.

Finally as far as liens go, the HOA likely has a charging lien burdening the property before you ever purchase it. They don't need to "put a lien on your property" - one already exists. The house is already security for whatever debts the HOA board has racked up.
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