I’ve handled dozens of condominium and cooperative projects for owners and developers and by far the biggest complaint is the amount of time that the process takes from beginning to end. As experienced DC real estate developers and agents can tell you, timing is extremely important to the success of any sales project.
From my point of view, the biggest delay is not attributable to government inefficiency and lagging review times (although those are factors). Instead, frequently, owners have difficulty providing timely and appropriate information for inclusion in the applications.
More experienced developers, who have been through the process several times, have a firmer idea of what it is going to take to produce a warranty bond or architect’s report, for example, and can do so in such a way that the project stays on track. Less experienced owners receive my communications and reminders about the components they are responsible for and seem to simply say ‘OK.’ Then, two (2) days before I need it will call and ask me, “what is a mylar and where do I get one?”
It is really about an understanding of the process. The more the developer understands, the faster we can get accurate documents submitted for approval. I try to educate all of my clients as to the requirements and deadlines and where appropriate refer them to experienced contractors, bankers, architects etc. However, mid-project, it is often difficult to get someone’s full attention who is trying to manage a million different things at the same time.
On February 14, 2018 at 10:00 AM in their conference facility at 1800 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE, the Department of Housing and Community Development is putting on an educational program about the ‘Nuts and Bolts’ of condo/coop conversion and development. It should offer a valuable opportunity for developers to understand the legal aspects of a project, without the financial and other pressures of looming deadlines.
According to the email blurb, the two hours class is going to cover such topics as the specifics of the legal registration requirements and the rights of tenants in conversion buildings.
While it is unlikely that you will be ready to handle conversions on your own after a two-hour class, gaining knowledge-of-process can be extremely important to your business. As there are several components in all condo projects requiring direct action by the owner/developer, understanding the timing and content of the exhibits that you will have to produce will be a valuable cost-saving measure down the road.
Moreover, gaining insight on issues such as the timing of the conversion tax payment, warranty bond requirement, first-year budgeting, and plat/plan drawings, can save you valuable time. THAT MEANS getting to market with your completed units sooner, which is the name of the game in condo development.
To me, it seems like a worthwhile investment of a couple of hours.