Condominiums are a housing alternative for those who want to own a home, but may not want to be responsible for lawn care. Condo ownership is also a good option if a single-family home is beyond your budget.
Condos come in various structures and sizes. However, whether you buy a unit in a high-rise building, a garden style structure, or a townhouse, you will be combining elements of both private and joint ownership.
You purchase the right to live in and maintain your individual unit, but share the responsibility for decisions about the maintenance and regulations for the communal elements.
Condos owners are members of a council of unit owners, a legal entity that conducts business for the condominium, such as entering into contracts, enforcing the condominium association’s documents, and performing common element maintenance. A board of directors is elected by the council of unit owners to make the day-to-day business decisions regarding the administration of the condominium. The number of directors and terms are set forth in the condominium bylaws, rules, and regulations.
Sometimes, the condominium will have one or more umbrella organizations, which can be either homeowners’ associations or other condominium associations. These umbrella organizations often control such elements as clubhouses, stormwater ponds, or a common community entrance. All the land, trees, shrubs, and other landscaping elements belong to everyone who owns a unit in the complex. Generally, a paid professional management company oversees the physical building maintenance.
Unless you are already living in a condominium or co-op, owning this kind of home will be a new experience. You may no longer have a lawn to mow or a furnace to maintain, but you have other important responsibilities.
Owning a condominium has advantages and disadvantages. I think condo ownership is a good idea for new home buyers, but it’s not for everyone. Before making a final decision, you should carefully consider the limitations and benefits of condominium living.