Condo Questions

Asked by Cat, Topeka, KS Sun Mar 3, 2013

I am moving to Portland Oregon in Sept and am thinking about buying a condo. i have a couple of questions. most places don't list their HOA fees. Most don't mention if pets are allowed. most don't say if you can rent them out in the future. how do i know what those fees cover? how do i find out these things - can i just email, or call and ask? also, about how much per year do HOA fees go up? are condos a good investment or are they really hard to sell?

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Brad Golik’s answer
Brad Golik, Agent, Portland, OR
Wed Apr 17, 2013
As a condo specialist, you might expect me to say that condos are a great investment. This is not always the case, in fact, your returns might be better if you bought some bank owned property in the suburbs. Can a condo be a good investment...yes.
In searching for a condo, HOA fees are a critical part of your investment. Knowing what they are is just the start. Knowing what they cover is important because every building is different. This is where working with a condo specialist will be helpful to you as a buyer. As a specialist, we are in the market everyday. We know which buildings have HOA issues such as current litigation, weak reserves or rental cap issues. We also speak with the property managers on a frequent basis. As for pets, again each building is different but more often than not the restrictions will be based on weight or on breed.
Sorry I am a little late to the table here (answering your question) it has been very busy. If you have not connected with an agent, I would love to assist you to find a great condo. To learn more about the condo markets in Portland, please visit my condo blog .

Best of luck to you!
Brad Golik
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The Stephen…, Agent, Portland, OR
Fri Apr 12, 2013
If you are working with the right agent they can set you up with an automatic search program that does include the HOA fees and what (in general) they cover. However, pets and other detailed items will have to be investigated by the agent. Condos are a great investment in a good market. They generally don't appreciate as quickly as a regular home, but it is still way better than renting.
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Tom Inglesby, Agent, Portland, OR
Sun Mar 3, 2013
Cat, congrats on moving to Portland you will love it here. If you love thunder storms sorry but we have very few in the early summer only a few times. You ask great questions. The HOA's are listed in most listing down at the bottom of left side. Pets are not listed that would be a good add to our listing check off points. Many have small dog limits of 25 lbs and some have no limits and some owners have to carry or wheel their dogs thru the lobby since the rules are no dogs in lobby. Some say you cannot rent them because if to many owners rent them then they cannot be sold is what the new lender rules are and they will not lend money to places that have a high rental rate. Another is if many of the owners are behind in HOA monthly fees the lenders will not loan money. They are good investments for well run great location spots like all real estate. Our market has turned the corner and places are still great buys but not like they were 1 year ago but other areas are still coming back and because of location are still good deals. You can figure most HOA's will go up 6-9% a year unless there was large assessment on the building and that is a very special situation. The are slow to appreciate but for some life styles it is the best choice of housing. You can buy probably $40,000-$60,000 more house with out the HOA fee but there are things in the feed that you still have to pay with a house like garbage and water bills. Let me know how I can help you. Tom Inglesby, Broker RE/MAX Equity Group
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Marvin Von R…, Agent, Tigard, OR
Sun Mar 3, 2013
People will jump on me for this, and there are always a few exceptions to any rule, but I wouldnt buy a condo. I might not even help you buy one unless it made sense.They are the first to drop value and the last to increase. Many HOA (Home Owners Associations) are in trouble eithewr because so many people lost the places to foreclosure and are no longer paying the dues, or there are lawsuits against the property for improper construction, etc. This is especially true of many condos just quickly thrown up in the ealry 2000s.

If one totally fit your lifestyle, you could steal the thing and the HOA was really solid----MAYBE. Otherwise, why do you want to own something? What is your long term goal? Buying isnt always the best thing! (Im ducking now)

Regarding fees---different at each complex. Depends on how many owners are paying, what figure has been voted on to establish reserves for repairs, etc. They can go up or down according to the HOA agreement but also there may be riders to do large emergency increases. Ive seen HOA fee more than double to cover problems. Anyone selling a condo should have all the info at hand that you need. All the pet rules, rental rules, etc. Usually they dont want rentals. Why? As the percentage of renters vs owners increases, lenders will not loan onthe units. Renters usually dont care as much about upkeep as an owner.

Also, the marketis not at its bottom. It may be near it now in certain categories. The world of real estate values is changhing rapidly. The future hold surprises depending on whats going to happen to the millions of homes now held by or being taken by banks.
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Dennis haggar, Agent, Portland, OR
Sun Mar 3, 2013
Hi Cat,
I'm from Minneapolis as well. Would love to help you in your home search. I specialize in condos and live & work in NW Portland (Nob Hill, Alphabet District) and know the market very well.
Contact me if you'd like to learn more. Dennis 5033511301.
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The Shelly C…, Agent, Portland, OR
Sun Mar 3, 2013
Hi Cat,

Congrats on your upcoming move!
RMLS listings for condo's state HOA fees and what they cover (such as garbage, water, etc.). Each building is different regarding pet policy, but can easily be determined by a call. Whether or not HOA fees or assessments will be increasing can be found in the CC&R's or HOA meeting minutes. Condo's, in general, tend to lose value faster than single residence dwellings, but as in all real estate the mantra of location, location, location is a big factor. Overall, the Portland market has low inventory and is on the upswing.

I would be glad to email you condo listings from the RMLS that fit your criteria and answer any further questions that you may have.

Best wishes,
Shelly Casteel
Principal Broker
Oregon Realty Co.
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Linda Heinri…, Agent, Lake Oswego, OR
Sun Mar 3, 2013
You are already seeing some of the challenges to buying a condo. A good agent will help you vet all these questions and determine what is the right choice for you. There is a good amount of drill down that needs to occur with the purchase of a condo on the initial go around and then further research into the financials of the HOA, including at least 12 months of minutes to identify any risks that may have been discussed, but are not yet a reality.

I was out showing condo's this morning and provide my buyers a spread sheet on much of this data so they can more easily make comparisons. Start with your price point and location, then go from there to determine what that will buy you and if a condo is a good choice for you. Good luck! By the way you will love Portland!
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Debra (Debbi…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Sun Mar 3, 2013
it's simple really - instead of stressing out over all those questions you have ...........just find and work with a local agent........he or she can get you all the answers you need.
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