New condos are sprouting up like weeds in Seattle for a variety of reasons… The Seattle Times has an article worth reading if you are considering buying a condo. Keep in mind that owning a condo is legally very similar to owning a home:
“Most people see condo living as somewhere between owning your own home and renting an apartment, but it’s more like owning your own home. There’s a responsibility that each homeowner has, whether they accept it or not,” said Craig, a board member of the state chapter of the Community Associations Institute, a group that provides educational information about homeowners associations.
“The best advice I can give to anyone buying a condo,” she said, “is to educate themselves as to what they’re buying and to be involved in the maintenance and operation of the condominium.”
If you are in the market for a condo, do your research and try to think of all the potential issues that might arise. Here’s a summary of the advice given in the article:
- Ask for the key data on the condo, such as the number of units and number of parking spaces.
- Ask the board for copies of the association’s bylaws, rules and regulations to learn the rules that govern the association.
- Ask for the Builders public offering statement, which includes valuable information such as a list of the builder’s five most-recent condominium projects, restrictions regarding renting, a list of common amenities and known assessments.
- Ask the unit owners to provide resale certificates to potential buyers, which should include valuable information such as expected special assessments, ongoing litigation and the amount of reserves available for repairs.
- Ask for minutes and agendas from past meetings.
- Ask for a “reserve study” that can give clues on potential structural defects (note that this might not be available.