Great post and obviously worth a "Featured Blog Star" as well as a reblog by me.
Going over all the appropriate documents, association minutes, rental only status, and your ability to rent if you need to are so you can see the red flags and react accordingly.
SFR's are very different than condos, and so are most townhomes (actually sort of in the middle) as to rules and regs.
My last client asked me very kindly, why are there so many additional things we have to ask for before submitting an offer to buy the condominium that I love? I answered equally as kind, and I quote, "there are factors that are involved in the purchasing of a condominium that are not always present when buying a single family home". This led to further discussion regarding the ins and outs of condo buying, culminating in a really great list of questions to ask, or at least find out about, before you submit your offer. Here is the list:
1. Make sure to review the condo docs! This might be one of the most basic, but most important of them all. And any lawyer worth what they are charging will make this mandatory anyway. This will ensure you understand the rules and regulations of the condo complex.
2. Ask for a copy of the association minutes... for the last two years! This will enable you as the consumer to really understand what is happening in the complex you are interested in.
3. Tour the property, and spend some time. Ask the neighbors what they think of the association and those who live there. This can provide invaluable information that you will never get from any document.
4. Find out how many of the condos in the complex are "rentals only", and how many possibly will be in the future. Condominium complex managers will often "fill" the unsold condos with rentals. Something to consider as the consumer.
5. What about pets? Most condominium documents will list whether pets are allowed or not; but find out if there are any restrictions regarding both the type and the number of pets occupants may have. This could save you a whole lot of trouble later on if you know going in that if you do purchase the condo, Fido has to live elsewhere.
6. Can you sublet or rent if necessary? Again, the documents you receive should cover this, but they may not. Ask, and you should be given an answer.
I hope this list helps some of you out there if you are thinking about purchasing your first condominium. As with any property purchase, excitment is a big part of the process. However, some really small details taken care of in the beginning can save a whole host of problems later.
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