So you have finally located your dream condo amidst swaying palms and freshly mown grass. And you are all set to make an offer... But wait, buying a condo is to be approached with as much caution as buying any other piece of real estate. This is because you are tending to invest more on this property. Once if you fail in the attempt you may lose a huge amount and the damage will be surplus. Hence even it consumes more time, it doesn't matter. You can be patience while buying condo. Obviously it is quite easy to buy a condo as there are more real estate agents who will help you in finding the condos according to your budget. But the fact is little effort is needed to buy the best condo which is riskless and according to all your expectation. Even if your agent tends to assist, you need to be well aware of some basic aspects of buying a condo. To make sure that you don't get stuck with a lame duck of a condo and condo association you must follow some basic ground rules to research what you have gotten into.
Check the Notice Boards
Go through the minutes of meetings on the condo association's notice board. This is a good way to know what residents have been complaining about and what sort of problems exist that the management is not addressing correctly. Even if you don't get to know the issues facing the condo, you can still get an idea of what projects are underway, sometimes those that the seller may not have mentioned.
Check the Legalities
Involving a lawyer in the purchase of a single family home or commercial property is normal, but it is also advisable in the case of a condo. Have a real estate lawyer go through the association'sbyelaws. Sometimes associations patch together laws from other residential projects and pawn them off onto confused residents. The lawyer can also screen the management to see if anybody has sued the place. Rental policies and rental lease should also be fine combed by the lawyer to check if all the details are giving clearly and are compliant with state laws. Do talk to other residents about their renting experiences and find out if the association will help find renters if need be. You need to be sure of this, as the less the renters there are, the more likely that associations can change its laws about renting.
Research the Management
Caution is advised for condos, which are managed by owners themselves. Self-management can usually means hassles for owners, especially those who live in other cities or states. If the condo is managed professionally then it is wise to check out the management as much as you would check out the association. Meet with managers and get a gauge of how efficient they are. Talk to residents and get their feedback on the management service and their track record so far. Make allowance for some amount of mistakes but look for patterns of repeated mistakes and negligence.
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