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How To Fasttrack Your Condo Conversion

by Andy Sirkin

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San Francisco allows two-unit owner occupied buildings to bypass the condo conversion lottery and convert to condominiums following a one-year owner-occupancy period. Filing a bypass conversion application as soon as you qualify is the best insurance against losing this valuable right because of an unforeseen life event that forces a move or a sale, or a sudden change in San Francisco law. You can fasttrack the condominium conversion process by taking the following steps before the expiration of your one-year occupancy period:

• Submit a request for the building inspection. You can download the DBI Application here. Note that it generally takes 6-8 weeks to get an inspection and another six weeks to receive the inspection report.

• Retain a land surveyor to prepare your condominium map. When the surveyor visits your property, you will need to point out assigned areas such as parking spaces, storage spaces, and private deck or yards. Prepare for this by reviewing your TIC Agreement before the visit and, if possible, resolving any owner disputes about space assignments. We can assist you in agreement interpretation and/or dispute resolution, if necessary.

• Set aside funds for conversion costs. You should expect to spend approximately $20,000 for your conversion, plus any improvement costs. This cost projection includes about $12,000 in City fees, $5,000-7,000 for the land surveyor, $2,600 in attorney fees. Note that, depending on the time of year when your conversion is approved, the City may require you to prepay property taxes.

• Select an attorney and begin assembling your conversion application package. If you contact us 1-2 months before your one-year occupancy anniversary, it will ensure that your application can be submitted right on time.

We are available to answer your questions by phone, or to meet with you free of charge to explain the conversion process and our services, either in our financial district office or at your home. Our website (www.andysirkin.com) provides the most comprehensive information available on the condominium conversion process, as well on setting up and operating a condominium association. We offer a full-service conversion, or a legal-documents-only program (for those who prefer to economize by handling more of the process themselves), each for a reasonable flat fee.

Why Choose Sirkin & Associates? Three reasons:

• We Get Your Conversion Approved Quickly. Our application packages are complete and properly organized the first time. We have a full-time paralegal, Cam Perridge, dedicated to monitoring your approval and pushing it through the process.

• We Provide The Best Client Service. Our dedication to personalized service and accessibility is unparalleled. No other conversion firm provides a dedicated staff member to answer phone calls and emails immediately for the duration of the conversion, and no other conversion firm provides meetings at your home. Attorneys Andy Sirkin and Rosemarie MacGuinness each have direct-dial telephone numbers and are also committed to being available when you call and responding to your emails immediately.

• Our Documents Are Easy To Understand and Avoid Owner Disputes. Your CC&Rs will directly affect your quality of life, your financial investment, and your ability to refinance and sell. We take the time to be sure that your CC&Rs are customized to the building and the owners’ needs. Our CC&Rs are widely recognized as among the best in California, particularly for smaller buildings where we have set the industry standard.

Sirkin & Associates has been guiding clients through the San Francisco condominium process for almost 20 years, and has completed more SF conversions than any other firm. In 2011 we handled well over half of all of the condominium conversions in San Francisco. Over the years, we have been involved in drafting many of the laws that govern SF conversions, and have helped develop many of the procedures used by the City in processing these applications. Our breadth of experience makes it likely that if a glitch appears in the condominium process, we will have seen something similar before and know exactly what to do. And for those rare occasions when a completely new issue arises, we are the recognized masters at developing creative solutions that save our clients time and money.

For more information call Cam at 839-6407, Rosemarie at 839-6406 or Andy at 462-5925. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

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