Factors to Consider When
You’re Buying a Condo
Purchasing a home in a condo building involves some extra considerations that typically don’t factor into buying a single-family home. Rather than reviewing only the physical condition of a home, purchasers need to get a sense of the physical condition and upkeep of an entire building. Also, they have to do some due diligence about a building’s management and financial status. Here are some salient issues that condo buyers need to evaluate.
Sharing common areas with other homeowners may mean having to compromise a little bit on some personal freedoms. A condo’s rules will set forth restrictive covenants that could impact how people use their property. Putting restricting pet ownership or limiting the number of pets that a unit owner may have are examples of restrictive covenants. Also, condo buildings in areas that are popular vacation destinations may limit the frequency with which owners may rent out their units. Likewise, some buildings may prohibit short-term rentals.
Review a condo’s rules to make sure that none of them prevent a building from meeting your needs. If you’re looking at Jacksonville FL condos for sale, ask your realtor for help accessing a condo’s governing documents.
Condos finances and day-to-day operations are governed entirely by a board of directors. Unit owners elect board members. Elections are usually annual. The membership is entirely dependent on the efforts of its board to serve its collective interest. If an association does not have a full or functioning board, it may be a sign that the association’s management is problematic.
It is common for condo associations to hire third-party property management companies to manage their activities. Associations issue companies authority to maintain the premises, collect dues from residents, and enforce an association’s rules. Find out who the property management company of a building is and what their local reputation is like. You can read reviews online and check for complaints with the Better Business Bureau. You can also verify that the company and individual manager have any special licensing required by some states. Additionally, try to find out what types of assistance the company provides to residents for maintenance issues and what issues are a resident’s sole responsibility.
Condo unit owners should have insurance covering the interior of their units. Even if a homebuyer is not required to have insurance because he or she purchases a home outright, a condo’s governing documents such as a declaration of condominium or by-laws may require all unit owners to carry insurance coverage. For the most part, condos want owners to have a form of recourse if there is damage to their unit lest they attempt to hold the association. Also, a unit owner may be liable to the association if a condition in his or her unit causes damage to the common areas of a building.
It is important to remember that a condo’s insurance policy will exclude coverage for most damage occurring within units. People who are considering a home in a condo building should get quotes from carriers who offer competitively priced premiums. Also, prospective purchasers should verify the current insurance coverage of a building. Allowing a policy to lap or failing to meet minimum thresholds imposed by state laws should be a red flag. Likewise, multiple pending claims that are impacting the price that an association must pay to secure coverage may be legitimate cause for concern.
Purchasing a condo is a good option for people who want to live in a particular area or have access to popular amenities in luxury buildings. However, it is important that homebuyers do sufficient research about a building before buying a unit in it.