Before buying into the sales pitch used by realtors, developers or anyone selling a condo, take a real close look at your obligations. The main selling point to a lot of people is that condos are a worry free option. If you buy a condo you don’t have to worry about maintaining the property, fixing external damages or wear and tear, or mowing. The truth of the matter is that you absolutely have to worry about these things.
Owning a condo is not like renting an apartment, you are responsible for maintaining the property and the exterior but typically this is taken care of through your regular condo fees, special assessments and under the direction of a property manager or condo president. In a good situation you don’t think about this regularly, if at all, because your manager is doing a good job and your fees are being used appropriately. In a bad situation this may not only cause you worry but may cause financial hardship and even foreclosure.
Having a bad condo manager can result in huge unnecessary expenses that are not covered by your condo fees and special assessments can be more than you can afford. You could also be stuck with a bad batch of owners or no condo owners. If your condo is not full or you have a lot of owners that are defaulting on their condo fees there isn’t enough money in the “slush fund” to pay for repairs and routine maintenance and unfortunately the responsible condo owners typically get stuck with the bill.
So before you fall for the worry free line, take a good look at the condo and evaluate its occupancy and the foreclosure rate in the area. Worry a little now and you may save yourself from panicking in the future.