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Screen Your Condo Board Before You Buy

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By : Adam Robinson    99 or more times read
You've spent countless hours at sales presentations and touring through model condo units, and now finally you're ready to take the plunge. You love the condo, but before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you're equally compatible with the condo association. Take some time to go through the following check list before you buy. You'll be glad you did!

1. Review the minutes of the last few condo board minutes to see what types of complaints members are voicing. The minutes will also give you an idea of future projects or repairs the seller didn't bother to mention.

2. Have the owners being paying their dues on time? If there is a high rate of delinquency, it could be a sign of discontented members or an underfunded reserve fund.

3. On the topic of reserve funds, find out when the last review was conducted. The board should have a long term schedule set up for the types of updates or repairs they will be facing. If the association is not applying at least 20 to 25 percent of members' dues to the reserve fund, this could be a sign that the building is either being neglected or due for a hefty increase.

4. Request a copy of the certificate of insurance which summarizes the association's policy. Check to see that replacement costs are in line with today's prices. Next, look for a building-ordinance clause. If it's included in the policy, it means the insurance company will pay for any costs required for updating the building code in the case of rebuilding. Finally, understand what the insurance company covers and what you are responsible for.

5. Take a copy of the association bylaws to a real estate lawyer to ensure they're up to date and make sense. You can also have the association screened for any prior or impending lawsuits. Beware of condo boards that are quick to take owners to court instead of negotiating solutions.

6. Find out what the association's policy is on renting, especially if you are considering renting out your unit. Will the management company locate and screen possible tenants? Bylaws applicable to renting can be changed at any time, so if this is what you are considering, ensure the board does not discourage the practice.

7. Find out whether the condo is managed by a board of owners, or through a professional management company. A bad manager can make living in your dream condo a nightmare.
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