Questions to ask when buying a condo
There are some great advantages to buying a condo. All the advantages of home ownership but less responsibility. Someone else takes care of mowing the yard and snow removal, you are only responsible for maintaining the inside. This is a great fit for people who have demanding work schedules, people who love to travel, or people who just love the social aspect of living in a condo community.
Although there are some definite conveniences, there are also things to be aware of. Here is a list of questions to make sure you ask:
1) How much are monthly dues and what do they include? The services provided by different condos vary greatly. Common things that are often included are exterior maintenance, lawn mowing, snow removal, trash, water, cable, deck maintenance, window maintenance, air conditioning unit maintenance, insurance, common amenities such as pools and clubhouses.
2) Are there any assessments? Sometimes there are major repairs needed such as siding or roof replacement that there are not sufficient repair reserves to take care of so the association does an additional short term assessment. This is an item of negotiation as to if the buyer or seller is responsible for the balance so it is important to be aware of it.
3) Is parking included? Sometimes there is a garage, sometimes just a parking spot, sometimes a garage is available for rent or sale.
4) Who manages the association? What is their financial condition? If the financial position of the association is weak then it is likely that services will fall behind, repairs will go undone, and dues will increase. Ask for their budget and financial statements.
5) Do they allow pets? Is there a limit to the number or weight of allowable pets? There are often restraints on the allowability of certain pets. Depending on how you feel about pets this may be a positive or a negative. When no pets are allowed this has a negative effect on resale value generally.
6) Is there a fee or application process in transferring to the new association? It is common that there is some process that the association requires for approval and an application fee. It is not normally an arduous process.
With an awareness of these issues being a condo owner can be a wonderful experience. Enjoy!