If you've been considering a condominium there are some questions that you may have about owning a multifamily property. The condominium is quite different than a single-family house in that you are responsible for the interior part of the home instead of the exterior. The exterior including the siding, roof, landscaping and any common area maintenance should all be handled by the homeowners association. Here are some basic questions about condominium ownership.

Q.Who takes care of what?Frequently Asked Questions About Condo Living

A. In a condominium Association everything inside your unit is your responsibility. This means that if an appliance breaks, structural damage happens, or you need plumbing work, it is all your responsibility to take care of. This can be a fine line however, because some plumbing, once it reaches the exterior part of the home, could be the responsibility of the Association. For instance, I once had a client that had some plumbing issues with their toilet and after multiple repairs on the inside, it was determined that a tree root had grown into one of the pipes from the exterior part of the home. This now becomes the responsibility of the home ownership Association.

Q. Does it cost extra to live in a condo association?

A. Yes. When you live in a townhouse or condominium Association you will need to pay a monthly or quarterly fee in order for them to take care of the exterior part of the condo. This could be just $50 a month to several hundred dollars each quarter. Depending on the age of the condominium Association and its amenities, this price could vary greatly. This fee cannot be included in your monthly mortgage payment and needs to  be paid directly to the Association.

Q. Is purchasing a condo any different?

A. Slightly. Once you are interested in a particular condominium you should request or receive a copy of the associations CC&Rs, which stands for covenants, conditions and restrictions. This can be a lengthy document so make sure you go over it carefully and agree with all of the bylaws of the Association. It's not a bad idea to have a real estate attorney look over this document as well. If you have specific questions, you can ask the association directly.

Q. Can I change things inside my condo?

A. Usually. Anything that is not load bearing structural can typically be changed such as paint color, appliances, countertops and flooring. Taking out a wall could be damaging to the rest of the building so you'll want to check with the Association and building codes for major remodels.

Q. Can I have pets?

A.  Usually. Every association has rules on pets. They may have restrictions or limitations but you want to double check with the Association before assuming they allow all types of pets.

Q. How is it different than an apartment?

A. Because you own everything on the inside of the condominium you are responsible for anything as well. However, other rules apply as well such as  noise ordinances, common courtesy and shared walls. It's a good idea to be considerate of those around you as if you were in an apartment complex.

Q. Will I have parking?

A.  Every association is different and you may have an assigned parking space or a parking garage. There may be additional fees for a parking garage and deeded parking available. Again, if you have one car or multiple vehicles, be sure to check with the Association on rules and requirements.

For more information on buying a Portland condo please contact me at any time. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have and help you find the right condominium Association for your needs and your budget.