Condo sellers – review rules and bylaws

RowhouseNote: This post was selected as a winner in the #53 Carnival of Real estate, which is an honor.  I did not submit the post as I do not support this carnival in it’s current form.  I will except the honor and am flattered by it.  I no longer consider myself a real estate blogger.  I am a Minnesota blog writer who sells real estate.  I do support the way Larry Cragun of real estate undressed handled the carnival.  he is a man of integrity and as such always does what he thinks it right even if his decisions are not popular.

When a buyer purchases a condominium he or she is given a copy of the rules and bylaws and given up to ten days to review them.  After reviewing the documents buyers can decide that they do not want to buy the condo.

We see all kinds of rules.  I remember one where just about any number of pets were allowed but no birds.  There was another where fish were the only type of pet allowed.  In others I have seen rules about a rotation on who cleans the laundry room and the entryway, and who waters the plants.

Often buyers do not read these all important documents as throughly as they should.  I usually go through them myself and point out areas that may cause concern.

Sellers often seem to be unaware of what is in the documents.  Last year I  listed a townhouse and the seller said that real estate signs were allowed.  I ordered the sign, before I got a copy of the bylaws and had to cancel the order.

Recently I witnessed a situation where the owner of a condo sold the garage separately from the unit.  The bylaws state that if there is a garage assigned to the unit it must be sold with the unit.  The association has retained an attorney and are demanding that the owners of the garage give it to the owner of the condo.   It is likely that they can legally do that.  Condo associations can enforce the rules, and sometimes they do.   They can even foreclose on a unit if the owner fails to pay dues of assessments.

Before selling a unit sellers should read the bylaws, so should their agent.  Buyers should read every word before the end of the rescission period.  They should also look at the financial statements.  There are buildings that have no reserves and the association is responsible for exterior maintenace.  Generally the way this is handled is each unit is assessed a share of the cost.  Buyers need to make sure that they have the reserves.

There are maitenance, utility and insurance costs involved with every type of housing, home buyers need to have reserves.   It is part of being a homeowner.

Also read association dues  compare the dues to owning a home without an association, and the dues may seem low.


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7 Replies to “Condo sellers – review rules and bylaws”

  1. Why did the seller sell the garage only? Who wants only a garage in the middle of nowhere? Doesn’t make sense to me but then again, I do not live in a big city so maybe that’s why.

  2. I should have aid garage stall. It is in a building with condos so another condo owner in the building can easily use the garage

  3. Most sellers and buyers never read the docs, NEVER! Florida has a “Frequently asked questions” form that must be delivered with the docs. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the seller or buyer to know what they own or are buying.

  4. Larry – maybe I should take it down? šŸ™‚

  5. Can you post an entry on association dues? What you get form them, what they’re worth, what’s reasonable, etc…?


  6. Thanks for the post — it is a great warning to all buyers that reading the bylaws and rules is very important!

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