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"Mimi Weisinger Presents..."

Mimi Weisinger
Broker/Salesperson in NJ
105 Union Avenue
Cresskill, NJ 07626
201-871-0800


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Buying a Condo


Questions to Ask When Buying a Condo

 

"Today's Buyers Rep," the newsletter of the Real Estate Buyer's Representative Association, recently outlined some questions that are important to ask when buying a condominium.

  • 1. Ask for time to receive and review the condominium association's rules and financials before your offer is final.  In New Jersey, ask your attorney to make final acceptance of the contract contingent upon reception and time to review the Condo declaration, by-laws and budget.

            In exchange for the association taking care of outside maintenance and the common elements such as the pool, residents give up some rights.  More and more associations are restricting the right to rent a unit; sales are restricted to owner occupants. Some require the buyer to live in the unit for a year before renting it out.   Many associations do not allow pets or will only permit smaller pets. Make sure you know and are comfortable with the restrictions and rules of the condo community before you commit.

  • 2. Ask for information that will tell you the financial health of the community. Call the condo association or management company for this information.  They should be willing to share this with you readily.

            What is the history of the repairs for the complex?  If numerous repairs have been necessary in the recent past, it may mean that future repairs may also be necessary with new special assessments.  Request a history of the assessment charges for the past five years and inquire if any assessments are planned for the future.  Excessive fees may negatively impact upon the resale value of the unit.

            How large is the capital improvements fund? Ask if there are adequate reserves for deferred maintenance?  If the building is twenty years old, for example, the roof may be due to be replaced.  Is there a fund in place?  Is it adequate to pay for the replacement?  If you have stretched your budget to the limit purchasing this home, you don't need any financial surprises the first few years.

 

          3.  Ask for information about the management company.

 

            Ask what its role and objectives are for this complex. 

 

            To find out more about the management company, look up the  the management company and the complex on the Internet.  Go to www.google.com and put the name of the management company or complex in quotes ("Name"). Very often you will find news stories or minutes posted on the web.  Just remember, those who post comments are often only those who are have negative opinions. 

  • 4.  Ask for information about the current elected leadership. 

            Call the Board President and ask questions about the complex.  Is the president willing to spend time with you answering questions?  How cooperative is the individual?  Very often you can get a feel for the community through the leaders it elects to represent them.

  • 5. Ask about the neighbors.

            You can ask the owner if he has any complaints about the neighbors, but it might be better if you ask the neighbor's neighbors.  If the seller is moving out because the teenager next door has taken up the drums or acoustic guitar, he may not tell you the whole truth about the nuisance because then you won't buy the unit. 

 

  • 6. Ask for information about the association's hazard insurance policy.

           Who is the insurance company for the association and how much liability insurance does it carry?  If a body of water is nearby, does it carry flood insurance? You may consider obtaining homeowner's insurance from the same company so that if damage does occur to your unit, there are no questions as to which insurance company will be responsible for what damage. 

 
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