The following are some helpful tips when purchasing a condominium:
– Hire a realtor that has experience with buying and selling condominiums
– Visit buildings that interest you. Find out if the amenities you require are available. If distance to the metro is important, actually walk to the metro from the building. Your realtor should be able to provide basic details on the building and a market analysis of previous sales.
– Talk to the onsite manager (if possible) and / or talk to the property manager assigned to the building for the management company. Ask them if they have any knowledge about any ongoing maintenance issues, upcoming construction projects requiring special assessments, and monthly due increases. Also, you can tell quite a bit about how a building is run by how courteous, helpful, and professional the management team acts.
– Actually inspect the parking space and storage unit (if applicable)
– Review the “Resale Packet”. The Virginia Condominium Act allows the buyer 3 days for review. You can try to read it all but it is pretty dry stuff. Here are some highlights to look for during review:
*Make sure the unit inspection is free of violations. Look to see there are not any non approved modifications or Bylaw violations noted
*Make sure there are not any special assessments levied on this unit
*Make sure you have all of the meeting minutes for the Association meetings and they are current. Read over the minutes and see if there was any discussion about ongoing maintenance issues, upcoming construction projects, and monthly due increases.
*Look at the financials
*Look at the Bylaws / Rules and make sure there are not any “deal killer” rules (i.e.; 30lb limit on pets and you have an 80lb dog)
– Purchase a Condo homeowner’s insurance policy. The lender will not require proof of homeowner’s insurance because the Association has a Master Insurance Policy. It is highly recommended to get an insurance policy that covers your belongings and the interior of the unit. Most insurance professionals can help you with this item.
No matter who you are, condominiums offer a very good alternative for homebuyers for a variety of reasons. With a little knowledge and due diligence, and the right realtor, your home buying experience should be very enjoyable.
If you have questions regarding the above or any real estate question, please feel free to contact Julia or Tommy Avent