Over the years I have gotten familiar with several Boston condominium associations. I’ll admit I have a bias and usually prefer the associations that are professionally managed as opposed to those who are run by members who volunteer.
Sometimes the volunteers are a little over zealous in the Boston condo building their managing. I recently encountered one association who would peak through the garbage left on the street on trash day, He is retired and has all day to lurk around the hallway and make sure rules are being followed. Some of the Boston condo owners just love the way someone is keeping an eye on things and others are kind of creeped out by it.
Older established associations where there is little turnover in the board of directors or among the property owners take on a kind of personality and “culture” that can be difficult for a new member to adjust to.
In some Boston condo building associations no one wants to be on the board of directors and members only get involved when there is a problem and even then it is hard to engage property owners and get them to help make decisions.
In downtown Boston anyone buying a property that is subject to a homeowners association has the right to review the association financials and rules before committing to the purchase. In fact U encourage all my Boston condo client buyers to include this in the Offer which means a buyer can back out of the purchase if he or she doesn’t like the rules or the financials don’t look good. Some Boston real estate buyers simply glance at the documents and say yes while others study them closely and ask questions.
Sometimes I can tell how well run an association is just by looking at the common areas of a property. If the association is responsible for and snow removal and the clearing trash outside the building and it looks horrible or the sidewalks are covered with snow several days after a snow storm that is a clue that the association may not be managing the property. If the laundry room is dirty and the hallways have burnt out lights and cobwebs in the corners that could be a sign that no one cares.
Boston Real Estate and the Bottom Line
In addition to looking at association documents, looking around the property and calling the association with any questions perspective downtown Boston real estate buyers should also take the time to talk to the neighbors. Ask open ended questions like: “What do you like the most about your condo association?” and of course “What do you like the least”?