Understand the Condo Difference Before You Buy

You've been looking at condos, and you've found the perfect one. You like the unit's size and layout, the purchase price suits your budget, and the monthly condo association fee seems reasonable. You're set to seal the deal.

Not so fast, experts advise. Here are some behind-the-scenes issues to investigate before buying:

  • Check rules and restrictions: Prospective condo owners often assume they'll have the same freedoms they'd have as owners of a single-family home. Not so. Condos may have rules on everything from your ability to have a pet to the color of your front door. Read the rules before you buy.
  • Get a complete picture of ownership costs: Condo owners share responsibility for maintenance of common property, such as the physical structure exterior and swimming pool. Which maintenance costs does the monthly association fee cover? Remember, that monthly payment is not fixed, but can vary depending on expenses. And part of your fee should go into a reserve to cover major maintenance, such as a roof replacement. If reserves are insufficient, you may get hit with a special assessment.
  • Delve into the association's finances: Besides checking if reserves are ample, you need to know if other owners are paying their association fees. If some aren't, other owners have to cover the shortfall.
  • Size up property management: The quality of common property upkeep has a huge effect on whether you'll enjoy living in your condo. Ask other owners whether the property manager does a good job.
  • Learn about the association board: Talk to other owners to get their perceptions of the board. Ask to talk to a board member, too. You'll get more insight into whether this community and the way it operates are a good fit for you.

The loan specialists at Harvard Credit Union are available to help with your mortgage needs—whether you're purchasing a condo or a single-family dwelling. Click here to learn more about mortgages from HUECU. If you're looking for friendly and sincere advice, HUECU representatives are here to help. You can stop by any of our branch locations, email us or call us at (617) 495-4460.



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