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Old 09-06-2007, 06:44 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,885 posts, read 18,564,317 times
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The term "condo" can mean a lot of things. Is it a ranch-style condo? Brownstone/townhome? Mid-rise apartment style? High-rise? Detached? Boat slip (dock-ominium)? Having that information might help break it down a little better.

In what city are you located DGDurmie? In some areas, condominium sales are doing better than single-family homes.
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Old 09-07-2007, 07:38 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn, NY
7,830 posts, read 11,248,707 times
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My advice is "location, location, location." Buy in good neighborhood, in an economically strong city, and you'll almost always appreciate over time.

In what area are you considering a purchase?
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Old 09-10-2007, 11:54 AM
 
49 posts, read 263,618 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjbradleynyc View Post
My advice is "location, location, location." Buy in good neighborhood, in an economically strong city, and you'll almost always appreciate over time.

In what area are you considering a purchase?
In the Chicago area, we both grew up on the NW side and would like to stay as close to that area as possible. I would prefer Edison Park or Norwood Park, but that's a little pricey for what we want, so we are also looking at Elmwood Park, Des Plaines, O'Hare area, Arlington Heights, and Mount Prospect. But, if we can find a place in Edison or Norwood Park I'd be in heaven! I've also seen the prices of SFH dropping a little though, so we still might be interested in a starter home fixer-upper......I guess it just depends on what's for sale!
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Old 12-27-2007, 10:44 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
27,798 posts, read 29,336,112 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zmehappy View Post
#1. Location, Location, Location

#2. Yes, very important to check the association fees. What did the fees start off as, what have been the yearly raises?

#3. Are there an abnormal amount of units for sale, if so inquire why? Have the condos been gaining in value?

#4. Look over the condo association share areas such as roofs, grounds, windows, drives, etc. any thing that could create an expense to the condo association.

#5. Talk to condo owners within the association, they will be the best source of information.

#6. Ask for the association balance sheet to view the expenses and most of all cash on hand.

#7. Is there a pool or lake, if so what are the liabilities to you as an owner.

#8. Is there a vacant land adjoining the project? Inquire what the plans are for this property? Commercial construction can bite into your equity.

#9. Why is the owner selling?

#10. Is there parking for guest

Hope others add to the list for you. Happy hunting and do your home (condo) work.

Very helpful. Would I expect these questions to be answered by the real estate agent selling, the owner? How available are documents with this information (ie. association balance sheets).
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Old 12-28-2007, 07:23 PM
 
Location: Gilbert - Val Vista Lakes
6,069 posts, read 13,921,663 times
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Originally Posted by BucFan View Post
Very helpful. Would I expect these questions to be answered by the real estate agent selling, the owner? How available are documents with this information (ie. association balance sheets).
The real estate agent should point you to where you can get the information, and assist you in obtaining it. S/he cannot research the documents for you because that is not the agents area of expertise.

Bill
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Old 12-29-2007, 07:44 AM
 
1,973 posts, read 3,975,372 times
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I've considered buying a condo as well but the maintenance fees can be killer. I found a really nice condo close to downtown, in my price range... But the maintenance fees would have essentially doubled my monthly payments. So you would definitely want a place that has reasonable maitenance fees... IMO

Does anyone know if you can negotiate monthly fees down?
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Old 12-29-2007, 08:33 AM
 
Location: Cary, NC
39,013 posts, read 67,577,975 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recuerdeme View Post
I've considered buying a condo as well but the maintenance fees can be killer. I found a really nice condo close to downtown, in my price range... But the maintenance fees would have essentially doubled my monthly payments. So you would definitely want a place that has reasonable maitenance fees... IMO

Does anyone know if you can negotiate monthly fees down?
Fees should reflect value received.
Fees are usually lower when you have less amenities, like a pool, tennis, playgrounds, lush landscaping, etc. But amenities are often desirable for lifestyle and for property values.
You will not be able to negotiate a lower fee than others with the same unit. All owners have to pay the fees for their share of the complex.

The best approach, IMO, is to help keep the fees low by supporting proactive maintenance to avoid assessments due to rundown conditions, community involvement like Community Watch, helping your HOA board with initiative and good citizenship.

Involvement with the HOA Board will also let you see the books, and expenses. Learn about property management and how expensive it is. Keep an eye on property management charges to know that they are within the contract and that work done by/contracted by the management company is done right and billed properly.

Press the board to pay all bills on time, handle surpluses wisely, take all available discounts, and to get multiple bids for major projects.
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Old 12-29-2007, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Gilbert - Val Vista Lakes
6,069 posts, read 13,921,663 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recuerdeme View Post
I've considered buying a condo as well but the maintenance fees can be killer. I found a really nice condo close to downtown, in my price range... But the maintenance fees would have essentially doubled my monthly payments. So you would definitely want a place that has reasonable maitenance fees... IMO

Does anyone know if you can negotiate monthly fees down?
The fees are set for the community by the board of directors. Everyone pays the same. They are not negotiable.

Bill
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Old 12-29-2007, 10:17 AM
 
Location: Nashville, TN
1,177 posts, read 3,923,079 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Bill View Post
The fees are set for the community by the board of directors. Everyone pays the same. They are not negotiable.

Bill
I agree, with one clarification. Everyone pays the same rate. Some HOAs calculate the fee using a rate per square foot, or rate per number of rooms, or some other objective measurement. This means different size condos/homes may pay a different fee, but based on the same rate.
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Old 12-29-2007, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Gilbert - Val Vista Lakes
6,069 posts, read 13,921,663 times
Reputation: 3862
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbone View Post
I agree, with one clarification. Everyone pays the same rate. Some HOAs calculate the fee using a rate per square foot, or rate per number of rooms, or some other objective measurement. This means different size condos/homes may pay a different fee, but based on the same rate.
I'll buy that for condo's because of the maintenance of the outside of the property.

For single family homes it's one rate because the fee is for the maintenance of the common areas and not for the exterior of the livable private units as it is in a condo.

Bill
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