Owning a condo comes with many benefits – less maintenance, a variety of amenities, and often, a central location. But before you can find the right condo, it’s important to find out if the unit suits you in other ways.
Here are the questions that will help you make an informed decision:
What are the condo’s rules and regulations?
Request a copy of the condo’s rules and regulations, and read the document = thoroughly. Do you agree with the policies? Or, at the very least, find them reasonable? Will you be comfortable abiding by the rules?
Does the condo suit my lifestyle?
Is maintaining an active lifestyle important to you? Aside from the condo’s fitness center, check if there are nearby parks or trails where you can jog or hike. If you like a sense of community, find out if the condo association hosts social events for unit owners. If peace and quiet is your priority, check out the “nuisance” section of your condo’s CC&R (Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions). It details what the condo association considers a nuisance, which may include noise from adjacent units, children’s behavior, and pet policies.
How much are the HOA dues? What does they cover?
Condo unit owners are typically required to pay a monthly association fee that goes into maintaining and improving the condo common areas and exterior. The fee may also cover utility bills, trash removal, and insurance. Some HOAs may also charge a special assessment fee, which is an additional expense to cover costs that go beyond the association’s reserve funds.
Knowing the amount you could be paying each month and what it covers can help you determine whether these fees are worth it or not.
What is the pet policy?
If you plan to bring your pet with, it’s best to ask the condo association about their pet policy. Each association has its own restrictions when it comes to the breed, number, and size of pets that residents are allowed to have. If you want a pet-free environment, on the other hand, knowing the condo’s pet policy can also give you a heads up.
Do I need property insurance?
It’s important to know the scope of a condo association’s insurance. Most condo policies cover the property’s exterior and common areas. Find out if the policy includes your personal belongings so you can decide whether or not to take out a separate insurance to protect your personal property.
Does the condo have pending lawsuits?
Since corporations typically run condos, it’s not uncommon for the company to have pending lawsuits stemming from building issues or remodeling projects. If the group that manages the condo you’re after is under litigation, steer clear of the property. Their inability to settle issues out of court is a definite red flag. Lenders are also more hesitant to approve loans on litigious properties.
Can I rent out my unit?
If you plan on buying a condo as an investment property, make sure there are no restrictions to renting it out.