After you find the condo that you like and can afford, make the sale contingent on both a satisfactory inspection of the real estate and also the condo association documents and finances. It’s a good idea to hire a professional for each task. You will need a good home inspector to look at the real estate – roof, foundation, heating, electrical and other systems, and a lawyer experienced in real estate and condominium law to review the condo association. The association documents your attorney should review include:
- The master deed: This document determines your property rights and states specifically what is exclusively yours, what is owned in common with other members of the condo association and what may be commonly owned but not commonly shared.
- The unit deed with floor plan: This is your document of condo ownership.
- The condominium association bylaws: These condo bylaws determine how the property is to be governed and managed.
- The condo association’s rules and regulations: These declare the association’s standards of behavior, such as smoking, pet ownership, etc.
- The condo association’s budget and other financial statements.
Carefully review all of these documents with your attorney. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions, and that they are acceptable to you. Pay particular attention to the association’s budget and reserve funds and whether any special assessments are planned.
Making your condo purchase contingent on your comfort level with both the property and the association can help avoid unpleasant surprises down the road.