Boston Real Estate  


Before buying a Boston condo read the condo documents carefully

I see a lot of condo docs. They are part of the process of buying a Boston condo for sale. Buyers have only a few days to review certain documents including financial statements and rules. I recently reviewed some documents that give the association the right to refuse pets in the Back Bay condo building

None of the documents have any kind of criteria that the association can use to approve or reject a buyer. Rejecting a buyer could violate fair housing laws and put the homeowners association at risk.

Condo docs can be revised and updated. The documents I reviewed for a Beacon Hill condo were last updated in the 1980s.

There are all kinds of crazy in some of the documents I see but they are written rules that night be consistently enforced and homeowners associations can make rules.

Owning a condo isn’t for everyone. I have clients who have always lived in condos and strongly prefer it.

Do read condo docs before committing to purchasing a unit. Also, work with an agent who has experience with condos.

Also see: Read the rules

Before buying into condo ownership do this…

If you are considering purchasing a Boston condo, it is very important to read the building condo documents carefully. The rules of each Boston condominium complex are specific to the development, so no assumptions should be made about their requirements. The Boston condo documents specify what maintenance is covered by the common budget. In one case, the association may handle all exterior components, decks, pools, sidewalks, driveways, etc. In another, the documents may require that the individual owners be responsible for complete maintenance of their units, including foundations, roofs, and exterior walls.

Boston condo docs

After reading your Boston condo documents carefully, you may have questions about the division of work between the individual owners and the common budget administered by the condo association. Your best option is to present your question to the condo board itself. The board can clarify how the issue has been handled in the past, or give you their interpretation of the rules. Another course of action is to ask a real estate attorney to review the documents for you. Other homeowners, Realtors or maintenance workers are not reliable or appropriate sources for the interpretation of condo documents.

Boston Real Estate Blog Post: Updated 2021

Condo rules can include rental and pet restrictions and parking rules. I know of one association that prohibits all pets except for goldfish and one that allows all pers except birds.

There are rules about the placement of potted plants and sometimes rules about garage doors that have to be kept closed. Some condo associations have tons of rules and others have few.

Do your own homework and read everything before making a final commitment.

Pro tip – There is one local management company that is the reason why I would not live in some of the condo buildings. I think it is always a good idea to talk to the representative from the management company and directly to someone on the board of directors for the association

Downtown Boston Real Estate and the Bottom Line

When placing an offer on a Boston condominium have your lawyer of Boston real estate agent add a  provision that you, the buyer be given a copy of the condo documents, with a certain period of time to review them. By doing this, the buyer may decline the contract with no penalty during the document review period. Also request a copy of the budget and copy of the last 6 months of the condo association metering notes  When submitting an offer on a Boston condo you want answers questions regarding current budgets, special assessments, insurance, lawsuits, and other matters that affect the association.

For more information please feel free to call me at 617-595-3712.


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