Before buying a condo, get answers to these three big questions: 1. What is the HOA like? 2. What is the condition of the complex? 3. What is the rental to owner ratio. The first question relates to quality of life in the complex. The second relates to continued financial benefit from buying a condo in that complex. The third tells you if there are a lot of caring owners vs. unvested renters living there.

We hear horror stories about restrictive HOA’s (who, for instance, fine you for drying clothes on your balcony). To know how difficult the HOA is, talk to current residents if possible. To determine if your condo is in good condition, find out how much in cash reserves the HOA has, and if they have scheduled any large projects, such as new roofing, which could raise your HOA fee. Have your agent get a copy of the HOA’s CC&R’s (covenants and restrictions) and read it. Finally, ask the HOA what percentage of renters vs. owners are in the complex. This is not only important for quality of life, but may affect financing, because many lenders have owner/renter limitations.

Let me know what complexes you’re considering and I’ll help you do some of that research.