Buying and Selling in Communities with a Condo or Homeowner's Association

Buying and Selling in Communities with a Condo or Homeowner's Association

When buying a home in a condo or homeowner’s association, how do you know what rules will affect you once you move in? In Pennsylvania, sellers in these communities are required to provide you with a current resale package from the association as part of the selling process. In our area, the standard PA agreement of sale specifies that they must order the resale package—the governing documents for the community—within 15 days of execution of their agreement.

What the Resale Package Includes

The resale package includes the certificate of resale from the association, along with all associated documents, such as the community’s declarations, bylaws, budget, and rules and regulations. In the rules and regulations, you’re likely to find out whether the community has any pet restrictions, what the parking arrangements are, whether fencing is allowed, and the community’s rules on exterior modifications, among other important information.

Why Is the Certificate of Resale Important?

The certificate of resale is important because it discloses whether the sellers are current on their association fees. Sellers who have not been paying their fees may owe thousands of dollars and must pay all amounts owed prior to or at closing for the sale to proceed.

Also listed on the resale certificate are the current association fee and any capital contribution you must pay at closing as the buyer. Most association fees are paid on a monthly basis, but some are biannual or even yearly. If an association is part of a master association, this should be specified on the certificate as well.

Buyer’s Right to Terminate the Sale

According to the standard PA agreement of sale, buyers may declare the sale void until they receive the resale package and up to five days thereafter (or until closing, whichever is sooner). Buyers have the right to information about the association prior to making a final commitment on the property.

Almost all associations charge a fee to prepare the resale package, so some sellers don’t want to order it until inspections are done. It’s wise for sellers to order the package as soon as possible, however, to shorten the time buyers can terminate the sale on this basis.

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If you’re planning to buy or sell a home, contact Annette Nelson at (610) 247-7892 or

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