I haven't written on the topic ofcondo associations in a while, so I decided torevisitthis important topic for those in the market to buyaBoston condo.Whether my client is buying into a small, self-managed association or a large, professionally managed one, I always encourage them to speak with the management company and/or a trustee of the building. I want my clientsto have all the information they need to make a fully informed purchase. This is what I callcondo association due diligence.As noted above, there are a few ways that a condo association mightbe managed. Larger associations frequently will use a property management company to provide services such as cleaning and maintenance of common areas maintenance, garbage and recycling management, and snow removal. These companies will have knowledge of, and access to, the physical property and the financial information. Smaller associations tend to be self-managed, with at least one trustee withthe access and knowledge that a management company would otherwise have. Trustees can bea good resource for information because they are also residents of the building, and they often have a greater context of understanding that includes the experience of living there.In a smaller association, you may even want to speak with one of the association neighbors to learn more.There'san excellent articlecalled 10 Questions To Ask Before Buying A Massachusetts Condominium Unitwritten by Massachusetts real estate attorney Richard Vetstein of The Vetstein Law Group. As the article emphasizes, your purchase is about more than just your own living space. You are also entering into an association.A fewof the questions Attorney Vetsteinrecommends beingsure toask include:
What Does The Master Insurance Policy Cover?How many units are owner occupied?What is the monthly condominium fee and what does it pay for?
Youll also want to knowabout special assessments, so ask whetherthe association has plansto make improvements or repairs that arent covered by their reserves. Lenders will want to see that the association you want to buy into is putting 10% of condo fees into reserves. Ifyou're buying into have, for example, a four unit association with condo fees of $250 per month each, this means that lenders will want to seethat the association is budgeting $100 per month ($1200 per year) to its reserves fund.Do you have pets? If yes, thenyoull want to askwhether there are restrictions on having pets, or on the size or the number of them. Some associations may limit pet-keeping toa maximum of two dogs or two cats, or they may have restrictions prohibiting exotics such as reptiles.You should also ask ifyour condo ownership will includeexclusive access to parking, storage or decks.Review all 10 recommended questionsin the full article.Its important to me that my clientslearn about the physical and financial aspects of the association, in addition towhat its like living there.My Boston real estate buyer primerreviews relevant due diligence questions with regard to condo purchases.Lastly, it helps to go in with an experienced agent. Ive been helping buyers for 25years, so if you have any questions about buying or selling property in Boston, please feel free to please call me at617-584-9790. Or email me via theQuestions button below.
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