Warped boards? Condo associations require scrutiny

Friday, August 11, 2017, Vol. 41, No. 32

When purchasing a condo, the principle of caveat emptor – “let the buyer beware” – should be executed to the fullest and not solely for the construction of the unit or even the financial condition of the homeowner association, although both should be weighed heavily.

The personality and composition of personalities that govern the association should be researched. Just as voter apathy has reached epidemic proportions in general elections, many homeowner associations of the various condominium developments in Nashville are experiencing similar results as residents fail to exercise their right to vote in elections for positions on the governing boards.

As a result, many who run for these positions have their own agendas and are empowered by the bylaws and covenants of the developments to make monumental decisions regarding the entire developments.

With a vote that consumes only a few moments and often without debate, a president can allocate hundreds of thousands of dollars to a project while many – perhaps most – of those residents tending to their day-to-day affairs are unaware. Only when the $10,000 per unit assessments hit are they aware a meeting was held and they must bear the consequences.

Conversely, there are associations in which the residents are active and adamant. During one spirited debate in a Green Hills-area association many years ago, the president dropped to the floor, a victim of a heart attack. While awaiting the ambulance, the debate continued. Once the president was removed from the room, the vote ensued.

All homeowner associations are required to keep records of the minutes of their meetings. Those should be scrutinized by anyone considering purchasing a unit within a development.

Many are well run with caring, informed members serving in a democratic fashion, while others are more fascist and quick to squelch dissention.

When perusing the financial statements, the “cash on hand” and “cash in reserve” entries are of utmost importance, as they speak to the management and leadership of the past board members.

A 15-year-old condo with no cash in the bank is a portent of impending assessments, especially if preventative maintenance has not been performed.

Another factor often overlooked is the policy that insures the development.

River Plantation is an enormous development in Bellevue with a population of more than 1,000 residents. Its size forces it to be divided into various sections, each with its own governing body.

Following the Great Flood of 2010, many residents learned that their particular section did not have flood insurance while some of their neighbors did. It would take a 500-year flood to expose the oversight, and the chances of that happening were very slim. But it happened.

Those who reside in condos or any development governed by its residents should get involved and stay informed. While they are at it, registering to vote in general elections would be a good thing, as well, given that Nashville has one of the lowest registration and voter turnout rates in the country.

Sale of the Week

Local Realtor Brittney Bexton with Coldwell Banker Barnes recently represented the buyer of a home located at 2225 Burns Street, new construction in East Nashville. The house was co-listed by Fletch Fletcher of Crye-Leike and Patrick Webb of Reliant ERA Powered.

Someday, Fletcher and Webb will be able to sell Brittney’s autograph for big bucks at Brittney Bexton conferences and festivals around the country, just as autograph hawkers sell the cancelled checks of Lennon and McCartney. Bexton is a star on the rise, having penned a number of songs and the videos to go along with them.

After six years of rigorous touring – up to 100 shows in a year – she has diverted some of her passion to real estate and markets her open houses through “in the round” performances that draw well.

She joins the ranks of other brilliant vocalist/Realtors such as the renowned Etta Britt, Mary Martin and Beth Hooker, all of whom can pack houses and sell houses as well.

Her current recording project, “Believe Again,” is a song that deals with domestic abuse and will be released to Christian radio later this year.

She believed enough in the home on Burns street to help the buyer get it for $330,000.

With four bedrooms, two full baths and one half bath within its 1,709-square-foot frame, the home also has all new appliances and interior decor.

Keep an eye out for the Brittney Bexton Show appearing at open houses throughout Nashville.

Richard Courtney is a real estate broker with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney and Associates and can be reached at richard@richardcourtney.com.