Questions You Need to Ask When Buying a Condo

Buying a condo is just like buying a home-- it has its pros and cons. Condos are cheaper, rarely requires you to do "the dirty work" (thanks to shared maintenance), and provides you with great amenities such as gym membership, pool use, and other facilities that are available in the property. However, the downside of living in a condo is that monthly dues are expensive (you don't do your landscaping but you're paying someone to do it for you) and you have to strictly comply with the rules of the condo board that regulates condo living.

To prepare yourself for the condo life ahead of you, you have to ask these important questions to your condo board to know what to expect before you actually purchase or move in: 

How much is the monthly fee?

Condos charge a monthly fee that pays for the entire upkeep of the residential building. Ranging from $200 to $400, this monthly fee covers costs OUTSIDE your condo such as pool maintenance, landscaping, security, etc. Since you're going to pay this every month for the next X number of years that you're going to live in the condo, you have to ask the board exactly what your monthly fee covers. A general rule of thumb is that anything outside your condo should be taken care of by the board. The maintenance INSIDE your condo, on the other hand, should be taken care of by you.

Can I see the financial statements?

Condo owners are entitled to see the condo's financials, and you as a [future] condo owner should check this out. The financial statements will tell a story about your chosen residence: too much money going out compared to what is coming in almost always means "mismanagement" and headache for you as a future condo owner.

Are there assessments scheduled in the near future?

Assessments are one-time payments that cover capital improvements and repairs. If you are going to buy a condo, you have to ask if there is an upcoming assessment. Knowing this beforehand will save you the trouble of getting blindsided with a huge extra bill which isn't part of your budget.

What are the rules of living in the condo?

Condo association's have their own bylaws and regulations, and you as a future condo owner, should be aware of each and every one of these rules to be sure that living by them will not affect your intended lifestyle. Rules cover everything: from the schedule of waste collection, where guests and residents park, to if (and when) you can barbecue. Make sure to read EACH one before committing to the property.

Are there any ongoing lawsuits?

If a condo board is facing lawsuits, it would be a huge financial drain if the board loses in court. It's not ideal to buy a condo with is board facing lawsuits. If there is none, you might also want to check the condo's liability insurance to make sure that you won't get affected as a condo owner should a lawsuit come in the future.

Who manages the condo and its surroundings?

Condos have on-site managers that oversee the day to day maintenance of the premises. Ask how long the on-site manager has been with the condo. If his/her tenure has spanned several years, it's a good sign that you have someone to rely on at the premises for any maintenance concerns you may have.

Want to learn more about what to expect when buying a condo? Speak with us today and we'll be happy to guide you with the process of acquiring your own condo unit. For tips, you can also access the website from which this post was based here.

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