Ever lived in a house where you suddenly found out you had to pay $30,000 for a new septic system?

That sort of thing can happen if you live in a condo, as well, unfortunately.

In this case, the trustees of the condo association decided that the building needed major structural repairs – about $18 million worth of repairs, or as much as $100,000 for some owners.

Some owners are, how you say, unhappy.

How do you keep yourself from encountering this type of situation?  If you already own in a condo building, you need to keep up to date on things – go to your association meetings, ask for budgets and lists of expenses – it’s your investment, just like a house, and you have to stay involved.

If you are looking to buy, there are some simple things you can do.  First, after you’ve seen a place you’re interested in, when you go back for your second look, ask the seller’s real estate agent if there are any planned special assessments.  If they’re not sure, or seem evasive, keep after them, and/or have your own agent follow up.

Once you have made an offer on a condo, and it’s accepted, you or your agent should have the seller’s agent get you several years’ history of condo budgets, plus six months (or more) of the most recent trustees’ association meetings, and review for any discussions about upcoming expenses.

The seller is required to tell you if the association has voted to have any special assessments, but it’s a grey area if the association has only discussed special assessments, but not voted them in yet.

By Kennan Knudson, Boston Globe

There’s a doorman, a covered parking garage, swank condos with terraces that overlook Coolidge Corner, and high-class appointments everywhere.

It would be easy to gaze at the two white-bricked towers on Longwood Avenue and see it as the lap of luxury.

That is, until you see the scaffolding and caution tape that keeps residents off their balconies.

To their surprise, residents of the 175 units at 50 and 60 Longwood Ave. recently learned they would have to pay a premium to hold on to their apartments — at least $18 million, or about $100,000 per unit.

The big bill, which the building’s trustees levied to pay for major structural repairs, is probably the largest such assessment per unit that condominium owners in Brookline have ever paid, said Chobee Hoy, a local realtor who has sold units in the buildings.

”I’ve heard of big assessments before, but I’ve never heard of anything bigger than that,” Hoy said.

Complete article: Condo levy leaves owners staggering


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