Keller Williams Greater Seattle

Condo Legislative Update – Reserve Studies

By on February 16, 2008 in Condo Inspection, Real Estate with 4 Comments

State CapitolA couple of interesting bills are easily moving through the House and Senate concerning condominium reserve studies and reserve accounts. A reserve account is supplemental to an association’s annual operating budget and is used to fund major maintenance, repair and replacement of common elements. The purpose of the reserve account is to offset the financial burden of necessary future renovations that, in the absence of a reserve account, would require the owners to incur a substantial special assessment.

A reserve study identifies the major maintenance, repair, and replacement expenses that an association will incur over time that are not practical to include in an annual budget. The purpose of a reserve study is not to inspect for defects, but to evaluate the expected cost of future repair and maintenance of common elements.

The State House and Senate have similar bills that would authorize, and in some cases require, homeowner associations to conduct reserve studies, establish reserve accounts and require resale certificates (or seller’s disclosure) to include a copy of the most recent study or disclose that a reserve study does not exist. Currently, reserve studies are optional.

These are needed consumer protection bills. More often than necessary condo buyers are surprised to learn of major repairs and incur significant assessments for issues not disclosed. Requiring reserve studies to be furnished with the resale certificate will allow buyers to make a more informed purchase decision.

I have more information about these bills on the Buzz.

Also, Farren’s SCL article provides a good overview of reserve studies.

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About the Author

About the Author: Ben Kakimoto is a condo marketing specialist and publisher of The Seattle Condo Blog. Ben's focus is urban residential properties in Seattle's metropolitan core. Contact Ben to learn more about the Seattle condo and loft real estate market. Find Ben on Google+, Twitter and Facebook. .


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There Are 4 Brilliant Comments

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  1. chris says:

    have the reserve study bills for condos passed? Is a reserve study required for all condos?? thank you

  2. Ben Kakimoto says:

    Chris – it passed and technically reserve studies are required. However, I don’t believe there’s any enforcement provision and there’s no requirement that it has to be funded. Here’s the Seattle Times review of it.

  3. Scott says:

    I’ve been reading the RWC about this and what I can’t find is, what qualifies a person to perform a reserves study? Any idea?

  4. Ben Kakimoto says:

    Scott – I’m not sure there are any. I only say this because there are DIY reserve study forms available and I know of one HOA that went this route. You may want to check with Community Associations Institute –

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