By Rose Sklar
When looking to buy a condo, do your research first. Explore target areas and narrow down what suits your lifestyle best. What is most important to you? Accessibility to work and transportation, school districts, amenities, etc.? Do you prefer a garage or parking space? Do you have a pet? Always check for pet breed and size restrictions. Also, keep in mind that condo living is different from single family home living. Proximity to your neighbors is much closer.
Set a realistic budget and don't forget the maintenance fees. If you are looking in a high rise, consider the exposure and unit floor location. Visit each exposure for your preferred views. Note to self: buildings have a 40-year reinspection to certify the integrity of the building. This, many times, can cost the homeowner large assessments to correct those items no longer up to code. Make sure the building has good financials (reserve funds set aside for maintenance projects and future expenditures). Always check for any pending assessments as well as ownership and voting rights in the association.
Be sure to ask questions and get answers. You will want to know the following:
What is included in the maintenance? Usually maintenance and repairs to common areas.
What do condo fees cover?
Who cleans the windows?
What are the unit boundaries? (interior areas or exterior wall, roof and behind the drywall)
Can you have a BBQ or smoke on your balcony?
Can you work from home? Always check the restrictions.
Can you rent your unit? If so, how many times per year? Can you use Airbnb or another short-term rental arrangement?
Are there guest rules and limitations? How long can guests stay and where can they park?
Is there any storage in the building for seasonal items like bikes and sports equipment?
Living in a condo has many advantages, namely the large number of luxury amenities such as concierge services. With fitness at a high priority, most new buildings now have a gym on premise. Pools are commonplace, especially here in South Florida. Be sure to find out if there are any restrictions on use. Communal barbeque areas are also common amenities, as most buildings do not allow a personal BBQ on the balconies.
And lastly, remember you are responsible for attending meetings or at least getting the minutes. If the bylaws change, you are responsible, even if you did not know.
Rose Sklar of The Sklar Team has 20 years of South Florida real estate experience along with her partner and husband, Dean. They have a ten-year streak as No. 1 in both volume and units in the City of Weston and were named the No. 1 Coldwell Banker agents in all of Broward County in 2018 ― both by Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate. They nationally outrank 99.5 percent of all NRT Coldwell Banker agents. The Sklar Team at Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate is located at 2690 Weston Rd., Suite 101, Weston, FL 33331. For more information, call 954-298-3626 or visit SklarTeam.com.