The short answer is – probably maybe. In Virginia, a purchaser of a home in a condominium or a homeowner association has a right to review certain documents pertaining to the home they are purchasing. A purchaser also has a right to cancel the contract within a given time frame if those documents are not satisfactory to them.
The disclosure package typically includes the rules and regulations of the association, status of the reserve funds, the budget, outstanding fees, violations for the property you are purchasing, pending lawsuits as well as the recent minutes of board meetings at the association.
It is very important that you receive this information (often called the “resale package”) and that you review it thoroughly. After you receive the package your time to act is limited. You may have 3 days or you may have 5 (or some other time limit) – the time you have to review the documents is dependent on when and how the resale package is received.
Associations do from time to time have legal issues or are in financial trouble. You may think twice about purchasing in a community where there are large association fee increases or special assessments planned. Also, there may be rules that may increase or decrease the attractiveness to you – there may be limits on renting out a home (Park Towers Condo in Falls Church), the investor ratio may be high limiting the availability of financing (Gates of McLean, Fountains at McLean), limits on the number and types of pets or no pets allowed (Encore), limits on the use of pianos, water beds and so on.
So, what if you have cold feet and just want to walk away from the transaction altogether? Or, another similar unit was listed for $50,000 less and you want that unit instead? Can you use the resale document review period as an excuse if it is still available? Even if you don’t really have any issue with the resale documents?
While I am not an attorney, the interpretation of the Virginia Association of Realtors seems to be that yes you can. You do not have to give a reason to exercise your right to cancel as long as it is done properly and within the time period given. Morally, I may not think it is right,but legally it seems you can (and, I have seen home buyers do it to my seller clients.)