Albuquerque realtors look to cap processing fee statewide

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An unexpected fee has been hitting homeowners looking to sell their homes, and it’s not cheap. It’s something the city of Albuquerque has cracked down on.

It’s often called a processing fee, charged by homeowners associations to get a document needed to sell a house. However, the fee can get out of control.

“I’m fighting for my clients. This is a customer service industry, and sometimes they don’t have anybody to speak for them,” said John Lucero, a realtor.

Over the past few years, Lucero has seen homeowners association management companies take advantage of his clients looking to sell their homes. These companies will charge homeowners anywhere from $100 to $1000 for a disclosure statement — a document that has to be provided to a buyer.

“The last deal that I did, my client had to pay $300 to get these documents, then if she wanted them in time for closing she had to pay another $150,” he said.

Michelle Barry is one of his clients and she isn’t an exception to the fee.

“The mortgage company told me that there was a $350 fee that I had to pay the homeowners, that’s essentially I guess just paperwork,” she said. “It makes me angry that they charge that much money for just copying paper work. I can’t imagine it cost that much for some paper and people’s time,” she continued.

Lucero and a group of realtors went to the city to try and stop the fees from getting any higher.

“The mayor and the city council of Albuquerque passed a bill that would put a cap on homeowner association management companies on how much they can charge to disclose the 11 items,” Lucero said.

The bill was passed last month and now the cap is at $200. Homeowners can also wait until their house closes before paying that fee. Right now the bill only applies to the city of Albuquerque. Lucero and his colleagues are trying to implement this across the entire state of New Mexico.

“The realtors have been trying with the state legislature to get a bill passed basically stating the same thing,” Lucero said.

Homeowners looking to re-finance their homes may also be hit with this fee depending on each individual homeowners association.

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