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7 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Condo

Matt Warmack

Matt is the reason we’re all here—to help Seattle home owners and buyers achieve their goals...

Matt is the reason we’re all here—to help Seattle home owners and buyers achieve their goals...

Oct 1 4 minutes read

When you’re in the market for buying a condo, whether for your first home or due to downsizing, it pays to get familiar with the unique attributes of condo living. Popular shared  amenities can include a fitness center, pool, secure covered parking, apartment rental for owner’s guests, even a 24-hour concierge in the building.

While you may not have to worry about weeding your garden, mowing your lawn or fixing your roof, responsibility for maintaining your condo residence and getting along with neighbors doesn’t end once you sign the contract.

To become a happy condo owner, enlist your realtor’s expertise to guide you through the process of your purchase. Here are 7 areas to research before signing on the dotted line.

1. Is the condominium building self-managed by individual owners or by an external property management company? 

One is not necessarily better than the other, but consider the possible pros and cons of each when making your decision. For example, using a property management firm may mean higher monthly home owner association (HOA) dues. However, that might also mean that maintenance problems will be resolved more quickly.

2. What are the monthly HOA dues and projected annual increases?

Condo owners are responsible for monthly HOA dues on top of their mortgage payments. Determine how the dues are applied to renovation or repair projects.

3. How healthy are the Reserves?

The condominium Reserve Summary details the amount of funds currently available to finance repair and renovation projects, both projected and unexpected. If the Reserve funds are minimal, condo owners may receive a hefty assessment to cover the cost of those projects.

4. Are there pending assessments or previous assessments the new owner is required to pay?

Know exactly what your immediate as well as future financial obligations are as a condo owner in the building.

5. What are the condo rules and restrictions?

Rules and restrictions can cover everything from parking to pet ownership, homeowner responsibilities to use of common spaces, quiet hours to rental policies, patios and decks to emergencies. Knowing what to expect before you move in can prevent unhappy surprises later.

6. How adequately is the building insured?

Having adequate insurance coverage protects the condo owners’ investment. Regardless of the building’s insurance protection, however, buyers should also check with their own insurance agents to ensure sufficient coverage to cover the contents of the owner’s condo.

7. Are there any outstanding litigation issues?

Outstanding litigation concerns can indicate problems with how properly the property has been managed, boundary issues or injury claims.

Before purchasing your condo, educate yourself about the developers, have a professional site inspection completed, walk around the exterior of the property and finally, review all possible documents like the Resale Certificate which the listing agent is required to provide.

Owning a condo can be just the right purchase for your home needs. Want to learn more? Let The Warmack Team help you find the condo of your dreams.

Give us a call today at 206.494.0296 or email us at

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