When you think of condos, your mind immediately goes to oceanside views, city lights, and a rich lifestyle. However, it's not all glitz and glamour out there in the real world.
When Reddit user u/HeroSaitama87 asked, "What are some things you wish you knew before you purchased a condo?" a ton of people shared their unsatisfactory experiences.
Here are 19 horror stories about condos that will have you re-thinking about buying one.
1."Decide if you want elevators or underground parking. Both are expensive to maintain and will be reflected in the condo fees."
2."Location is important just as in a house. The reserve fund is critical. If the condo fees seem too good to be true they likely are. Sometimes an older building with a good reserve fund is better than new. The only true sound dampening is concert between the floors. I had a condo that advertised sound dampening and it was better than most apartments but you could still hear the neighbor upstairs."
3."Setting aside purchase price by the time you pay property taxes and condo fees I'm not sure annual cost of living comes out cheaper than a house and now you have others in your life. Tried it last year and sold within 8 months and went back to a house."
4."You're at the mercy of the condo board in terms of what you are paying for fees, what services they provide, how good they are at their job. And yes, you're responsible for repairs and such, but in a condo you can be hit with surprise special assessments for condo expenses that aren't covered by the reserve fund and which might not even affect/benefit your unit."
5."If you have a dog, catching elevators for them to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night can be annoying. Worth it if needed, but annoying."
6."Ask for the reserve fund study. If it's low OR they don't even have a proper third-party study, you can bet on a future cash call for major repairs, plus it's a sign of mismanagement. People complain about fees, but that's how you keep a fund healthy. BUT some management companies just leech off of these fees and kill the fund. And others are right, the builders set the fees insanely low to get units sold, then the board has no choice but to increase to cover the gap when the building is transferred. Also a good idea to find out about the builder and their build quality."
7."If you have plans to not be in said condo for over 10 years, I would rent a condo through a private landlord and save for a home!"
8."I couldn't get $20K BELOW what I paid for if I sold now after 13 years of owning; and still who'd buy mine when you can buy new for the same price or slightly above with cheaper condo fees."
9."We were slammed with a $2500 bill because the owners voted not to use the relatively healthy contingency fund for a fence that went around two sides of the property. We were left paying all that money and ended up with no fence between us and the next condo association behind us."
10."The condo insurance market is a nightmare right now. I've seen them go up 21% two years ago and 40% this year. Took condo fees from $225 to just past $300."
11."Like others have mentioned, look at the reserve fund study and it will tell you all you need to know about the financials. It has to be done by a professional accountant every 5 years minimum and it will spell out what upcoming major expenditures are planned for and whether or not it is underfunded."
12."Talk to your bank early and get a preapproval for the mortgage. Banks are really great and friendly to deal with early on in the process but you have to be on top of them when it gets down to the end run. It’s quite shocking how banks treat customers. Purchasing a condo as a pretty stressful situation and they seem to make things worse than it needs to be."
13."When we owned a condo we got out in time before a massive fee to fix the roof would be levied. Owning a condo is like owning a house, but with less control over expenses."
14."I wish I didn’t buy one, when you factor in the condo fees a month I could have gotten a house."
15."Caution about buying a brand new condo. These do not have reserve funds in place. They'll advertise no or low fees, but once established it's legally required to build up a reserve fund and your fees will skyrocket. By hundreds. Best to buy a place with an established and healthy fund."
16."Unless you like living in a box surrounded by renters and Airbnb people, don't. Soundproofing is almost never sufficient."
17."Others are right about some boards and management companies being horrible, so ask the neighbors their thoughts or look for company reviews. You might have to join the board to keep things sane. Also the less rental units, the better."
18."I've looked into duplex and smaller houses. For about the same cost there are some affordable houses without being worried about a condo fee."
19."Basically, owning a condo is nice if you're lazy and don't want to be bothered with work and maintenance, but you live in an ant colony where people have sway on what you can and can't do. Majority of people are really great and easy going, but it only takes a few to ruin it for everyone."
What are some of your wild or crazy experiences with condos? Let us know in the comments!
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