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Is condo living for you?

The condo market ...questions commonly asked.

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What is a condominium? One cannot always tell a condominium by looking. Some look like single family homes, apartments, or townhouses while others may appear to be apartments over commercial businesses (see pictures of The Tualatin Mews and The Fountain Plaza below). They come in all sizes, shapes and prices.

Legal definition. In the State of Oregon condominiums are created when a developer gets approval from the Real Estate Agency to create a condominium. A condominium is a legal concept defining property relationships.

Common elements, limited common elements, and your own space. In a condominium, "common elements" such as driveways, the ground under buildings, recreational facilities and the foundations, exterior walls and roofs of the buildings belong to and are the responsibility of the condominium association itself. "Limited common elements" such as carports and decks belong to the association but are for the use of specific owner. Owing a condominium entitles you to exclusive use of the interior air space in the unit you purchase. Normally one can decorate the interior as they wish but cannot alter the exterior of the building without first obtaining approval of the association's board of directors.

Association management. The management of the association is normally vested in the association's board of directors which is elected by the owners of condominium units. Directors typically determine the level of the monthly fee (homeowner's fee) which is levied on each unit. The money collected is then used to pay for maintenance of the buildings and grounds, utilities, insurance on the buildings, and sometimes for the services of a professional management company.

Bylaws, rules and regulations. Unlike in the case of single family houses, when you buy a condominium unit you become obligated to live by the bylaws and the rules and regulations of the association. Read the bylaws and the rules and regulations, and even the declaration before buying into a condominium association. While rules and regulations are designed for the good of all owners, they may not be right for you.

Common issues addressed in rules and regulations and bylaws include pet policy, parking limitations, age restrictions and rules affecting your behavior. A dog or cat owner should be sure the association does not prohibit dogs or cats. Someone who needs to keep a boat or truck at home needs to check the appropriate parking regulations. Children are not allowed in some retirement condominiums. If you like noisy parties at late hours, you won't fit in most condominiums.

Is condominium living right for you? Not everyone is comfortable living in a condo. Condominium living involves higher density than living in single family houses. Privacy is often an issue. If your entrance and windows are highly visible, you may think that the additional security associated with visibility is great. If you are a very private person high visibility will make you uncomfortable.

I sell lots of condos. Many of my buyers want condos to avoid the responsibilities of maintaining a yard or home. Maintenance of the roof and gutters is particularly high on the dislike list. Normally condo owners are free of building and landscaping responsibilities. Many no longer have children at home and simply want to downsize. Call me. I'm happy to discuss condo living with you.

Significant Condominium Web Sites


Pearl-District-Lofts.com
Condominium Information and Resources
Oregon Condominium Statutes