I am ready to purchase a condo...before signing a P&S what information / documents, ect. should I be reviewing?

Asked by Lady, Kingman County, KS Sun Sep 4, 2011

I do plan to have a home inspection done - but I was advised by friends that there are some information I should request from the association and seller about the property. Can you suggest what documents / information that I should request?

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Greer Swiston, Agent, Newton, MA
Sun Sep 4, 2011
In Massachusetts, requesting condo docs (Master Deed, Unit Deed, Rules and Regs as well as a recent financial Statement) are pretty typical. Your Home Inspector would also most likely have a questionnaire for the Condo association as would your lender.

The question is, what kind of condo are you buying? Is it self managed or professionally managed?

The Master Deed & Unit Deed are public record and you should be able to find copies of that yourself at the Registry of Deeds. The most updated Rules & Reg as well as the HOA's financials (and possible recent meeting minutes) would need to come from the HOA ... and that all depends on how organized they are.

Best of luck!
2 votes
Len&Leslie M…, Agent, Marshfield, MA
Tue Sep 6, 2011
All the past answers are helpful and spot on. Some other questions you should ask is if there are any outstanding lawsuits against the condo assn, the number and age of delinquincies and the owner/renter ratio.
2 votes
Tom and Joan…, Agent, Boston, MA
Tue Sep 6, 2011

You should review the condo docs, the rules and regs and the budget. Further you would want to now if there have been any special assesments over the past 2 years, and if yes are they paid for by the seller? Finally, are there any special assesments on the agenda for the upcoming year? This should cover you with a condo. Best
1 vote
Territory.c…, Agent, MA,
Sun Sep 11, 2011
If you are buying a condo ask the seller for the following:
Copy of the condo documents and bylaws
A copy of the condo association budgets
How much is in the condominium reserve
Have there been any big special assessments on the building in the last 2 years
What common areas/amenities are covered in your monthly association fee
Web Reference:  http://www.territory.com
0 votes
Louis Wolfs…, Agent, Needham, MA
Thu Sep 8, 2011

I'd like to know how you proceeded.

1) Did you hire a buyer agent?
2) Did you have the property inspected?
3) Did you use an attorney?
4) Did you review the documents yourself?

If you did not do 1 - 4 then you should not do #5 below

0 votes
Mindy Roiff…, Agent, Wellesley, MA
Thu Sep 8, 2011
Most important is the number of owner occupied units vs. rentals.
Ask if there have been any special assessments, when was the last time the monthly fee went up.
Interview home inspectors, some are more through than others.
Interview buyers agents, communication as well as knowledge very important.
Have a real estate attorney review all the documents with you. You will both review the documents, rules and regs. and budgets.
Looking for a new home should be fun, make sure it is!
0 votes
Oh Give Me A…, Home Owner, Waltham, MA
Thu Sep 8, 2011
Dear Kindly Kansas Condo Hunter:

Its great to see the response you've gotten to your request. There are some really experienced pros that provide advice on Trulia, that may be able to spot trouble and help make the transition a good one.

In addition to the legal info I cited, there are some other points to consider:

1) Home inspection -- get a real pro, which may cost a bit more but be worth it. Note that there may be information on file also at the local public works department, that might spot trouble with local sewers or other drainage problems.

2) As Ms. Greer mentions, the Master and Unit Deeds are informative. The Registry of Deeds for Saugus is listed at the link below. Information on the condo developer, management association and trustees can also be gleaned directly from the Registry and possibly the MA Secretary of State Corporate website. Its always good to know how many relatives or business associates might be controlling--directly or indirectly--the condo decisions. Also, this is a great way of learning if some of the condo sales prices might be inflated. Be mindful of any sales where a second mortgage was provided by the developer as part of the sale, and then shortly thereafter recorded as paid in full. The sales prices of the units can be falsely inflated by such creative financing.

3) Do have a good, independent real estate attorney review the condo Master Deed. There are some very curious Master Deed Condo docs in the Registry, that seem to require the condo owner to sign away the right to sue the trustees or management company for contracting for services which may involve self-interest. This includes their hiring a relative or an associated business in which they have an interest. As part of the condo fees, you deserve to not be overcharged for repairs that may be of benefit to those empowered to supposedly act on your behalf. You would probably never knowingly signing away the right to even challenge overcharged services that may be benefiting the trustees or developer.

Good luck with finding your new home.
Web Reference:  http://www.salemdeeds.com/
0 votes
Gregory Tully, Agent, Melrose, MA
Thu Sep 8, 2011
I would be happy to help you and I live in Saugus and I am a buyers agent.
Greg Tully
0 votes
Jennifer Cub…, Agent, Hanover, MA
Thu Sep 8, 2011
You absolutely need to have a buyers agent to help you. A buyers agent works solely for you and in your defense. If you need help please dont hesitate to contact me, I can help you if you dont already have an agent.
0 votes
Oh Give Me A…, Home Owner, Waltham, MA
Tue Sep 6, 2011
There are some wonderful resources available through the free Massachusetts Trial Court Libraries. The closest one to the zip code you list, I believe, is in Woburn Massachusetts.

There is a nice little online book available through their site, but you have to register first in person at one of their locations. After getting the free library card, you can then access some online legal books directly from home on the internet.

This is the link below to their real estate information, which includes the reference related to condos. Granted, this does not substitute for the expertise of a professional. Getting some useful background information first, though, can help save time for both you and the professionals working with you.

Good luck with your new home, and welcome to Massachusetts.
0 votes
Ellen Friedm…, Agent, Cambridge, MA
Sun Sep 4, 2011
Hi Lady - Greer gave you the information you need but unless you are buying directly from the seller you really should have a buyer agent. You should also have an attorney who will review those documents for and with you. Best of luck.

Ellen Friedman, Keller Williams Realty, 617-448-1542, ellengfriedman@comcast.net
0 votes
Gregory Tully, Agent, Melrose, MA
Sun Sep 4, 2011
you should have a buyers agent to handle all that for you. Their cost is allready built into the sale price. If you don't have an agent the sellers agent gets all the commission and does not work for you. So please get a buyers agent.
0 votes
Louis Wolfs…, Agent, Needham, MA
Sun Sep 4, 2011
Where is your Buyer Agent, where is your attorney.

We can all make recommendations, but no one in this forum has a fiduciary relationship with you.

Get someone on board who does.
0 votes
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