Are you thinking of buying a Massachusetts Condominium?
By Attorney Richard Carter
A condominium is defined as “a building or complex of buildings containing a number of individually owned apartments or houses”.
There are several advantages in purchasing a condominium. First it may be a more affordable option than purchasing a single family home. Second, by purchasing a condominium all the condominium unit owners will share in the expenses and upkeep of the property. But when purchasing a condominium, you will need to remember that you are not only buying your own particular unit but you will also be buying into your percentage of the “common areas” that you share with the other unit owners.
So when purchasing a condominium you will not only want to make sure there are no issues with your own particular unit but you should also ascertain whether there are any issues with the condominium itself.
Here are 10 things you should consider before buying a Massachusetts Condominium
- Make sure your review all of the condominium documents, including the monthly condominium “meeting minutes”. The meeting minutes should describe any upcoming events that might affect the condominium which may not be necessarily stated in the Master Deed or Condominium Trust.
- Make sure you review the Rules and Regulations of the condominium.
- immediately become familiar with the condominium management company. They will have important information for you including where your condominium fees are to be sent.
- Review the condominium budget and condominium capital reserves to see how solid the condominium is financially. A capital reserve is a pool of money that may be needed for unforeseen capital repairs and/or operating costs, such as an increase in snow removal costs or leaky roofs. If you are buying the condominium through bank financing the lender may be requiring a minimum amount in the capital reserve. Some banks may require a capital reserve of up to 10 to 20% of the annual budget. Check with your lender on the amount they will be looking for.
- Check to see how much is the monthly condominium fee and see exactly what that condo fee covers. Condominium fees are used to pay for the operating costs such as insurance, snow removal, landscaping etc. Make sure you understand what is notincluded in the condominium fees. For example, does the condominium fee include water usage or is there a separate water meter?
- Check to see if there are there are any upcoming assessments on the condominium unit.
- Check to see if there are any current lawsuits or any anticipated future lawsuits against the condominium or the developer of the condominium. This may affect your financing.
- Check to see if the condominium is in a flood zone. If so, check with the condominium association to see whether their master insurance covers any required flood insurance.
- If applicable, make sure any designated parking space and/or storage area is identified in
the offer, the purchase and sale agreement, and ultimately on the deed of the unit.
- Determine what the condominium master insurance policy covers. Anything that the master insurance policy does not cover, such as the person’s personal contents, should be covered through a supplemental policy or a “HO-6 insurance policy”. A HO-6 policy is commonly known as “studs in” coverage. This coverage would cover the interior of the unit and the personal property in the unit. But again, you want to make sure that through both policies you are covered for everything.
Attorney Richard Carter can be reached at