Buying a condominium requires all the same mortgage processes as buying a house, but there is a little more to it. Like a detached home, a condominium also requires you to join the homeowners association (HOA). Most condominium HOAs hire property managers to look after the landscaping, grounds, code enforcement and common areas. Before you close on the mortgage to your condominium, understand what you need to know about these property managers.
Know Who the Property Manager Is and Whether They Are Licensed
Contact one of the board members of the HOA to find out who the property manager is and ask to see a copy of their license. Typically, people trust that the HOA has hired the right person for the job, instead of someone who is just close to the board members. But as a potential homeowner, you have the right to know who this person is and that they are legally able to provide the management services.
Many HOAs hire a property management company like Applied Property Management instead of an individual. This company then appoints one of their managers to be in charge of community oversight. This person makes all the decisions concerning maintenance and repairs. They are also the person who comes knocking on your door to collect past due HOA fees if you don't pay it in your mortgage, and they are the person you deal with if you are in violation of HOA rules.
Know How Much of Your Fees Go Toward the Property Manager
The property manager gets paid from the HOA. The money comes from your HOA dues that you pay each month. Before you sign on the dotted line for your mortgage, look over the HOA disclosure to see how much you are paying the property manager.
At some point down the road, the HOA may decide to handle the property management in-house instead of working with a property management company. At thatpoint, there may not be a reason for the property management fees to be included in your dues. At the very least, a discount should be offered because you are no longer paying for an outside company.
Know What the Responsibilities of the Property Manager Are
In addition to keeping up the grounds and making sure you are paying your HOA dues, a property manager has other duties as well. Some of them include:
- ensuring trash is removed
- checking smoke and carbon dioxide detectors
- setting up HOA meetings with residents
- maintaining security
- keeping all the financial books
When you know what the property manager's responsibilities are, you can call them if issues arise, as they are the person who handles it.
Once you know everything you need to know about the person managing the condominium community, sign the mortgage papers and begin the moving process. Keep the property manager's phone number handy at all times, and call them when you need to, or if you see a neighbor breaking the HOA rules.