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How do you choose a good condo?

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Seek ownership in a well-maintained building, and pay special attention to the financial health of the condo association. Lax maintenance may be a sign of financial trouble, which could result in higher maintenance fees and problems trying to resale the property later.

Things to consider:

Get a copy of the latest financial statement from the condo association.

Ask the board of directors—which is elected by the unit owners from among themselves—if major repairs or improvements are imminent. If so, find out how much they will cost and whether there is enough money in the reserve to cover them.

Check the by-laws, rules and the covenants, codes and restrictions (CC&Rs). You may find, among other things, that they prohibit or restrict pets and the renting of units. Some may require that the board have the right of first refusal on the sale of any unit.

Learn everything you can about the homeowners association, including legal disputes and conflicts. Start by reading the minutes of the association meetings.

Find out the owner-to-tenant ratio. Because many condominiums are often purchased as investments, there could be a high percentage of tenants in the building.

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