What questions should I ask before buying a condo?

Q: In the golden age, I expected to sell a house and buy a condominium. After the recent tragedy and many other issues that have recently become apparent, I realized that I had to ask a lot of unexpected questions before buying anything. What questions do I need to ask if I finally decide to buy a condo? -Mary

A: Everyone needs to do a survey before buying a new home. Too many homebuyers seem to do the bare minimum before making the most important purchases in their lives.

This issue is complicated when dealing with community associations that offer another level of governance and potential issues. Sharing ownership of a building with your neighbors adds to the complexity.

Asking the right questions and carefully reviewing community documentation can reduce the risk of costly or exacerbating problems. Read Declarations or Restrictions and Community Rules.

Review at least one year’s board minutes and carefully review your budget and year-end finances to ensure that your potential neighbors are well managed.

Before you buy a condo, you should always ask specific questions: what are monthly rates and what do they cover? Is the reserve well funded to meet future maintenance needs? Does the building or site appear to be in good condition? Are there any special assessments under consideration or recently passed? How many owners are delinquent in membership fees? Are most units occupied by tenants or owners? Has anyone recently sued the association? Is the management company easy to handle?

There are also some personal considerations. Does your furniture fit? Is your potential neighbor noisy? Are they friendly? Does the community look like it fits your lifestyle? Is the parking lot suitable for your needs? Why are the current owners selling apartments?

Realtors can help you get these answers and suggest more. Look around for the agents you connect to, making sure they have the experience to help you find your next dream home.

Josh Green, 32, left, will tour Chicago’s refurbished Junior One-Bedroom Condo on March 12, 2021.

Gary M. Singer is a Florida lawyer and has been board-approved by Florida Bar as a real estate law expert. He practices real estate, business proceedings and contract law at his office in Sunrise, Florida. He is the chair of the real estate division of the Broward County Bar Association and co-sponsor of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults with various companies across the country on common Florida real estate issues and trends. Send him a question online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @ GarySingerLaw.

What questions should I ask before buying a condo?

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