Looking to buy a condo

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  • CauldCauld Registered User regular
    In NYC just about everyone who owns, owns some variation on a condo. It isn't considered scary.

    I find co-ops much scarier than condo's, personally. But, I also share some of Crowning's concerns regarding any type of shared ownership

  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Cauld wrote: »
    In NYC just about everyone who owns, owns some variation on a condo. It isn't considered scary.

    I find co-ops much scarier than condo's, personally. But, I also share some of Crowning's concerns regarding any type of shared ownership

    The "sudden assessment" of the co-op can be considered equivalent to the "boiler blew up" of the single-family home. When we were apartment hunting, the first question out of our mouths to realtors was "are there any upcoming assessments?" because they could be absolutely *astounding* as in, more than the mortgage.

    The biggest issue with condos/co-ops in NYC is how many people rent vs own. People who own have more investment in the common parts of the building. This is probably the same in other places.

  • ChopperDaveChopperDave Registered User regular
    Having just bought a co-op myself early this year, here's a few things I'd recommend looking out for:

    - Check out the building's reserves. A healthy reserve means that the building has hit a good balance of income from building fees vs. outlays for upkeep.

    - Ask about major projects or planned assessments that are envisioned for the next 3 years. My coop association is planning on doing a lot, from repairing the rooftop to the boiler, but it's all already been budgeted and paid for out of their reserves, so I (probably) don't have to worry about assessments for a while. If the building has no projects planned and nothing set aside, that's a bad sign, particularly for an old building.

    - Ask about the owner/renter ratio. Too many renters can turn a building into a "rental ghetto," which can affect quality of life. (Nothing against renters, I was one for nearly a decade, but they do tend to move in and out a lot, and can treat the building more roughly than owners because they have no stake in it.) Also, there can be tax ramifications. Washington DC, where I live, has a homestead tax break that applies to coops, but only when the building is at least 60% occupied by owners IIRC.

    - Check out association meeting notes for the past few years, if possible. These can give you a good idea of the way the association operates and what kinds of problems face the community.

    3DS code: 3007-8077-4055
    CelestialBadgerMichaelLCElvenshae
  • SimpsoniaSimpsonia Registered User regular
    One other thing, if possible, try to get a sense of the health of the association board itself. When I used to practice law, I had more than one condo development that needed to merge with other condo associations (in a similar shared plot). When the condos were developed, they were built piecemeal and set up on their own, sometimes as little as 4 units to a single association. The reason we needed to merge associations was that nobody was actually interested in serving on the board, and things went to shit quickly. Even in some 20-unit associations they still had trouble finding 3-5 unit owners to serve on the board. Apathy is very strong in some condo associations.

  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited October 2016
    The combined age of our board is greater than the bedrock the buildings sit on.

    However we did finally get them to update the lobbys and hall carpet, so change can be made. Just v e r y s l o w.

    MichaelLC on
    Echo wrote: »
    Something working on the first try is a source of great suspicion.
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