The word condominium comes from the Latin “con” meaning jointly, and “dominium” meaning ownership or control. A condominium is essentially an apartment which is owned by the resident; whether it’s a high-rise or a town house condominium it is a jointly owned complex. A condominium is usually governed by an association which may be made up of residents who occupy the units. A property management company may be in charge of the complex and maintenance.
Here are some things you should know before purchasing a condominium.
- If you are looking for a condominium and will be financing your mortgage with a FHA loan, advise your Realtor ahead of time! Not all complexes are FHA approved, which means that you will not be able to purchase the condominium. Conventional loans will allow you to purchase all listed condominiums. Visit the HUD website to check which complexes are FHA approved.
- Call the condominium association to see if there are any special assessments in the near future, this means that when the condominium association decides to change the siding in the entire complex you will be responsible for paying your portion. Please note major assessments usually require that all residents vote on the project before the association can move forward. The assessment will be an additional fee to your regular monthly condo fees.
- Obtain a Lender/Condominium questioner, some associations may charge you for this. The questioner informs you of several matters. It will tell you how many units are owner occupied, if the association is involved in any litigation, how many units are in the complex, pending/future special projects, and much more.
- Make sure you request a copy of the covenants, conditions and restrictions of the complex. This will inform you of all the rules and regulations you must follow when living in your condominium.
- Call the association and ask what exactly does the master insurance policy cover.
- Check with the association to see what your condominium fees cover, things such as landscaping, snow removal should be standard.
- Check with the association if there are any funds in reserve for future projects.