Questions to ask when buying a condo
In a housing market as tough as Colorado’s, sometimes buying a condo is easier than buying a house. In order to make the best choice, work with a real estate agent who has experience buying and selling condos. Once that’s taken care of, ask these questions about every condo you look at.
What are the rules for this condo?
Each association has a specific set of rules and bylaws that condo owners are required to follow. Common rules include items such as where residents can park and whether or not they have pets. Some condos, however, can have more specific rules such as where holiday decorations can be hung. Other rules cover whether or not condos can be rented out, and if so for how long. Make sure you know in advance what the rules for the condo are, and decide whether or not you can live by them.
This is also the best place to ask about the fees attached to the condo. Most condos have monthly fees that amount to a couple of hundred dollars. You won’t be able to avoid paying them, but it’s best to know the specific amount in advance. Also, ask exactly what the condo fees cover. Anything that isn’t included will be an additional fee.
What are the biggest complaints?
If other people have problems with the condo, you’ll probably run into the same issues. Pervasive complaints, with anything from the plumbing to the management, offer clues to larger problems that are hard to see in advance. This is also the area where you ask about any impending lawsuits against the condo, which often started as complaints.
What does the insurance cover?
For this, ask to look at the condo’s insurance policy directly. This will often include information about any repairs/remodels that are covered, as well as estimate costs. Make sure all estimates are current, and what the total costs of any remodel would be. If the building isn’t up to code, a remodel will be required. This is also the place to check whether your personal belongings will be covered.
If you have trouble understanding the policy, ask for a copy to take to your preferred insurance agent. If they won’t, ask if you can bring your insurance agent to look at the policy. If they refuse both, they’re probably not the right condo for you.