Three Questions To Ask Before Buying A Condo

If you've found a condo you love in a conveniently located community, then you may be preparing to make an offer on the home. But before you do, it's important to ask your realtor or the condo association management a few more questions to ensure you know exactly what you're getting into. Here's a look at three questions you should ask and the type of answers you should look for.

What are the biggest complaints among community members?

Try to get a handle on the types of things current residents of the community are griping about. If they're minor issues like the trash being picked up late or the lawns being mowed too late in the afternoon, there's probably no cause for concern. But if residents are complaining about repairs that aren't being made on time, amenities that aren't being well kept up, or other serious issues, you may want to reconsider your condo purchase.

If the condo association doesn't seem overly forthcoming about residents' complaints, you might want to consider sitting in on a condo association meeting yourself. You'll hear the complaints residents make firsthand.

What does the condo association's insurance cover?

When you own a condo, purchasing your own homeowner's insurance can get a bit confusing. Depending on the level of coverage offered through the condo association, you may need to buy a very inclusive policy yourself or no policy at all. Make sure you understand what the condo association does and does not cover so you can get an accurate estimate of how much you'll pay for your own coverage — and take this into consideration in your budget.

What do the monthly fees cover?

In most any condo community, you'll pay a monthly association fee. But what this fee actually covers varies from community to community. For example, in some communities, the fee might cover the water bill, but in others, it may not. In some communities, the fee may cover access to the fitness center, and in other communities, you may have to pay an additional fee for the fitness center. Knowing what's included in the fee will help you make a wiser decision as to how much you should offer for the condo and what other monthly costs you'll still have to account for.

If the insurance coverage is to your liking, the fees cover what you need them to, and the residents don't seem to have many serious complaints, then go ahead and make your offer.