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Things to consider when buying a co-op or condo

California residents who may be thinking about buying a condominium or co-op are probably aware of the good and bad points of each option. Before making this important decision, they might be interested in learning more.

While co-ops and condominiums offer many attractive advantages such as the fact that someone else will take care of the repair and landscaping chores, there is a hefty monthly fee charged for this convenience. In fact, for higher priced units, the maintenance fee can cost owners thousands of dollars each year. Although there may be tax benefits, many people look at it as a double rent, which may not be cost-effective for those who are trying to downsize. Moreover, if the condominium or co-op building is old, it may require more repairs that, in turn, will likely drive up the maintenance fee.

Condominium and co-ops also come with several restrictions, based on the property's design. For instance, most co-ops and many condominiums do not allow owners to change the layout of the property's landscape. Co-op owners will experience many restrictions as they try to put their shares up for sale, as well. They must consult with the strict co-op bylaws, which are very particular about who the buyers are. For example, interested buyers must be at a certain income level to be eligible to obtain certain co-op apartments.

Sometimes, a condominium owner might break one of the homeowner's association rules out of ignorance and may end up paying a fine. However, if the homeowner feels that the HOA dispute is not part of the restrictive covenants, he or she might wish to contact legal counsel for direction on how to handle the matter.

Source: FindLaw, "Disadvantages of Condos and Co-Ops", Sept. 14, 2016

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