Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Condo Board Issues: For Sale Signs

Okay, I've had one of those weeks (already) where I've had to go Buddhist to keep calm. Meditation, mantra, meditation... Understand, my week starts over the weekend and goes to the next weekend... my life is one long work week.

Anyway, an interesting and annoying issue came up. When listing a condo in a 37 unit building this season, I put up a for sale sign on a fence in front of the building. The rules and by-laws of the condo association state an owner may put up one sign of reasonable size etc, etc... This is very typical in Chicago. As the season went on, and my unit dragged in this market, several other signs were placed on the fence as well. This happends from time to time as well in Chicago.

Later, I received an email, then a phone call, from another real estate agent selling a unit in the building. She suggested we all take down the signs and put up a "multi property flyer" for people to take. I told her to take a hike (in so many words). What is this... a Realtor voluntarily taking down a for-sale sign? What is this world coming to? Besides, my client has not indicated I take down the sign... and I'd be crazy to do it anyway.

So, time went on. Suddenly, there was a notice this Sunday taped to the front door of the property. The property manager indicated that it was decided at an association meeting the signs looked tacky (okay, I'm offended already) and all must be taken down to be fair...FAIR? Is this kindergarten? However, my clients were not notified directly and I was the only one to leave my sign up.

So, I arrive this evening at the condo to do a showing... some unscrupulous character took my sign down. I have no idea where it is. Notice no exclamation marks in this statement... I'm taking very deep breaths to stay calm.

Here is the issue at hand; was the rule changed properly? Can the board vote to change this rule about sales signs? And if so, did they follow proper procedure? Is the rule part of the by-laws? If so, it would take a significant owner vote to change and amend the by-laws.

And who stole my sign? It's private property and my clients had the right to put it up. Of course, I've called the building management and hope to get an answer... but I have to whine a little here.

Clients! "Read your rules and by-laws". This is a direct order from your Realtor. When buying a condo you need to read certain areas of the condo rules and by-laws and make sure they are compatible with your lifestyle. Dog owner? Want to lease the place in two years? Are the decks and balconies common areas or totally your responsibility?

This is not meant to scare you and most subjects are clear and simple. However, these rules can come in handy... and you should know where to look and how to interpret them. I'll help with that during the transaction process and after if needed.

But for now, this remains an open issue. My clients need an answer if the rule was changed properly. I mean, others were able to leave their signs up for past sales. What about the future, when one of these board members is selling their place? Will they get to put a sign up?
And where the hell is my sign?!

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