Thinking of buying a Boston Seaport condo? 9 issues you should be aware of.

You’ve finally found a Boston Seaport condo for sale that you want to buy. This Boston Seaport condo hits on all your preferences, is in a good location and has affordable condo dues. Now it’s time to review the disclosures, particularly when it comes to the condo association. What restrictions exist or could lead to potential problems?

Here are my top 9 issues to vet when it comes to Boston Seaport condo living:

1. Flooring restrictions.

 Are there serious restrictions against having hardwood floors? In some buildings, condo association require that owners cover a certain percentage of hardwood floors with area rugs. But some condo associations mandate that bedrooms have wall-to-wall carpet. If this isn’t your thing, make sure you know about it before you write an offer.

2. Pets

Boston Seaport Condo buildings specify pet restrictions, which often limit the size/number of dogs and cats. Keep this in mind, for example, if you’re thinking of getting a second dog and the Seaport condo association may have a limit the number of pets in a unit.

3. Building maintenance and repair. 

What are your individual unit’s maintenance and repair responsibilities, and what does the condo association cover? Check the condo rules and regulations and other documentation to see whether your deck or windows, for example, are the domain of the Seaport building association.

4. Ratio of rented to owner-occupied units. 

Find out how many units are rented, and how many are owner occupied. For one thing, most lenders have underwriting limitations if there are too many condos rented in a complex. And secondly, it’s always nice to purchase a Boston Seaport condo in a building where other owners are as equally invested in the building as you are. Make sure you check out this detail.

5. Improvements and alterations.

Most Boston Seaport condo buildings specify that owners need condo association permission for remodeling. It’s not a great idea to try to sneak contractors through the hallway. So if your transaction hinges on some type of unusual renovation it’s best to talk with the condo association president or management company before you remove your contingencies.

6. Ability to rent your Boston Seaport condo

Short-term rental stays are prohibited in Boston. In addition, and some Boston Seaport condo buildings have a waiting list that prevents more than a certain percentage of units from being used as rentals. If you’d like to rent out your condo down the line, be aware of any restrictions that exist.

7. Upcoming assessments. 

Is the condo association planning to assess individual units for a future repair or improvement? And will you be the owner who ends up paying that assessment? It’s good to know what you may need to budget in the near term.

8. Insufficient financial reserves.

Most Boston Seaport condo buildings should have a reasonable amount of money in a reserve account for repairing, replacing, or improving building components such as the roof. If reserves are very low, it could indicate poor condo association financial health, and also doesn’t bode well for building maintenance. Ultimately, you may be looking at a large assessment to cover an unexpected repairs. And of course, lenders will shy away from providing financing on condos in buildings with insufficient condo association reserves.

9 Litigation.

Is the condo association in litigation, or planning to undertake litigation in the future? If so, that may have a major influence on your ability to get a loan—not to mention on your opinion of the property. Litigation issues should be disclosed, but also make sure to read condo association meeting minutes and check for any discussions on the topic. Sometimes there’s litigation coming up that’s not been formally started, and you don’t need the surprise after you’ve completed your purchase.

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