Buying A Condo In 2020- 7 Steps For Success



Buying a condominium can be a good decision.  A condo can have a lower cost to buy in over a single-family home.  It can also provide amenities that a single-family home could never provide you.  And, much of the maintenance is done for you.

But before delving into a condominium purchase, realize you are buying a piece of a whole.  While you own your own unit you have a common ownership in some of the building’s structure and systems, common areas like roads and grounds, etc…

You may have use of these areas buy you also share in the expense of maintaining.  While this is not a bad thing you do have rules to follow and there is a governing board that manages the complex.  Some decisions are not solely yours to make.

Tips To Buy A Condo In 2020

1- Hire The Right Agent

Buying a condo is different than a single-family home.  You want someone who is well versed in buying a condo.  An agent with condo experience will help you navigate the ins and outs of buying a condo as well as point out things you never realized.

2- Make Sure Condo Living Is Right For You Before You Buy

Not everyone is a good fit for a condo.  While some aspects of owning a condo is attractive to some, it is a turn off for others.  The three big points to know about living in a condo is rules, control and privacy

There are rules you must abide by and not all the decisions are yours alone to make.  Also due to the close proximity of the units, there may be neighbors that may be a little to close for comfort.

3- Understand Your Condo Ownership

Understanding what you own and don’t own may not be as obvious as you think.  For example, parking may not be owned by you and can be assigned by the management company.  Your parking spots could change over time.

Or, the plot of land behind your condominium is probably common land that anyone can use. 

Or, what if a pipe breaks in the wall, does the Home Owners Association own the pipe or do you?

Understanding your ownership is critical in avoiding surprises in the future.

4- Research Management

Your complex will mostly be governed by a Board of Trustees and a management company.  Find out how ell the complex has been run in the recent past.  Is maintenance being done in a timely manner? Is the board acting appropriately?  Are other owners happy?

Bad management can lead to a bad experience.  Do a little bit of homework.

5- Review The Documents

The documents including the Declaration of Trust, Master Deed, Bylaws and Rules and Regulations, will inform you on what you need to know.  The document will spell out how Trustees are elected, how the complex is governed, the rules you must abide to and your individual and common ownership.

6- Review The Financials

At the very least review the current budget.  Make sure the budget is met based on the fees that are collected with at least 10% of the budget going to reserves.  Are there large loans being paid on?  And why?

Think about asking for a history of special assessments and if there has been a recent reserve study.

The unit could be great but you don’t want to be buying into a financial mess.  Their financial problems could become yours.

7- Ask Questions

Don’t assume. If you are wondering about something ask the question.  Owning a condo is very different than owning a single-family.  Not everything is obvious.

  • Don’t assume you can have pets.
  • Don’t assume you can have a grill on your deck.
  • Don’t assume you can install a satellite dish.
  • Don’t assume you can park three cars.
  • Don’t assume you can leave play equipment in the yard.
  • etc…..

Summary

Buying a condo can certainly be a good choice for you.  Just know what you are getting into before you purchase. 

These 7 tips will help you down the path of peaceful enjoyment of your new condo.

Kevin Vitali About Kevin Vitali

About Kevin: Kevin has been a full time agent for almost 18 years. Kevin works the Tewksbury MA Real Estate market as well as Essex and Northern Middlesex Counties in Massachusetts. Kevin is a regular blogger who enjoys educating consumers about how to make the most of their next home purchase or sale. Kevin can be reached at 978-360-0422.

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