8 TIPS BEFORE YOU BUY A CONDO
We have first-hand experience with condominium living as past owners of a condo and helping clients buy and sell condominiums. There is something so alluring to a simplified lifestyle, where on a moment’s notice, you can lock and leave! These are our top eight tips before you buy a condo. These are important considerations when deciding if a condo is right for you.
1. Introverted or Extroverted–It’s Up to You.
Condo living is the best of both worlds. We’ve met some of the greatest people on the planet when we lived in a condo community. Our condo neighbors seldom fit into a particular stereotype of a condo owner. They were generally world travelers or professionals who shared great stories while connecting us to a new circle of friends. Increasingly, we started seeing much younger professionals purchase units and enjoy the ease of low maintenance living. We also had neighbors who were rarely seen.
2. Are you Claustrophobic?
If access to out door space is important to you, then be sure you look for first floor units or buildings with balconies. We loved our condo but didn’t like that we had to wait for an elevator to access the patio or garden space or just to chase down our phone that was left in the car.
3. Committees, Love Them or Hate Them?
It’s true that condo living is pretty easy. You’ll appreciate how the property manager manages the big maintenance items. However, owners are asked to volunteer to be the head of committees or chair the condo association. If you don’t stay marginally involved with the management of your building you are leaving the decisions about your investment to others. These are three main concepts to keep in mind when considering condo living. You’ll want to take a deeper dive into terms and concepts associated with condo ownership.
Our experience with condominium communities has taught us that not all condo associations are created equal. Failure to do your homework could lead to unexpected surprises regarding regulations and additional cost to you.
Follow these tips and you’ll be better informed about making that all-important decision about condo living.
1. GOVERNING DOCUMENTS
Thoroughly read the master deed, bylaws and rules and regulations. You don’t want to be disappointed after the fact that your dog weighs too much or that you’re unable to AirBNB or rent your condo.
Know the financial condition of the Homeowners Association (HOA). Does the HOA have a large cash reserve for major projects? Are there condo owners who are in arrears? What is the process for collecting from owners who haven’t paid?
3. SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS
Condo associations may assess the owners for major projects. Be sure to ask if there are any special assessments planned. Special assessments could be for a new roof, boilers, elevator repairs or even landscaping.
4. BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Most condo associations have a volunteer board and a management company to aid in the day-to-day management of the condo community. The minutes from the meetings can provide you with insight into how the property is run and managed. Don’t be afraid to ask for copies of the meeting minutes.
5. MANAGEMENT COMPANY
Find out who the property manager is for the property you’re interested in purchasing. Call them and ask how often an onsite inspection is conducted. Do they provide a maintenance person for issues that you may have within your condo?
6. UTILITIES AND INSURANCE
You’ll want to know if any of the utilities are included in your HOA fees. Generally, trash, sewer, snow removal, and building insurance is included. You’ll need to carry insurance on your personal property. You’ll want to know if there are restrictions on Internet and media providers.
Unlike a single-family home, remodeling your condo may create some extra steps. Associations often times have limitations on the days and hours that you may have contractors working on your condo. Generally, you can find this information in the rules and regulations section of your condo documents. Some associations require that a specific tradesman be used for plumbing or electrical.
Is your building secured? How is entry to the building accessed. Are there cameras on the property? You’ll want to know how packages are received. Lastly, you can use the Louisville Metro Police Crime Mapping tool to understand the crime statistics for your building and neighborhood.
Call, text or email to get more information about condo living or to start your search for a new life in a condominium. You can reach Chris at 502-727-8306.