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10 Questions to Ask Your Condo Board


Before you buy in any one of the many Condo Projects in the Dallas area, (or anywhere else in the nation) you must consider these important questions to ask your condo board or REALTOR, especially if it is a new building that is not yet fully occupied.

A Condo Board is just like a Home Owners Association in a subdivision. Their purpose is to set standards for living in that particular community.  They will tell you what you can or can not do architecturally to your residence and usually a management company will run the show, for a fee of course. The fees can be very substantial in New Condo Buildings.

The Hook…by the developer… to get you to buy into the new condo is low condo fees upfront, then when the building becomes fully occupied the fees go way up, and it could be thousands of dollars. Of course, if many people live in the building the less it will impact you.

You need to consider what amenities your condo has to offer: Work-Out Facility, Spa, Concierge, Hotel Services, Maintenance, Valet, Pool, Common Maintenance, etc. etc.

So here are 10 Questions to Ask your Condo Board or Developer:

1.  What percentage of units is owner-occupied? What percentage it tenant-occupied? In general, The more owner-occupied units the better it is for resale.

2.  What covenants, bylaws, and restrictions govern the property? What grandfather clauses are in place? You may find dates for when you bought by a certain date that you can not rent out your unit.  Ask for a copy of the bylaws to see if you can live with them and have a lawyer review.

3.  How much does the association keep in reserve?  How is the money invested?

4.   Are association assessments keeping pace with the annual rate of inflation? Smart boards raise assessments a certain percentage each year to build reserves to fund future repairs. Compare the rate to others in the area, to see if it is reasonable.

5.  What does the assessment cover and what does it not? – common maintenance, recreational facilities, trash collection and if up north or west snow removal?

6.  What special assessments have been mandated in the past 5 years? How much was each owner responsible for? Some are necessary, but if there are a lot, that is a RED flag of the condition of building or boards fiscal policy.

7.   How much turnover occurs in the building?

8.  Is the project in litigation?  If the builders or homeowners are involved in a lawsuit, reserves can quickly disappear.

9.  Is the developer reputable? Is it a Quality project? Find out what other projects are in the works or completed, talk to other homeowners about their perceptions. Request an engineers report for developments that have been reconverted from other uses to see how roof, windows, bricks etc. are in good condition or need repair. (There are a lot of condo conversions, this is a type of investment strategy

10.   Are multiple associations involved in the property? In very large developments there could be umbrella associations which you could be buying into and may require a separate assessment.

This may sound like a lot but it is in your best interest to find these things out before you buy. Your agent can help provide you with all this information or have the network in place to get it.

Note: Dallas has many new projects with lots of glass and windows, be sure and ask how often they clean the windows, so you can see your view that you are paying dearly for…