If you can read you can buy a condo

MN Capitol
Minnesota Capitol building

My headline is a little silly. I recently helped an investor buy a condo and the agent who was representing the seller seemed to know that the buyer had to have some association documents but did not include all the required documents.

Selling a condo is a little more involved than selling a regular home. The good news is that all of the documents are listed on a addendum that is part of the purchase agreement. Buyers should reference the addendum and check to make sure that they have all of the documents.

Under a consumer protection law Minnesota condo buyers have a ten day period to review the association documents and can withdraw their offer without penalty if they do not like what they see.

Buyers should actually read these documents.

Here is a list of documents as outlined on the condominium, townhouse and cooperative addendum:

DOCUMENTS: Seller is required to furnish Buyer with the following documents relating to the Association and/or the Master Association, if applicable, before conveyance of unit:

38. (1) (a) a copy of the  declaration (other than any CIC plat), (b) the  articles of incorporation, (c)  bylaws, (d) any  rules

39.  and regulations for the association, and (e) any  amendments or supplemental declarations;

40. (2) a copy of the master declaration, articles of incorporation, bylaws, and rules and regulations, if the common interest

41. community is a member of a master association;

42. (3) (a) a Disclosure Statement (for initial sale of property) and all amendments thereto required by MN Statute

43. 515B.4-101, including a balance sheet of the Association, current within 90 days, and the projected annual budget

44. of the Association and a statement identifying the party responsible for preparation of the budget; or (b) Resale

45. Disclosure Certificate (for resale of property) and all amendments thereto required by MN Statute 515B.4-107,

46. including the most recent regularly prepared balance sheets, income and expense statements and current budget

47. of the Association. The Resale Disclosure Certificate from the Association must be dated not more than 90 days

prior to the date of this Purchase Agreement or the date of conveyance, whichever is earlier.

Condos townhouses and parking

When it comes to parking spaces and condos make sure everything is in writing and that the person who is making the parking promises actually owns the parking space.

I once had an agent promise a buyer a parking space that frankly was not part of the purchase and the condominium documents specifically stated that there wasn’t a parking spot included.

A few years ago a parking space was sold that technically could not be sold with the unit. Occasionally when I go to sell a condo I find out that the owner does not own the parking space he or she is using because the deed was not transferred at the last sale. This can be repaired but it can also slow down the sale process.

Here are some of the parking possibilities for St. Paul condos:

1. A garage with an assigned parking space.

2. A garage with an assigned parking space and the space is deeded. Sometimes these spaces can be sold separately from the unit and other times they have to be sold with it.

3. No parking what so ever included with the unit.

4. There are X number of parking spaces and they are assigned on a first come first served basis. Owners with “seniority” get to choose the spot they want. Spaces may be reassigned when units change hands. In that case sometimes a parking space is included in with the purchase but it isn’t a particular space.

5. A private surface lot with no assigned spaces but enough spaces so that everyone can park.

6. There is on street parking only.

7. Parking spaces are leased through a third party. The space that the last owner of the condo used does not transfer to the new owner. He or she must acquire their own parking space.

8. There is a garage with valet parking only. Each unit owner is entitled to park one or more vehicles in the garage but there are no designated spaces.

Then of course there are heated garages and garages that are not heated and ramps that are attached to the building or sometimes across the street.

As an agent I ask a lot of questions about parking if I am putting a condo on the market. If I am working with a buyer I make sure that there is something in writing about parking.  Usually we find it right in the condo documents that our Minnesota state laws require that buyers receive before the purchase is finalized. Buyers have 10 days to review the documents and can cancel the purchase with no penalty if  they don’t like the parking situation or anything else.

Parked car
Parked car

Also so see downtown parking options

Downtown Condo sales strong

The demand for downtown condos is strong and prices are almost as high as they were before the crash. There are still downtown condo owners who are renting out their unit waiting for the price to go up. People who purchased a condo between 2006 and 2008 may still be underwater. Owners who bought foreclosures in 2009 and 2011 should have a decent amount of equity.

There are currently 39 units on the market downtown ranging in price from $112,000 to $1,888,000.00. I guess there is something for everyone.

For information about units in a particular building give me a call or send an email.

Living and parking downtown

Greenline

It seems like most of the Realtors who show my listings downtown these days have little or no experience with the downtown neighborhoods and not much experience with condos either.

There are a few downtown condo buildings that do not provide parking. In most cases there isn’t any way for the condo owner to sell parking to a buyer if the seller doesn’t own it. Sometimes real estate agents will tell buyers about nearby parking lots without bothering to verify if there is parking available in those lots or ramps.

If you are buying a downtown condo you will need to do a little research. If parking is included with the condo the condo documents will state which space it is or if the space isn’t assigned where the parking is.

If parking isn’t included it is up to the buyer to figure out where to park.  Here are three web sites that currently, as of January 2017, have information about parking and contact information for lot and ramp managers or owners:

http://www.uniondepot.org/about/parking/

http://www.bestparking.com/st-paul-parking/monthly-parking/

http://saintpaulparking.com/

Condo owners who are selling their units should never promise parking unless they have some kind of a contract that is transferable to a buyer.

As someone who has an office downtown and who goes downtown often I can say that there is plenty of parking. However sometimes it is half a block away or even a block away from my destination. For some people that would be a real hardship and for others it is not.

There are housing opportunities all over the city that do not include parking of any kind which is why there are cars parked on the streets.

Downtown St. Paul Condos

River Park Lofts at 406 Wacouta

The downtown St. Paul condo market is very unique. There are many real estate professionals in the metro area who not only have no experience with downtown St. Paul, they have a hard time finding the buildings. Experience selling condos is useful too.

While working with a buyer last week I found two agents who have condos listed downtown who knew little about the buildings and I believe that is why the their listings were priced incorrectly, and they were missing information about the units in the listings and of course could not answer questions.

In one case the agents worked as a team so that an offer on the unit was ignored by more than one agent. These agents are all very good at getting clients to list with them. That is their super power. Getting a listing and doing a good job selling a downtown condo are totally unrelated.

There are agents who work downtown who seem to kind of take over in various buildings with many condos for sale in the same building. That can also lead to problems with dual agency and pitting one seller against another as one agent represents several sellers.  These agents commonly charge higher commissions and extract larger fees from their clients too.

I can usually tell right away if the listing agent has no experience in the downtown market and if I am representing a buyer I take advantage of the situation if it helps my client.

Yes you can have a condo and pets too

Many people assume that if they live in a downtown condo they won’t be able to have pets. There are condo buildings throughout the city that do not allow pets. I had a listing in a building that only allowed fish and no other pets.

In another building dogs are not allowed because members of the homeowners association believe that allowing dogs would create too much noise and that owners might be able to hear dogs walking in the hardwood floors. Cats are allowed.

Other buildings allow dogs but only 1 or they have size and weight limits which favor small dogs over large dogs. So far I have not seen a building that allows dogs but not cats.

It is easy to find out about pet restrictions before seeing a condo for sale. In Minnesota condo buyers have 10 days to review condo documents which include rules and restrictions before making a final commitment to purchase. Those documents should be read carefully.

also see Homeowner association documents and Parking and Condos