If you are in the market for a condo, there are some critical pieces of information you should research with your real estate agent before making an offer.
1. Read Between the Lines
Take a look at the minutes of the condo association board meetings to see what the building-wide challenges are. Even if there aren’t any complaints, reading the minutes will reveal the sorts of projects that are under way at the complex — projects the seller may have neglected to mention.
2. Who is Paying Their Bills?
Make sure the association is collecting the dues from everyone on time! . If people aren’t paying their association dues on time. Carefully consider buildings that are underfunded.
3. Planning for Repairs
Associations take on a lot of building maintenance so make sure the repair fund for the new roof, driveway, and exterior are well thought out and funded.
4. Insurance, Insurance, Insurance!
Gt a copy of the certificate of insurance, which is a summary of the association’s policy. First see if the replacement costs covered by the policy are an accurate estimate of the cost of rebuilding. Then make sure that the policy has a building-ordinance clause, which means that the insurance will cover the cost of bringing the building up to code if there is any rebuilding to be done. Finally, make sure that you understand exactly what the association policy covers and what you are responsible for.
5. Legal Compliance
Buying a single-family home without a lawyer is no big deal for many people. But with a condo, there’s so much more involved. Contact a local real estate lawyer and have him or her go over the bylaws of the association. Also see if there are any pending cases by any residents against the association.
6. Can I rent My Unit?
Certain associations have a limit on the number of units that can be rentals at any one time. If you plan on renting your out down the road make sure you know the rules and plan in advance.
7. Professional Management
If the complex is professionally managed, check out the management company as thoroughly as you check out the association. Ask other owners. Ask people in nearby buildings. And be sure to interview the day-to-day manager directly.
8. Read The Books
Read the condo documents for anything out of the ordinary and think in advance. Are there restriction on commercial vehicles, pets, loud music, or even placement of ‘Real Estate Signs’. Remember when you go to sell your condo you want to know you attract the next buyer.