Throughout the pandemic, individual free standing homes were the main discussion point as buyers looked for more living space away from the bustle of the city. However, the recent Surfside condo collapse in Miami has unfortunately brought condos into focus for all the wrong reasons. There is nothing wrong with owning a condominium – in fact there are many amazing benefits! – below are 5 tips to improve your condo experience, whether you are looking to buy one today or have lived in your unit for years.
1. Check the original builder – this is critical but often overlooked!
It is very easy to think that all apartment buildings are the same because they are tall buildings that “must have met the building code” but, as Miami sadly proves, this is never the case. There are various home builders throughout the country and, as you’d expect, some are better than others, so do your research and buy a condo from a high quality builder. It may be more expensive in the short term to do this but will be cheaper long term since your HOA will have less issues to fix. There’s nothing worse than receiving a “special assessment” notice in the mail since the builder did something cheaply that is now becoming an issue two years later…
2. Investigate HOA and board history
No two HOAs are the same, even if the fees are similar from building to building. We have seen many communities where there are multiple buildings that look identical and make up a “community” but each have their own HOA with vastly different management styles. It is your right as the buyer of a condo to review the HOA history prior to purchase in order to understand the fees that have been charged through the years. If the HOA history does not look acceptable to you, do not buy the property!
3. Communicate with the board – they aren’t your enemy!
Everyone loves complaining about their HOA board but staying in constant communication with them allows you to understand why they are making the countless decisions that must be made.
4. Become involved – don’t just sit back
Boards are made up of actual homeowners and they like to get to know people that attend the monthly meetings since most people do not bother to go! You should make it a habit to attend.
5. Know your responsibilities vs the HOAs
Our final tip for owning a condo is to know what your responsibilities are and what falls on the HOA. When owning a condo it’s easy to think that the HOA will take care of all issues within your property, but do not forget that you are responsible for your specific unit. Stay up to date with everything you pay for and control personally, such as balconies, flooring, heating, AC and everything in between.
This article begins our mini series on HOAs. As always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org we love to discuss the topics we write about! We send our condolences to families of the Surfside Condo Collapse victims and hope our articles in the coming weeks will make you a more informed condo buyer/owner.