Things to Consider when Buying a Condo?
Get good real estate guidance when buying a condo
Buying a Condominium takes forethought.
If you are considering buying a condominium in Rhode Island there is information you need to know. Have all the information at hand when making a decision to purchase in a particular condo complex. Please remember that bylaws and condo documents are different from complex to complex.
Are you sure you want a condo or a single family house in RI coastal real estate? Can you continue to maintain a home? Knowing whether or not you are physically capable is a determining decision. Explore your options and discuss the financial differences with your real estate agent who knows the condo complexes where you may want to live.
As part of the Purchase & Sales agreement, the seller must provide the buyer of the condo the following:
- Copy of the Condominium Declaration
- Copy of the Condominium Bylaws
- Copy of the Rules and Regulations of the Condominium Association
These documents should be received after signing the purchase & sales agreement and received from the listing agent.
A copy of the Master Insurance Policy and the Resale Certificate is usually requested from the sellers just prior to closing (within the same month of the condo closing). It is obtained from the Homeowners Condo Association, Condo board or Management Company by the sellers.
RI law allows the buyer ten (10) days to review and accept these condo documents. If during this period the buyer does not accept the documents, a written notice to the seller giving notice of this non-acceptance will require the seller to return all deposits to the buyer and the sales agreement is terminated.
So why is this important when purchasing a condo?
Well there are a number of things to be aware of as far as how the condo complex is being managed. Looking at the budget and upon reviewing documents one can determine whether the condominium complex is involved in any litigation or any special assessments for improvements to the building are outstanding. These costs will become your responsibility after closing so it is a must to know.
Also, is the Homeowner’s Association (HOA) financially sound or does it lack the cash reserves needs to be determined prior to closing. You want to ensure that the homeowners association has an adequate capital reserve fund for any problems that arise for the units. Such things would be siding, roof, decks to name a few items. Most condo complexes do not have adequate capital reserves for major improvements to the condo complex (i.e roof replacement, siding, painting of exterior, driveways resurfaced, etc.) so a special assessment will need to be levied from time to time on condo owners. A strong condo property manager has assessed the needs and shows the plan for the next couple of years. There is a great misconception with condo ownership that your monthly condo fees take care of everything! Not true in most cases. The condos with the highest monthly condo fees ($600+ month) may have assessments built in to ensure special assessments occur rarely…pay now or pay later…the result is the same.
When buying a condominium determine if the condo complex is FHA approved?
Very important to determine if you are obtaining financing through FHA. Without having gone through the FHA approval process for the condominium complex, a borrower will not be able to get FHA financing. However, a buyer can purchase a RI condo with a conventional loan and putting 10-20% down to secure a mortgage. Financing on condo complexes has become more flexible as of 2013.
Also, a buyer needs to know if there are any or how many of the condos in a complex may be in foreclosure, behind on
their HOA fees or investor owned. Remember when other condo owners are not paying their monthly share of monthly condo fees that burden can fall on the remaining condo owners. The documents should provide you with the number of condominiums that are in foreclosure status, if any. A resale certificate is required by lenders at closing from the sellers which will tell them most of the information mentioned here. The lender wants to ensure that the complex is sound financially.
I usually do not recommend buying into a smaller condo complex (8 units or less) for some of the prior reasons. Just consider your options carefully and talk with a North Kingstown Real Estate agent that can guide you well in your condo sale or purchase.
You want to be sure you have an adequate base of owners to draw funds from when large capital improvements are necessary (maintenance is needed on all condos just like a home). When buying a condominium in a condo complex it needs to be well maintained by its owners to uphold its value. Plus peoples personalities in smaller complexes can impact the ‘joy of living’ in small condo complexes.
Condominium Rules and Regulations are important to review in case there are items in there that were not disclosed to you earlier.
Such as having multiple or no animals (impacts later re-sale potential) or putting plants or grills on your deck, etc. Knowing that you have a monthly condo fee to pay and when it is due is important too. Living in the condo means that the condo association is the higher power here so learn to get involved so you have a greater say in the operation of the complex. Plan to be an active member of the condo association.
Your real estate agent should review the documents too but if you are unsure of some of the items and want a legal review, your real estate attorney will be of great assistance to you.
The last piece of documentation needed when you are buying a condominium is the resale certificate…
The Resale Certificate is requested by the listing agent about a week prior to closing (depends upon the condo complex rules) and is needed for closing for the real estate attorney and the lender. The resale certificate should be reviewed thoroughly for any pending litigation, financial health against the condo. Ensure the capital reserves are ever present in the complex you are buying into. If all the documents provided are to your satisfaction, you will proceed to closing and have a new condo unit to move into.
Condo living provides less personal day to day maintenance and may be an option of living that truly appeals to you especially if you travel a lot, are in your senior years, live alone or just don’t want to take care of house maintenance any longer.
Give me a RI real estate call and I will sort out the condo complex complexities with you in your southern RI condo search. Here are some current ones on the market:
Call me at 401.529.7849 or email me at ginny@RiHouseHunt.com today. It is your opportunity to connect with me and buy and sell great condo RI real estate. My goal is to guide you well through the condo process whether buying or selling because I know condos.
Are you Considering Buying a Rhode Island Condominium? Buying a Condominium?
Ginny Lacey Gorman is your go to RI coastal real estate agent for all real estate in Rhode Island and beyond…knowing the geographic area, schools, happenings, important tidbits of information and businesses well.
Waterfront, oceanfront, luxury and coastal RI real estate are her specialty but all of RI is her backyard. When you are in need of a good professional for your buying and selling needs and an internet savvy marketer and real estate agent who sells RI houses in this real estate market – call Ginny at 401.529.7849.