looking to buy a condo?

if you're sure you want to buy a condo, do so only if... 

     • You can afford the maintenance fee. Many first-time owners don't realize that a condo purchase means paying a monthly fee to the condo association. 

     • At least 90 percent of the condos in the development are owner occupied. 

     • The annual increase in the monthly maintenance fee for the past few years has not exceeded the general rate of inflation, or about 3 percent. 

     • Ninety-seven percent of the development's residents are current with their monthly payments. Remember, it's the other owners who must make up the shortfall when some owners fall behind. 

     • At least 10 percent of the association's annual budget goes into a reserve fund. 

     • The condo's roof and major mechanical systems are closer to five years old than they are to 15. If a development requires big upgrades, you could face a costly "special assessment" charge after moving in. 

Finally, talk to a few of the residents. They can be your most valuable resource for learning about the development's pros and cons.

Rebecca Novak

Rebecca Novak

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