HOAs, or homeowners associations, manage the upkeep of a neighborhood or condominium’s shared areas, such as lawn care, trash collection, snow removal, and other duties. Homeowners who purchase property with an HOA automatically become members of the HOA and must pay dues, known as HOA fees.
During the closing process, title & escrow agents must collect HOA documentation and fees to prove that the seller is in good standing with the HOA and inform the buyer of any rules and restrictions of the community they’re joining. Collecting this information can be extremely difficult for title & escrow agents who have a lot of other duties during the closing process. In addition to being time-consuming and requiring lots of follow-ups, if the wrong documents or fees are collected, these errors could lead to a closing delay.
How HOAs can impact closings
Issues with HOAs, such as late or incorrect documents and information, can delay closings, add additional stress to the closing process, and lead to unhappy clients. We recently connected with Vishrut Malhotra, CEO and Co-Founder of InspectHOA, to learn about top challenges facing title & escrow companies when working with HOAs and how they can improve this process. Malhotra explained that the top two challenges often come down to speed and client experience.
According to Malhotra, the average HOA takes 10 business days to deliver the information needed to complete a closing, such as confirmation that the seller has paid their HOA dues. Once that information is delivered to the title & escrow company, any errors or additional back and forth can further extend this process. Another challenge is that there is no standard way of collecting information for HOAs. HOAs vary greatly from state to state, making it difficult to keep track of the rules and regulations for each state. This means that agents with less experience with HOAs may find it difficult to quickly and accurately collect the information they need.
Title & escrow companies may need to dedicate entire teams to managing the HOA component of closings. Between chasing down documents and calling HOAs multiple times for information and status updates, manually managing HOAs can take precious time away from agents. During periods of high volume or when growing quickly, title & escrow companies may need to hire additional employees to keep up with volume. These challenges can make collecting accurate and timely HOA documentation time-consuming and unpredictable for agents.
Managing HOAs during the closing process can take valuable time away from the client experience side of closings. Malhotra explained that “the average title agent is pulled in so many different directions during the closing. They’re trying to make this deal happen and there are 50 moving pieces that must come together on the closing day.” Adding HOAs into this process may mean that agents have to sacrifice client experience in order to complete a transaction on time.
In addition to taking away from client communication, collecting HOA fees and information can increase confusion during the closing process—especially if agents are less familiar with HOA requirements. Malhotra explained that collecting HOA fees may mean that agents need to charge a buyer multiple times for different fees. These unexpected fees may lead to confusion and frustration on the buyer’s end, which can negatively impact the closing experience. By working with experienced vendors and automating certain processes, title & escrow companies can create significant time savings, reduce error, and ultimately improve client experience.
Improving HOA document and information collection
No one wants to hunt for documents and information throughout their day-to-day. Centralizing HOA management can help title & escrow companies expand geographically and manage closings across multiple states. Additionally, tapping into vendors with regional expertise can help title & escrow companies scale their operations and grow quickly into new areas. For example, Qualia Marketplace users can identify high-quality vendors with experience in HOAs from specific states or regions, order HOA documents, and communicate with vendors—all without leaving Marketplace.
Centralizing HOA management simplifies tasks for agents to save time and reduce errors. It also allows agents to easily see the big picture on the status of certain documents and if any documents or payments are missing. For example, Qualia Marketplace users can order and manage HOA documentation directly in Qualia to improve the process of working with HOAs. Marketplace users can order the following products.
- HOA Estoppel Certificate
- HOA Document Acquisition (including the Resale Certificate, Bylaws, CC&Rs, Financials, and more)
- HOA Document Acquisition & Comprehensive Review
- HOA Insurance Info
- HOA Document Summarization
Marketplace users can set up automatic ordering for HOA documents and services to simplify the ordering process even further. With this feature, HOA documents can be ordered automatically, as soon as title agents open a file. Taking advantage of automations, such as automatic ordering, can play a significant role in creating efficiency gains. In a recent Qualia Marketplace user survey, respondents reported that they reduced turnaround times by an average of 4 days per closing with Marketplace.
In Qualia Marketplace, title & escrow companies can consolidate client and vendor communication, HOA documentation, and vendor data into one place for faster and more transparent closings. For more information on how Qualia Marketplace can simplify your HOA process and prevent closing delays, schedule a demo below with a Qualia expert.