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Living Happily Ever After Blog Series: What you need to know when purchasing & owning a condominium

  • July 19, 2017

If you are looking at buying into a community, it’s important to know what you are buying into. There are many pros to owning a condominium over other types of properties. Whether it is your first purchase, an investment, or you are downsizing, you should have a clear understanding of the condominium’s Governing Documents to alleviate a lot of potential headaches down the road.

In this blog series, Stenger, Glass, Hagstrom, Lindars & Iuele LLP will cover every step of the process from purchasing, to buying, to dealing with your Board of Managers. We will answer frequently asked questions such as: what are the restrictions on what you can do both inside and outside of your unit (from construction, to gardening, to putting up a fence, to what you can leave outside). Who pays for certain renovations? Can you hire any contractor for work you want to do on your unit? What are the restriction on trash (what can be placed where and when). Can you bring your family pet to your new home, and what rules will need to be followed? What if you have a pest infestation–who is responsible? What restrictions are there on parking (how many spots, visitor spots, commercial vehicles). Can you operate a home office from your unit?

Many people don’t think of these things before making an offer and can find themselves buying into a community with various problems. Prior to making an offer, we suggest that you:

  1. Obtain the Governing Documents, which includes the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (also known as CC&Rs), including any changes or addendums. If you cannot find it, the Board of Managers are required by law to make copies of the Declaration, floor plans, and any rules and regulations available for inspection.
  2. Understand the Bylaws, Declaration and HOA rules and restrictions. Included is:
  • Powers and duties of the Board of Managers
  • Who the condominium is managed, whether it is an outside company (and the identity of of that company)
  • How many seats are on the Board of Managers and when the sponsor must give up control (if the sponsor still owns units)
  • Dates of meetings and elections for Board of Managers
  • Pet restrictions
  • Who is responsible for repairs (both inside and outside of your unit)
  • How to amend the bylaws
  • How to adopt or amend rules
  • How taxes for common elements are allocated
  • What services/expenses are included in the common charges
  • ….and more.

In the coming months, we will address these topics in more detail to help you avoid potential problems with your Board of Managers and cover what happens if something comes up that isn’t specifically addressed in the documents. If you are considering purchasing into a condominium, please contact our offices today at 845-298-2000 or stengerglass.com. Get to know our Real Estate team here.

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