Agent Tips on Selling in GHI

The following information should be helpful when showing or writing an offer on a Greenbelt Homes co-op. Please call and ask me as many questions as you want, or you can call Bruce Mangum at GHI, in Contract Processing. 301-474-4161 x 146.

Generally, the process is very much like buying any home. The buyer gets pre-approved, does home inspections, and goes to settlement.

However, co-ops are not real property, so they are not subject to the same rules as real property. For instance, the buyer is not actually buying the property, they are buying a membership in the cooperative, with the right of perpetual use of the property. Use of the property is much like a condo – they can change the interior, subject to the normal permitting process in Prince George’s County. Exterior changes are subject to the covenants of the cooperative.

You might start at GHI’s website for useful information http://ghi.coop/content/how-buy-ghi

A few other differences:

  • Owner-occupied only! Don’t let your client buy thinking they’ll live in it a couple of years, and then use it as a rental. GHI doesn’t allow rentals, except for extreme hardships. They’re very tough on this.
  • 2 year profit limitation. The buyer can sell within 2 years, but cannot make a profit.
  • What does the co-op fee cover? Read on. http://ghi.coop/content/iii-financial-matters
  • FHA and VA do not lend on co-ops, so sales are conventional loans or cash. The buyer must go through one of the lenders that is approved by GHI. The link to approved lenders is http://ghi.coop/how-to-buy/mortgage-Lender-list. Call me if you want to get the skinny on who does a good job and who to avoid.
  • There is no transfer and recordation tax on co-ops. Makes closing costs much lower!
  • There is an application fee – the buyer has to go through an approval process with GHI similar to the lending process. Ultimately the buyer’s application will go before the GHI Board of Directors for approval, though it is primarily a credit approval.
  • GHI collects a working capital fee from the buyer at settlement, which is 1% of the sales price. The good news? The buyer will get it back when he sells the house.
  • GHI has twice-monthly orientations. One of the mandatory steps for the buyer, in buying in GHI, is to attend an orientation. If you’ve never sold in GHI, it’s a good idea to attend one yourself. I go once every few years, and I’ve been selling in GHI for almost 20 years. GHI Calendar –http://ghi.coop/about-ghi/calendar
  • Timing of settlement can be tricky. You have to give sufficient time for the loan to be approved, plus the GHI application to be processed, then allow for the next Board Meeting to happen. Once that happens, settlement can usually follow within a couple of days.
  • The co-op fee may seem high, but it covers a lot. Property taxes are included in the fee, as well as a significant amount of property maintenance.

These additional forms may be useful:

There is an Addendum to Sales Contract that should be attached to an offer.

GHI Membership Application 2015 – note that the upfront fees to GHI are as follows – $595 membership application fee, $50 credit report fee (per applicant) and $50 termite inspection fee. There is also a 1% working capital fee that is collected at settlement; however, the buyer will get that fee back when they sell the property.

NCB has a booklet on buying a co-op that is good to pass on the buyers. Go to National Co-op Bank’s website, scroll down to Co-op Resources and check out the publications there.

Good luck and call me at 301-980-9409 or email me at Susan@SusanPruden.com with any questions. I’d be happy to help you though estimating the costs for your buyer, though of course that is better done through the lender.