Just as with anything else, buying a condo is a process not to be reckoned with lightly. This article with enlighten you to the steps necessary when you are buying a condo. It will also give you some insight on what is the most important thing to ask yourself during the process. Whether your condo is in a high rise or a mid-rise single story or a cluster community, all of these situations have common threads of both annoyance and joy. Here are the things to think about and to do during the process.
1. After you have identified the building that you like, go there at least 3 times at different times of the day.
2. Speak to as many neighbors as you can, asking them the obvious questions:
A. How is living here?
B. Are there any units that I should not consider due to damage or noise?
C. Do you have any political problems here with the HOA?
D. Do you have any assessments coming up in the future that have not been voted on yet?
E. What is the pool and tennis area like on a summer day?
F. How is the parking for both residents and guests?
G. If it is a guarded building, how are the guards? Are they alert?
H. If there is anything else that you need to know.
3. Check out the age and condition of the common areas of the buildings. Roofs, streets, parking facility, paint and exterior, pool and tennis, fitness center etc… Assessments can be given at any time if the association has not collected enough money, and they can be upwards of $20,000 per unit.
4. Check out the financials of the HOA. Make sure that they have a surplus of funds before you buy.
5. Check out the covenants of the HOA. Look for restrictive use of your lifestyle. And, make sure that there is a noise ordinance and that there is a process that you would follow to stop the excessive noise that gets results.
6. Check out the rental policy in the covenants. If you are going to be restricted by whether or not you can rent or sublease your unit, you need to know this up-front.
7. Get the current rental register and see how many of the units are rented. Make your own decision if this is okay.
8. Get the history of the HOA fees and determine if they have been raised consistently or not. Compare this monthly HOA fees with other complexes that you have looked at. Remember, this fee can be raised at anytime. But, with that being said, most HOA fees include a lot of services that you would have to pay for if you purchased a single family residence so don’t let the fee scare you too much. Just do your homework.
9. Give yourself enough time to look over this stuff either after you have written a contract or preferably before.
10. Most important, don’t buy until you have spoken to all of the neighbors that border your unit, top, bottom and sides. The biggest complaint that I get from people who live in a condo is that they don’t like the energy of the neighbor or that the neighbor has weird hours or that they are loud, or worse for some people, they smoke and it stinks up the hall and ultimately their unit.
Make sure that you buy what you expect you are buying and you too can live happily ever after in a condo with less physical responsibility and access to more social events.