There are many great questions from my fellow San Francisco colleagues already.
I represent a lot condo buyers, but I would like to speak from my HOA Board President capacity. I own a condo in a 67 unit building and I am having the honor to be the HOA President this year.
There are a lot of things to look for when buying a condo in a medium to large building, high rise or not:
-first thing first: ask if the building is in any sort of litigation- there are quite few buildings in this situation and it is hard to obtain a loan; knowing in advance will save you a lot of time and efforts. Most of the litigations have to do with construction defects.
-is 10% of the building own by only one entity ?( for example, some developers retain a number of condos for rental purposes)- this is another condition that makes lending hard.
-percentage of HOA dues defaults.
--percentage of renters v. owners( a 25% of renters is pushing the limits).
-foreclosures and short sales in the buildings.
-CCR's- the rules and the regulations that govern the building( are pets allowed? can you install hardwood floors?can you rent out? are they rent restrictions or percentage limitations?); Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation;
-Budget and reserves. As mentioned by other colleagues, over 80% funded reserves show a top shape HOA, but don't be too scared if you see reserves funded at 50%. There are years when the HOA has more maintenance expenses than others and they need to make payments from the reserves funds. I would be skeptical if I see a HOA with lots of reserves and with a very dated building too. That means there is not willingness to do any improvements. Also, consider the amenities and services included in the monthly HOA fee.
-Minutes- they give you the whole history of the last year happenings- what were the problems, what the homeowners complained about.
I am always available for an advise if needed.
Pacific Union International
1 Letterman Dr, Building C, Suite 300
San Francisco,CA 94129