Buying your first home can be scary, and when your first house happens to be a condo, there are likely a lot of things you’re unsure about. Whether you’ve already fallen in love with your new home and are committed to making the purchase or are just considering the finer aspects of condo living, be sure to ask these questions, so you know exactly what you’re getting into:
- 1 #1 What are residents complaining about at the condo board meetings?
- 2 #2 What is the manager like?
- 3 #3 Where can I store my stuff?
- 4 #4 What does the condo insurance cover?
- 5 #5 Do I plan on moving in the next 5 years?
- 6 #6 What are the monthly association fees?
- 7 #7 Are there any rules I should know about?
- 8 #8 Are there any active lawsuits?
- 9 #9 What do I own?
#1 What are residents complaining about at the condo board meetings?
Okay, so you won’t really ask anyone this. Instead, you’ll want to get your hands on a copy of the last meeting’s minutes and see what the current owners are talking about.
#2 What is the manager like?
To answer this one, schedule a meeting with the condo manager so you can meet them personally. You might also want to knock on a couple of doors to hear what your neighbors have to say.
#3 Where can I store my stuff?
A lot of condos–particularly ones converted from schools or factories–have onsite storage space. Condos don’t usually have basements or attics available for individual units, so it’s important to ask where you can put your off-season clothing and decorations.
#4 What does the condo insurance cover?
Every condo association has an insurance policy in place for residents. Find out what it covers and what you may be expected to pay out of pocket for major expenses like bringing the building up to code.
#5 Do I plan on moving in the next 5 years?
Condos don’t build equity as fast as single-family homes, so if you’re looking to move in less than 5 years, odds are that you won’t make your money back on the sale of your condo. Take into account the declining worldwide real estate market and you might be living in your new condo longer than anticipated. Make sure it’s somewhere you can stay for a while.
#6 What are the monthly association fees?
Condo fees are based on how many people are living in the building and how much it costs to maintain the property. You should be able to get a breakdown of the fees so you can see exactly where your money is going.
#7 Are there any rules I should know about?
Some condos don’t allow pets. As crazy as it sounds, there are often more rules in a condo than in an apartment, even though individuals own the units they live in. Make sure you know what the community rules are and that you can live by them.
#8 Are there any active lawsuits?
Condos are ripe with drama and lawsuits. Owners sue other owners, the building, the management team and anyone else they can think of. It’s wise to see if there are any active lawsuits happening in the building you’re looking at to get a better idea of the community dynamic. If there were in the past , it could be a sign of bad management or annoying neighbours.
#9 What do I own?
There may be parts of your condo that you don’t technically own. For example, porches and some interior walls might not be part of your property, which means you can’t change or alter them at will. Make sure you know what you own and what is community property in case something breaks or needs repair.
Asking these questions while looking at a condo will give you a better idea of the community you’re thinking of moving into. It’s a good way to decide if life in that particular building is right for you or something better avoided.