Questions to Ask Before Buying a Beacon Hill Condo for Sale
So, what should you ask your Beacon Hill real estate broker and the homeowners association before you buy your condo?
1. Who manages the building and what are the biggest complaints?
Is the building self-manged or professionally managed? Regardless, you’ll want to interview the condo manager personally. Also, talk to your neighbors about management. A lousy manager can make Beacon Hill condo living a grueling experience.
Some condos manage themselves. That is, there are no property managers, and the residents meet to make decisions together. The good side to this is that it often means monthly fees are much lower than professionally managed.
Regarding how the Beacon Hill building is manages you’ll also want to know what gripes are people airing at the condo board meetings? Get your hands on the minutes from the last few meetings, or talk to current owners.
2. Is there storage space available?
Some Beacon Hill condos for sale offer residents personal storage space. Your condo will likely not have an attic or garage (unless you’re in a townhouse), so ask if you’ll be provided any extra space to store bikes, winter skis, and luggage, perhaps in the basement.
3. What does the insurance cover?
Make sure you get a copy of the condo association’s insurance policy. Find out exactly what is covered, including the cost to bring the building up to code (if it’s an older building). Also make sure the estimates to rebuild are accurate, and not minimized or outdated.
If the policy is confusing, it might be worthwhile to bring a copy to your own insurance agent so you can go over it together.
It’s also important to check if their policy will cover your personal belongings if the roof leaks or the building catches fire. If it doesn’t, you’ll want to consider taking out a policy on your own (which will be yet another monthly expense).
4. Do I fully understand the monthly association fees and rules?
Beacon Hill Condo association fees are calculated based on how many units there are in the building, what it costs to maintain the property (both short and long-term), whether or not the Beacon Hill condo building is professionally or self-managed, and funds set aside for litigation and major repairs.
Get your hands on a breakdown of the monthly dues you’ll be responsible for. Make sure you can truly afford this extra payment, and that you understand what you’re getting for this payment. And remember, condo association fees are not tax-deductible like your mortgage is.
You also need to look closely at the Repair Fund. Every condo association must put a certain portion of dues aside for major repairs. If the Beacon Hill condo building is more than 20 years old, 50% needs to be funded.
Some Beacon Hill condo buildings promise their residents “ultra low dues.” Be wary. Although this may seem appealing, chances are it means the community isn’t funding their Repair Fund like they should; if the roofs end up needing a replacement, you and all the residents could be hit hard with a major bill.
Find out the delinquency rates on monthly dues as well. When other owners fail to pay their monthly dues, this often leaves everyone else holding the bag. Good communities will have a delinquency rate of 15% or less.
5. Is there any litigation?
Charles River Park condos can often be rife with drama and, yes, litigation. Owners sue other owners, as well as the management team or developer. Make sure there are no past or pending litigation in your community.
Buying a Beacon Hill condo for sale is no small affair. There are many important aspects to consider that you don’t have to worry about with single family homes. This is why it’s important to go into the process knowing what to look for, and what to ask.
Have any of you ever thought about buying a Beacon Hill condo for sale? Or, do you already own one? Which questions do you wish you had asked before you bought?