Quality Building Award

After the posting on this blog several months ago about the builder who tried to sell a condominium unit without plumbing fixtures and appliances, and after this KSL story about Ivory Homes’ installation of a fence around a yard without including a gate, I’m thinking I should start giving out “Quality Building Awards.”

The first recipient is Ivory Homes, who responded to the woman’s complaint by blaming her and her Realtor for the omission of a gate. According to their spokesperson Nate Parker:

“Paula had a Realtor acting as the buyer’s agent for the transaction. The buyer’s agent has the fiduciary responsibility to review paperwork to ensure that it represents the buyers’ wishes.”

I’ve reviewed Ivory Homes’ standard paperwork and am quite certain that if anyone read it and understood it, they’d realize that it wouldn’t represent any intelligent buyer’s wishes. Of course that’s only my opinion.

Transfer Fees Exposed!

I’m out of the office this week, presenting to the Utah State Bar on “Utah Community Association Law: Past, Present and Future,” and my attention was just drawn to an article on ksl.com, regarding transfer fees. The article correctly suggests that

If you plan on buying a home, insist that your title company provide you with a copy of all the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions tied to the house. Comb through those documents. If you see a transfer fee on the home you want to buy, either negotiate to buy the house for less, demand that the transfer fee be removed or walk away.

My only dispute with this statement is that not all transfer fees are created equally. When you review the C,C & R’s, look to where the fees go; if they go to the community association in which you live, for clearly designated purposes, they may be to your ultimate advantage. If they go to the developer’s bank account, they are clearly not to your advantage and (IMHO) may, in fact, be illegal.

I hope to talk to the reporter on this story regarding the potential benefits of transfer fees and the possible illegality of the self-serving version of such fees; check this site for updates and links, if they are warranted.

City Creek in The New York Times

A recent New York Times article gives some great coverage to Salt Lake City and the City Creek Center project that is quickly changing downtown Salt Lake City’s skyline.

Most of the information on the project has been covered before, but there are a couple of new and interesting details in the article. For one, the project will include “Fountains that include fire and bells — designed by the company responsible for water features at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas . . . ” (Does that mean that what happens at the fountain will stay at the fountain?)

Another interesting fact is that one bedroom, Temple view condominiums are being sold for more than $900,000. The price isn’t that surprising; the fact that they’re building and selling one bedroom units with that view is. Then again, I suppose there aren’t that many families who could afford a larger condo with the same view. (Interestingly, a New York Times article from about 18 months ago made me speculate, in an earlier post, just how much the view would be worth.)

General Growth (Or the Lack Thereof)

Saturday’s online Salt Lake Tribune included a reprint of an article from the Wall Street Journal from several weeks ago, regarding the developer [?] of the site that used to be the Cottonwood Mall. It appears that the developer will be giving us more progress in the form of another vacant lot. Perhaps that’s better than a vacant mall.

Yet another condominium project being put on hold for a while.

Not exactly cutting edge, but since the Tribune’s running this old story, and because I missed it, you may have as well.

The Collapse of Communism?

A community in Eagle Mountain is suffering from the business failure of Sundance Homes; according to KSL, the developer abandoned the partially-completed community, leaving the association in a mess.

KSL reported on the story yesterday; the story was not very informative, but the comments certainly were. I learned, for example that community associations are communist.

By this morning, for whatever reason, most of the communism references were gone. (A communist plot? KSL protecting its readership?) Anyway, the comment page still has some rather amusing and enlightening comments.

Garage Condos — Coming Soon?

A company called Garage Town USA, which has developed garage condominiums in several western states, including Idaho, is reporting that their franchises have been approved in Utah.

I’m going to try to get my hands on a declaration, since I’d be interested to see a declaration that presumably prohibits residential uses, encourages the parking of cars, and encourages business uses. Those conditions obviously exist in commercial condominiums, but they aren’t typically marketed to individuals and families.