The Ins And Outs Of Condominiums

Jon Mand with Lenihan Sotheby’s International Realty is here to talk about Louisville condos in this podcast episode. Condominiums generally appeal to buyers who want all the benefits of home ownership without all the maintenance. Most condos are within apartment-style complexes — but are purchased and owned instead of leased from a landlord. All condo owners then own a small share of any common spaces or outdoor grounds. Condo amenities may include golf courses, fitness centers, swimming pools, tennis courts, club houses, libraries, and playgrounds. “In many cases, that’s what you’re paying for – the lifestyle,” explains Mand.

Condominium Fees

A monthly Home Owner’s Association (HOW) or Condo Association charges dues, which go toward a new roof, resealing the parking lot, landscaping, or the other larger scale maintenance projects homeowners would typically have to foot themselves. Buyers are still responsible for upkeep within their own unit, but a lot of the big ticket items like HVAC or roofing are covered by these fees. Today, all the precise details must be outlined in the Condo Seller’s Certificate. It’s not like it was 10 years ago where you’d buy a condo and suddenly find that the HOA fee skyrocketed a month later when the whole building needed new windows or something like that.

Property Inspections

Inspectors can tell you when the last roof was put on, when the basement was waterproofed, or if any other major work has been done recently, but they won’t be physically inspecting these structures as they would with a single family residence. Typically, they limit their examinations to the individual units being purchased. There’s no guarantee your neighbor’s plumbing won’t leak down through your ceiling, but that is an assumed risk for any multi-family dwelling space.

The Role of an Agent

Real estate agents are helpful partners when looking to buy a condo, as they have access to information you may not get from the MLS. The Condo Seller’s Certificate has helped with transparency, says Mand, but he typically accesses public records through the county clerk’s office that spells out the definitions of the common areas, the limited common areas, and the units themselves. “We clarify what people exactly own, the percentages of interest within the development, and all the various rules and regulations for the association,” Mand explains. “Sometimes what’s online is not the latest version, so we verify everything for our clients so they know where they stand going into the paperwork.”