Buying a Condo is not the Same as Buying a House

Condos are a popular housing choice with first time home buyers looking to get their foot in the door of home ownership.  They are also popular with buyers who want to be close to the hub of downtown life, and for people downsizing from houses.

But owning a condo is not the same as owning a house.  Here is a list of things to consider to ensure that you purchase as a fully informed buyer.

1.  What are the monthly association fees and what do they cover?  Both fees and coverage vary from one association to another, though typically common area maintenance and some insurance will be covered.

2.  What do the Association By-Laws, Rules and Regulations say?  What can and can't you do?

3.  Is there a pet policy?  Can you have pets?  If so how many, what size?

4.  Does the condo come with designated parking, or any parking?

5.  What is the condition of the building?

6.  Is there a special assessment in place or looming?  You don't want a surprise assessment shortly after moving in.

7.  What are the association's cash reserves?  Low reserves can impact your ability to get a loan AND are an indicator that a special assessment will be required for any major maintenance.

8.  Who is running the association?  Is it run by an outside management firm or is it run internally by volunteer members?

9.  What is the association fee delinquency rate?  More than 15% and you will have trouble getting a loan.

10.  Is there any current litigation?  Knowing about current or upcoming litigation is critical to protect your investment!