Florida Community Services Group
Prior to and during a resident purchase, there are a few items that are very important to the success of the purchase. Typically the board of directors of the homeowners association or the acquisition is responsible for these items.
On an ongoing basis the homeowners association should have a database of all addresses, home and cell numbers, e-mail addresses and northern addresses, if applicable, of every resident in the community. Typically, 10 percent of the residents change during a one-year period in a community. If the homeowners association goes two years without updating a list, then the database could have 20 percent or more names and information incorrect.
Do not rely on the park office for a resident's list. Even if you have a good relationship with park management, FCSG has found that management often doesn't have up-to-date e-mail addresses, which are very important during a resident purchase.
Also, once a park owner is going to sell, typically they do not release any information--even resident information that they may have been giving to the homeowners association--to residents. It's just part of the business of sellling the community.
Board of Director's Role
During the resident purchase process, the Board of Director's primary role is to answer questions from residents. Often, residents feel more comfortable talking to a board member then contacting someone else. FCSG encourages board members to assist residents with their questions but to always contact FCSG if they are unsure of any answers.
As we say constantly, the resident purchase process is an educational process and making sure all residents' questions are answered thoroughly and correctly is important to the overall success.
Most of the resident purchases in the past six years have occurred during the summer or fall when most residents are traveling or at their northern residences. Therefore, FCSG must rely on current e-mail addresses to get information to residents on a timely basis. This is especially important if there are Canadians or Europeans who live in the community.
FCSG can't emphasize enough how important up-to-date e-mail addresses are to getting information about a resident purchase to all residents if the community is going through a purchase.
FCSG has seen over and over again where the board of directors assures us that they have current information about each resident but then when they are preparing to mail or e-mail information, they are very mistaken.
Don't Get Discouraged
FCSG has worked with a number of homeowners associations--some for 10 years or more--and have sent offers to park owners each year and have received the same response--the park owner is not interested in selling at that time.
Often, the board of directors or aquisition committee becomes discouraged as they believe the park owner may never sell.
What FCSG has found, however, is that by making an offer, the homeowners association becomes a viable potential buyer of the community. It also helps the park owner to know what the desire of the homeowners association is. The last thing anyone wants to hear is that the park owner never realized that the residents wanted to purchase.
Boards of directors could be prepared for purchasing for many years before they actually get the opportunity to do so. That's normal and residents shouldn't be discouraged by that.