Buying a condo is trickier than buying a house, because you’ll be sharing living space and financial responsibilities with other condo owners.
Buyers should look at a condo purchase as an investment in not just a property, but also a business: the homeowners association, says Gail Pizetoski, who owns Condo & HOA Smart, which provides due-diligence reports on homeowners associations for prospective buyers.
Make sure the association is not just financially sound, but also structurally sound, by reviewing HOA meeting minutes and talking to building residents, she says.
“Many owners aren’t aware of the full range of their responsibilities before they buy their condo,” Pizetoski says.
After all, the HOA manages the structure, community maintenance and landscaping.
Buyers should ask for the association’s audited financial statements, current statements and budgets to see if there is enough money to fund the operating budget and if enough is being put aside for repairs and long-term improvements, says Katie Wethman, a Realtor with Keller Williams in Washington, D.C.