Questions You Must Ask Before Buying a Condo Installment #4 : Are there any pending special assessments?

This is the fourth installment in our video blog series on Questions to Ask Before Buying a Condo in Andover and beyond. If you’re thinking about buying a condo in Andover or anywhere in Massachusetts, you’ll want to be informed on every aspect of the property before you purchase it. It’s important that you know just the right questions to ask to uncover any issues before you buy.

Are there any pending special assessments?

What is a special assessment?

When the condo complex requires a project or capital improvement to be done, everyone in the condominium complex shares equally in the cost of that project. The board of trustees decides how the project is to be paid for. Either the money will come from a capital reserves account or they decide to have a special assessment for all of the unit owners to pay for it, or some combination of both.

You need to know if there are any pending special assessments before purchasing a condo because you will be responsible for paying your portion of the assessment. The amount can vary from hundreds to thousands of dollars or even more, depending on the type of improvement being done.

How do you find out if you’re buying into a condo complex where a special assessment will be happening?

First, you should ask the seller if there are any special assessments pending, meaning is there something known in writing that all condo owners will have to pay for. And, if this is the case, you’ll want to negotiate that the seller pay for the condo assessment before they move.

Second, you should request copies of the board of trustees meeting minutes. Not every condo board of trustees meets monthly, some meet biannually, some annually. But, you want to try to get a copy of these minutes to determine if there may be an assessment coming up down the road.

Sometimes projects that require a special assessment just happen out of necessity. An emergency or natural disaster could come up that will require an unexpected expense for the condo complex. In this case, there is no way of knowing 100% if there will be an assessment or not.

Do your best to ask, investigate, see documentation to determine if you think a special assessment will be coming up.

More Questions to Ask Before Buying a Condo:
1. What is the Condo Fee & What Does it Cover?
2. What are the Condo Rules & Regulations?
3. How Much Money is in the Reserve Account and How Much is Funded Annually?
4. Are There Any Pending Special Assessments?
5. Who Manages the Condo Complex?
6. Is the Condo Association Involved in Any Pending Legal Actions?
7. How Many Condo Units are Owner Occupied?
8. How Many Condo Units are Delinquent on Paying Their Condo Fee?
9. Do Condo Unit Owners Have Exclusive Easements or Right to Use Certain Common Areas?
10. What does the Condominium Complex’s Master Insurance Policy cover?

For over 30 years the Prime Property Team and Ron Carpenito of Keller Williams Realty Andover have been helping home buyers and sellers in Andover, North Andover, Haverhill, and the Merrimack Valley with their real estate goals. If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home anywhere in Massachusetts or know someone who is, contact Ron today at (978)494-0346.

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