Condo communities can be as different as night and day. Some have strict rules, while others are lax in their enforcement.
Additionally, there are always variances in the costs associated with certain communities. Some have large monthly HOA fees. Others are minimal.
What sort of questions should you be asking your real estate agent and the local condo board? Let's find out.
First, you should find out about the financial health of the community. You'll want to see if there are adequate funds in reserve. A reserve fund is held for large future repairs, such as replacing roofs, drives, sidewalks, and pools. The condo board must be charging an adequate amount every month to keep this reserve fund in pace with inflation.
If a board hasn't been doing their due diligence, you may be slapped with a big bill when a future repair needs to be made. This could range from the a few hundred to thousands of dollars.
Does this community allow you to rent out your unit? Sometime down the road you may find yourself wanting to move or rent out your unit, even to family. Many communities are very renter friendly and this will be no problem. Others strictly prohibit non-owner occupied units.
You'll also want to ask what the percentage of tenant-occupied units is. Is this a mostly rental-based community? This can bring with it the usual complaints of rentals. There may be less upkeep, more noise, and less of a sense of permanent community.
Along this same line of thought you should ask what the turnover rate is. Are residents settling in for years (an indication they like it there) or is this a community that sees people come and go?
Is the condo board involved in any sort of litigation at the moment, meaning are they being sued by a former resident? Conversely, is there any litigation they are pursuing against any current or past residents? These kinds of questions can give you a real feel for the tone of the community.
Finally, be sure to ask about the bylaws and restrictions of the property. You may have your heart set on having a garden or doing your own landscaping. The condo board may have other ideas. What if you want to make certain upgrades or improvements to your unit? Is this allowed? Be sure to ask for a copy of these bylaws and then have a professional look them over.
Living in a condo can be a wonderful experience. They can be tidy and low maintenance as well as a great social hub. Just be sure to do a little research when you're in the market to buy so you can be sure to purchase in the perfect community for you.
Copyright© 2013 Realty Times®. All Rights Reserved
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Copyright © 2013 Realty Times®. All Rights Reserved