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Condominium Buyer Tips and Information

Many condominiums have common mechanical and structural elements that are the responsibility of the association you will be a member of after you buy your unit.

These common elements can not be inspected by your home inspector as they are not part of the unit you are buying. They are referred to as common or limited common elements.

The maintenance, repairs and replacements of these common elements will be the responsibility of the association and paid for with your association dues or special assessments.

Every well run condominium association maintains a current reserve study. This study is usually performed by architects and engineers and will cover all of the mechanical and structural common elements. This study states the age and condition of these components and what type of maintenance, repair or replacement they will need during at least the next five years. The cost of any required future work during this period will also be stated. This study should be updated at least every 5 years.

You should review the most recent reserve study;  then compare it against the most recent Association budget.  The budget will list the reserve funds for future projects and should have adequate funds to cover everything listed in the reserve study. If not, you may be required to pay a special assessment to cover maintenance, repair or replacement projects.

For additional information, contact: The Association of Condominium, townhouse and homeowners Associations at 312-987-1906

You are also entitled to copies of the minutes from the last six months of Board meetings. These minutes may have information about major expenses the Board is considering in the future that have not yet been voted on.

A very important question to ask when buying a condominium is:

Has there has ever been a special assessment levied? If the answer is yes, make sure this was a very special situation and not one that should have been addressed by the association in it's normal course of duty, otherwise you may be getting into an association that does not have a sound financial plan.

Make sure there are adequate reserve funds to fund all significant issues noted in the reserve study!

If there aren't you may have a special assessment in your future to fund future projects.


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