Home Buying in 95138>Question Details

Gloria Zhou, Home Buyer in San Jose, CA

HOA document fee for condo

Asked by Gloria Zhou, San Jose, CA Thu Feb 21, 2013

sually how much does HOA document cost? I recently offered to buy a condo, it turned out HOA document fee $800, is it reasonable?

Help the community by answering this question:


There is a state law in CA under the Davis-Stirling Act that will not allow a HOA to charge the homeowner anything in excess of their actual costs for the documents you are requesting. However, the associations that are managed by condo management companies are charged by the management company for the expense of preparing the documents which then becomes the association's actual costs. Notice the subtle difference in the wording of what I just said? And some management companies are definitely using that loophole in the law for adding a little profit center to their fees.

If you have not paid that fee already, I would question what the fee covers. If, as some of the other responders have pointed out, the fees cover several transactional items, then perhaps it is reasonable. However, it does not appear reasonable to me as someone who sees several HOA transactions during a year in the course of business. It is a big red flag to me as an agent representing a buyer or a seller in this particular association. Either the board of directors is allowing the management company to charge the outrageous fees, meaning they are not at the top of their game or the management association is a heavy-handed management company who knows they have the upper hand in this particular association, OR BOTH. There are good associations with good business minds on the board of directors and there are bad associations where things are not run well at all. Determine what this association is prior to a purchase. Don't just sign off on the documents and decide it will all be okay. It might not be.

Barbara Stewart
Broker, DRE 01273970
(408) 406-1343 Cell
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 23, 2013
Have you already done this, or is someone holding a gun to your head to pay $800?
It would seem that this is a RED FLAG about the HOA: What more do you need?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 22, 2013
When you pay $800 for something you generally want to understand what you are getting for that money. This situation should be no different. Because you have no choice but to pay the fee is maybe the reason the HOA believes they can charge such a high fee. Work with the HOA and see if you can get a partial refund, or at least an explanation on why it costs so much.

Good luck.

Sally Blaze
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 22, 2013
Ms. Zhou:

Go to your HOA monthly board meeting and raise a stink. $800 for documents is outrageous. At $1.00 per page that would be 800 pages! It only costs $0.01 in materials plus maybe $0.10 per page in labor to make those copies. The courts only allow $15.00 per full medical record as an um-disputable fee for medical chart copying. You and your HOA are getting ripped off. Any management company that would charge that much is proving they do not have the interests of their HOA members that they are hired to serve at heart.

Good luck at kicking the butts, so to speak, of those responsible!

Mitchell Pearce
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 21, 2013
Thanks for your reply. Any suggestion on what I can do to lower the cost? Nobody disclose the cost to me until I saw the Estimated closing statement from the title company. My agent says there is not much she can do.
Flag Thu Feb 21, 2013
That is usual. Costs have risen.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 21, 2013
Their package consist of several items and often times they price them differently.

There is the HOA CC&R's, By Laws, Rules and Regulations, Minutes, Newsletters, Budgets and Projections, Insurance. Then there is the Certification for the Lender, and the Transfer Fee.

$800 may include the Transfer Fee and Certification. If not, then it does seem on the high side. They should give you a breakdown.
Web Reference: http://www.terrivellios.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 21, 2013
I don't recall seeing HOA document costs that high. For a little more info see:

HOA documentation often involves a couple hundred pages or more. I often see costs at the high end of the range the article says are normal ($75 - $250) charged to my sellers when the documents are obtained to post online.

If the $800 fee is charged to you as the new owner, there may be other fees than just providing document copies.

San Jose real estate information at http://julianalee.com/san-jose/san-jose-statistics.htm

Juliana Lee

Top 2 agent nationwide at Keller Williams Realty
Over 30 years experience
Over 1,000 home sales completed in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties
Web Reference: http://julianalee.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 24, 2013
That's way too high. Could it be that # also included some delinquencies of the past owner owed to the HOA?

Take the time to learn about a few Realtors and interview a couple. Hire the best. Why not?

resume http://stucarson.com/AboutTheTeam

references http://stucarson.com/testimonials

Then call me so we can discuss how to achieve your specific objectives.

Stu Carson
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 23, 2013
Thank you, Gloria:

As Terri and Angela have pointed out, the amount that the homeowner management companies charge for HOA documents has risen dramatically.

I agree that $800 does not sound reasonable. It appears to me that some of the homeowner management companies see the sale of copies of the HOA documents as a new profit center.

\As Terri Velios pointed out, they should give you a breakdown and they should give you their justification for the fee that they are charging.

Thank you,
Charles Butterfield MBA
Real Estate Broker/REALTOR
American Realty
Cell Phone: (408)509-6218
Fax: (408)269-3597
Email Address: charlesbutterfieldbkr@yahoo.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 21, 2013
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