5 Questions to Ask When Buying a Condo


How Experienced is the Management?

Some condos are managed by absentee landlords, and that's usually not a good thing. You want someone who's hands-on and experienced. Professional management means maintenance will probably be performed more diligently and at lower cost, since a pro will be more likely to know where to get good deals. You might end up paying a little more for the service, but when your air conditioner lets loose its last chilly gasp in the middle of the summer, you'll be grateful for someone who responds promptly and efficiently.

If it's a newly built building, check into the reputation of the developer to get a sense of what you can expect in your condominium. What does the Better Business Bureau have to say? If the developer's reputation is at all shaky, move on to the next one.

Also, take a look at the homeowners association (HOA) leadership. Are they trustworthy and fair? Do the neighbors think of the association as a resource for keeping the community happy, or as a clique of nit-pickers who keep everyone on pins and needles? It may turn out that the HOA is a bigger part of your life than the people next door, so get a sense of what your relationship with them may be like.