Monday, August 15, 2016 / by Teresa Dipeso
Here are some common questions that you may have or probably should have when buying a condominium:
---What are the fees? Typical condo fees will run between $175-$400, unless you are buying a more upscale unit with tons of amenities. As a Realtor, I can quickly get you the fees for the units in which you're interested. What's typically covered in your fees are things OUTSIDE your unit, such as landscaping, pool upkeep, minor repairs, insurance and liability. Sometimes but certainly not always, utilities might be included. Generally, what's INSIDE is your responsibility, and what's external is managed for you and paid for in your fees.
---Can I see the financial statements? You will definitely want to know whether the condo association is in the red or in the black. A solvent association is very important, for obvious reasons. You want your association to have the capital to be able to make repairs and pay its obligations when they are needed and due. Also, many people will rent their condo unit when they aren't using it themselves. Has the unit been a money-maker? How much can you get in season? How much you can rent it out for will help you determine if you can afford it.
---Are there any upcoming assessments? Ask ahead of time, and avoid being blindsided. Assessments are one-time, upfront payments provided by unit owners for MAJOR repairs, such as replacing all the windows, the roof, etc. A structurally sound building is in your best interest, not least of all for resale value, so don't get spooked by the concept of assessments. However, you'll want to know if one is coming once you get the keys.
---What are the rules? Every condo association sets its own rules and uses. These can vary pretty dramatically, which is a good thing as it lets you find a unit that suits your needs, one that you aren't paying for privileges that you don't need or want. For instance, are pets allowed? Is the unit all-year usable? Can you decorate your front door? What's the deal with the parking? As you can imagine, this as a very important thing to look into!
---Who is the caretaker? Most condos have an on-site manager. But, are they year-round? Is there a front desk to handle your rentals for you, or are you going to be responsible for that?
These are all important questions to ask, and I can help you answer all of them. While it may seem like a lot to consider, don't worry. There is a reason so many people own condos: they are convenient and easy to own. Whether you want to use it as an investment property and collect rent, or use it yourself as a low-maintenance shore getaway, or some mix of the two, condos are a great way to go! I've represented MANY buyers of condominiums, and would be very happy to help you navigate the process.