you buy, contact the condo board with the following questions. In the process,
youll learn how responsiveand organizedits members are.
- What percentage of units is owner-occupied? What
percentage is tenant-occupied? Generally, the higher the percentage of
owner-occupied units, the more marketable the units will be at resale.
- What covenants, bylaws, and restrictions govern the
property? What grandfather clauses are in place? You may find, for instance,
that those who buy a property after a certain date cant rent out their units,
but buyers who bought earlier can. Ask for a copy of the bylaws to determine if
you can live within them. And have an attorney review property docs, including the
master deed, for you.
- How much does the association keep in reserve? How is
that money being invested?
- Are association assessments keeping pace with the
annual rate of inflation? Smart boards raise assessments a certain percentage
each year to build reserves to fund future repairs.To determine if the
assessment is reasonable, compare the rate to others in the area.
- What does and doesnt the assessment covercommon area
recreational facilities, trash collection, snow removal?
- What special assessments have been mandated in the
past five years? How much was each owner responsible for? Some special
assessments are unavoidable. But repeated, expensive assessments could be a red
flag about the condition of the building or the boards fiscal policy.
- How much turnover occurs in the building?
- Is the project in litigation? If the builders or
homeowners are involved in a lawsuit, reserves can be depleted quickly.
- Is the developer reputable? Find out what other projects
the developer has built and visit one if you can. Ask residents about their
perceptions. Request an engineers report for developments that have been
reconverted from other uses to determine what shape the building is in. If the
roof, windows, and bricks arent in good repair, they become your problem once
- Are multiple associations
involved in the property? In very large developments, umbrella associations, as
well as the smaller association into which youre buying, may require separate