In the Commonwealth of Virginia (and in other states) the buyer must be allowed an opportunity to review the condo docs.  From the time the condo docs are delivered, the buyer has 3 days to cancel the contract without cause, other than to say the condo docs contained information which caused the cancellation. The buyer doesn’t have to explain why or what the problem was.

Recently a client of mine was buying a condo and when he received the documents, the condo docs said that the unit did not pass architectural review.  The problem was that the clientdocuments had made changes to his unit without first seeking permission of the association and then never had the changes inspected.

The change that the seller made?  The seller had installed an overhead microwave and changed a cabinet without seeking any approval from the association. This was indeed a minor change. Furthermore, the seller claimed that he didn’t actually make the change. It was his claim that a previous owner made that change and that the seller had NEVER read his condo docs.

My client, the buyer, was a very above-board and by-the-book type of character. It was his position that if this guy “hid this fact” who knows how much else he withheld?  Even if he believed the seller’s story (he did not) then it would show that this is a very inattentive owner.  My client canceled the contract based on condo docs.

At another location and with another buyer and seller, the property went under contract and the seller did not deliver the condo docs, because the seller didn’t have condo docs. The seller didn’t have the condo docs because the seller didn’t order his condo docs. The selling agent explains that the law allows for 14 days for the delivery of condo docs.  I replied, “That’s why you order docs when you list.”  Because if you allow 14 days for preparation and 2 days for delivery and then 3 days for review, then the buyer can cancel the sale 22 days after the contract is signed.

Here are the lessons for sellers:

  1. Order you condo docs when you list your condo for sale.
  2. Review your condo docs to make sure that your condo doesn’t have any defects according to the association.
  3. Have your agent deliver your condo docs PROMPTLY once your contract is ratified.
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