When you purchase a condominium, you are purchasing the air space contained in your unit plus an undivided interest in the property in the common area. You are also purchasing an ownership in the corporation that has the responsibility for managing the property and creating the rules that govern the use of your unit and the common area.
In California we have the Davis Stirling Act, which is the civil code established specifically for Community Interest Developments that spells out the rules by which the Association and its members must abide.
This is quite different from purchasing a single family home. There is much more information with which to concern yourself. All the information about your new condo should be provided in the disclosure documents provided by the SELLER. This is as requirement of Davis Stirling.
1) WHAT ARE THE RULES?
The disclosure package will contain the Governing Documents of the Association (Articles of Incorporation; Bylaws of the Corporation; Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions (CC&Rs) and the Rules and Regulations).
The Governing Documents contain the rules by which the Association and its members must abide. You should ensure that there are no covenants or restrictions in these rules that would make it inconvenient or impossible for you to enjoy your new home. What are the rules addressing issues such as pets, lease/rental or other restrictions that would
affect the enjoyment or use of your unit? These rules are good to have and are intended to protect your quite enjoyment and your investment, but do they fit you and your lifestyle?
2) WHAT IS THE PHYSICAL CONDITION OF THE COMMON AREA?
Few condo BUYERS walk the common area outside their unit. Yet as the BUYER you are taking on the financial responsibility for maintaining this common area. If the roof looks old, the siding needs painting and the lawn is unkempt these are warning signs that funds will need to be expended to fix these items. On the other hand, that could be the standard of living that you are buying into. Walk the property extensively and look closely at the exterior condition of the buildings, the recreation facilities, etc. You owe it to yourself and your financial well being.
Certified Community Association Manager
HOA Document Review by CondoSmart www.hoadocumentreview.com