Condos in Massachusetts can be a great alternative to single family living. The key is to select a quality condo in a complex with good resale value. Since condos contain a combination of shared and individual elements, there are several factors to consider before buying one. Here are 5 things to ask before buying a condo in Massachusetts.
1 – What are the Rules and Regulations?
Every condo complex has rules and regulations included in their by-laws. Be sure to review this information closely. Know what you are allowed to or, more importantly, not allowed to do in your individual unit and common areas. For instance, if you have a bike and plan to store it on the balcony, verify that you can do so. Otherwise, you may need to seek other storage options. Rules and regulations have the purpose of preserving a certain quality of life and visual appeal of the condo community, and most are entirely reasonable. However, some complexes may have unusual or unexpected rules that you will want to know about ahead of time.
2 – How much is saved in reserves?
Condo fees typically cover maintenance and operating expenses for the community and contribute to a growing reserve for future capital improvements. Capital improvements are major expenses such as exterior painting, paving, roof repairs, etc. Shortages in reserves often result in either one-time assessments or increased condo fees, neither of which is desirable for any condo owner. Reviewing the current reserves and condo budget can give you a sense of how well the condo association is managing their finances.
3 – Are there any anticipated assessments?
Condo sellers are required to tell you about any determined/finalized assessments. But what about potential assessments that haven’t been voted on? Imagine how you would feel if you learned about an assessment just 6 months after buying the condo? Perhaps this assessment wasn’t determined yet at the time you purchased the unit, but there may have been hints of a possible assessment prior. How would you learn about these? A great place to start is by requesting a copy of past condo meeting minutes.
4 – Was this a condo conversion?
One of the most important things to ask before buying a condo in Massachusetts is whether the condo was a conversion. In other words, was the building previously used as apartments before converted to condos? And if so, were any structural or system upgrades completed to facilitate that conversion?
5 – What are the owner occupancy rates?
Owner occupancy rates are something that you should ask about before submitting an offer on a condo unit. There are two reasons to be concerned about this. First, owners tend to take better care of their property than renters. Thus, a complex with high owner occupancy rates might be better maintained than ones with mostly renters. Secondly, lenders often require a certain percentage of owner occupancy for mortgage approval. It is a better use of your time to focus on complexes with sufficient owner occupancy levels.
Final Thoughts on Buying a Condo in Massachusetts
By covering these 5 things to ask before buying a condo in Massachusetts, you can save time and make better condo buying decisions. Don’t forget to consider condo insurance to protect your investment and belongings. By bundling a policy with your auto insurance, you can save money. Contact us to request a free estimate.