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Questions to Ask Your Condo Board

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Before You Leap: Essential Condo Questions for Savvy Buyers

So, you’ve found your dream condo! Before popping the bubbly, hold your horses! Buying a condo comes with unique responsibilities, and being informed before signing on the dotted line is key. That’s where the condo board, the governing body of your future community, comes in. These questions will help you assess their efficiency, uncover potential issues, and ensure you’re making a confident decision.

1. Home Sweet Homeownership:

Ask how many units are owner-occupied. Generally, more owners translates to better resale value and stability. Remember, you’ll be sharing the responsibility, so a higher owner ratio indicates a more invested community.

2. Rules & Regulations:

Don’t skip the boring stuff! Read the association’s bylaws and covenants carefully. These define what you can and can’t do within the building, from pet policies to parking restrictions. Make sure you can comfortably live within these rules, and ask about “grandfather clauses” – special exceptions enjoyed by existing owners that might not apply to you.

3. Money Matters:

How much moolah does the association have stashed away? A healthy reserve fund indicates good planning and preparedness for future repairs. But be wary of excessive reserves – they could suggest deferred maintenance issues lurking beneath the surface. Ask how this money is managed and invested to ensure accountability.

4. Keeping Up with the Joneses (Inflation):

Are association fees rising with inflation? Responsible boards gradually increase fees to build reserves for future needs. This prevents hefty special assessments down the line – think leaky roofs or broken elevators!

5. What’s Included, What’s Not?:

Know exactly what your monthly dues cover. This might include common area upkeep, security, trash collection, or even gym access. Be clear on these inclusions to avoid surprise expenses later.

6. Special Assessments: Buckle Up?:

Have there been any special assessments in the past five years? These are additional fees to cover unexpected expenses. While some are unavoidable, frequent or large ones could signal underlying problems with the building or the association’s financial management.

7. Happy Place or Revolving Door?:

What’s the turnover rate? A high turnover rate could indicate discontent among residents. While some movement is natural, excessive turnover might suggest underlying issues you’d want to understand.

8. Lawsuits on the Horizon?:

Is the building embroiled in any legal battles? Lawsuits can drain the association’s reserves and create financial burdens. Steer clear of buildings facing legal turmoil to protect your investment.

9. The Developer’s Track Record:

Who built the place? Research the developer’s history – have they built other successful projects? If possible, visit one of their previous endeavors and chat with residents about their experiences. This can offer valuable insights into the building’s quality and potential issues.

10. Not Just One Association?:

Are there multiple governing bodies involved? Large developments might have separate associations, each requiring additional fees. Understand the structure and financial stability of all involved before taking the plunge.


Consulting an attorney to review association documents is crucial. This ensures you understand all the legal implications and potential financial obligations before becoming a condo owner. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, seek professional guidance, and be thorough in your research. Buying a condo is a significant decision, and being informed empowers you to make the best choice for your future.

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