If you are considering buying a condo, there are a few questions you should ask prior to signing. As a general rule, you should find out as much as you can about the community.
Talk to a few residents, review the condo documents, and study as much available data as you can to make an informed decision.
The condition of the unit, building and complex are important, but don’t overlook the common areas. Make sure they are well maintained and have been properly care for. Also, make sure to look for other potential red flags by finding out how many units in the community are for sale. If a large percentage of owners are trying to move out, there may be an issue. Or, if a large number of units are rentals instead of owner occupied units, lenders may not be able to fund your transaction. Talking to other residents can be a wealth of information. Ask what they neighborhood is like and, if you are able to, walk the neighborhood at night and during the weekends to note things like traffic, parking issues, or whether the community is active or not. Current residents may also be able to provide information regarding how well the current management company is overseeing the community and whether any complaints have been filed.
Follow the money! Find out what the condo fees are and exactly what they cover. They last thing you want to do is move in and get hit with an assessment. And talking about assessments, does the seller owe any back fees on prior assessments or are there any recent assessments the owner is currently paying on? Ask about the associations reserves and whether they have enough money in reserve to cover emergencies and renovations. Are there any pending lawsuits? If so, you may have to pay a portion of any judgements. Or are there any units in arrears?
Some type of insurance is usually covered in your condo fees, but find out what exactly it covers. You may need supplemental insurance to cover the interior of your unit or personal items.
Parking…does the unit come with assigned parking spaces? Are there guests spaces available for visitors and they easily accessible for your unit? Some units will hav available garages or covered parking that is separate from guests parking so make sure you know where to send your potential visitors to park.
Reviewing the official condo documents is a necessary step in the right direction, but getting out and doing some research onsite will provide invaluable information that you won’t find in the docs. Don’t be shy! Make some new friends prior to moving in and you’ll have most if not all of the answers you need.
If you’d like additional helpful hints, tips and tricks to buying or selling, we are only a phone call or an email away! Our team of real estate experts can help you with every step of the process and supply invaluable referrals to lenders, title companies, handymen, inspectors and more. Call us today!