When you buy a condo your are buying into a business.

When you buy a condo you purchase a specific unit and you are also buying into a home owners association (HOA) that owns and manages the complex. In other words, you are buying into the business that owns and manages the building(s) that contain "your" unit. You are entering into two roles:

  1. you are going to be the owner of one unit and depend upon the HOA for the  operation, maintenance  and care  of  the  building  complex, and
  2. you are also going to be a "partener" in that business - the HOA.

When you buy into most other types of  businesses you want find out about the business and about your future partners. Yet when you buy a condo you may not have all the necessary information needed to evaluate the business and you will know very little about your business "partners" - your fellow HOA members. For example:

  • you are unlikely to know if the other HOA members can afford to pay the needed dues or any special assessments,
  • you will not be able to control who is getting out of the business (selling a unit) and who will buy into the HOA,
  • HOA meeting notes may help you get some sense of how the HOA members make decisions and how they get along. You might also be able to learn if their plans match your: do they tend to vote for low-end maintenance and repairs or quality work,
  • a reserve study may provide you with some idea about the condition of the building(s) but I have seen many good looking but totally incomplete and misleading reserve studies.

Purchasing and owning a condo is a very complicated endevor.