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Top Questions First-time Condo Buyers Should Ask

Screen Shot 2017-01-27 at 4.20.10 PMCondos offer an attractive lifestyle at a great price, which is why they’re perfect for starter homes or if you’re looking to downsize. In order to be prepared before buying a condo, be sure to consider these important questions:

What are homeowners’ association fees and what do they include?

Condo residents are required to pay homeowners’ association (HOA) fees — in addition to rent or mortgage payments — to cover maintenance and repairs. When unexpected repairs arise, the HOA can authorize a special assessment, or one-time charge to each homeowner.

Does this condo meet my lender’s loan requirements?

Your lender may require certain things that signal that the condo will retain its value over time. For example, they may want to see that a minimum of 60 percent of the units are occupied by their owners.

What additions or Improvements have been done to the unit?

Certain kinds of home improvements require City and County permits and HOA approvals, especially if they involve construction or electrical and plumbing work. It’s important to check on those permits and approvals because it’s not uncommon to find that an update, such as a lanai that has been enclosed to become indoor living space, has not been permitted or approved.

Does this unit have a washer and dryer?

Consider whether you want the option of having your own laundry facility, either now or in the future.

Is this a pet-friendly building?

While our furry friends may be family to us, many condo associations have restrictions, or they may not even allow pets. Make sure you understand any restrictions the building has on the type of pets, number of pets or size of pets permitted.

Is there parking? What about guest parking?

Find out how many stalls are included in the sale. Are they covered or secured? Are there other parking stalls available for rent if needed?

Does the building have central air conditioning?

Depending on where you live in Hawaii, air conditioning can be very important. If the condo has central AC, find out how new it is, who takes care of the maintenance and how often it is maintained. If it doesn’t have central air, can an AC unit be installed?

What are the condo house rules?

Make sure you get a copy of the rules — and read them! Before you commit to owning a unit in the building, see if there are any rules that you have questions about. Are there any that you cannot live with?

Enlist the services of a professional, full-time REALTOR, so that he or she can assist you with the complexities of buying a condo, or any home, in Hawaii. Visit online at to begin your home search, or call 377-4646 to speak with a Locations agent.

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