What is a condo?

The term "condo" or condominium describes a form of property ownership. When you buy a condo, you are the sole owner of your individual unit. You hold title to your unit in fee simple, just like the
owner of a single family home.

As a condo owner, you also have a shared ownership interest in property known as the "Common Elements". This includes property used by all owners like lobbies, hallways, stairways, laundry room,
party room, recreational facilities, roof, boiler room, trash rooms, etc.

Condos also include "Limited Common Elements".  These areas are used exclusively by one or more owners, but not by all owners. Common examples: parking spaces, balconies and storage units.

Condos come in many architectural styles: high-rise, mid-rise, townhouses, lofts, gardens, etc. Today's condos are designed to complement a variety of lifestyles: urban, suburban, resort, hotel,
active adult etc.

What is a condo association?

The condo association is the governing body of the condo project. The members of the association are the condo unit owners. The members elect a Board of Directors to oversee the management
and operations of the condo, hold an annual meeting to elect officers, vote on proposed changes to the By-Laws and any other significant issues.

What is a 'Master Association'?

When more than one condo association shares certain amenities (pool, tennis courts, clubhouse, etc.), the amenities may be owned and managed by a separate master or "umbrella" association.

Each condo association or units owner pays a pro-rata share of the operating costs of the master association. This cover things like maintenance, utilities, real estate taxes, staff, etc.

What are the advantages of condo living?

Condo living gives residents a more carefree lifestyle. The condo association takes care of time consuming chores like mowing the lawn, landscaping, snow removal, roof repair, plumbing, electrical
problems, capital improvements, etc. This gives the condo owner more time to relax and enjoy life.

Many condos offer a wide range of services and amenities to make life easier and more enjoyable.

What are the disadvantages of condo living?

Condo owners live with many shared decisions. If the decorating committee updates the lobby and you don't like the decor, you must learn to live with it. You may not always agree with the expenditures approved by the Board. You may have noisy neighbors.

Another common complaint: monthly maintenance fees. In reality, all homes require regular maintenance and capital expenses. Home owners hire lawn services, roof repair men, plumbers,
exterminators, heating and cooling contractors, etc. Sometimes they need to replace the hot water tank, remove a dead tree, or replace the roof.

When you move into a condo, the association manages the maintenance tasks and major systems for you. Your monthly maintenance fee covers your pro-rata share of these expenses. In a well-managed condo, maintenance is done on a regular schedule.

By contrast, many homeowners neglect maintenance until they have a problem. Deferred maintenance is often more costly to correct.

What does the Board of Directors actually do?

The Board of Directors sets policies, adopts rules, establishes the annual operating budget and the condo fees, hires and supervises the property manager, approves service contracts, resolves
problems, appoints committees, reviews topical issues, and numerous other tasks.

The Board forms committees to assist in the operation of the building. Committees commonly include: budget and finance, building systems, capital improvements, security, grounds and landscaping, communications, social, decorating, etc.

Committees provide owners with an excellent opportunity to get involved in their community and help make it a better place to live.

What are "condo docs"?

"Condo docs", also known as condominium documents, are the legal documents that govern the operation of a condo. They include: the Declaration, the By-Laws, and the Rules and Regulations. They are also referred to as the "covenants, conditions & restrictions", or CCRs.

What is the Declaration?

The Declaration establishes and describes the condo. It includes the legal description of the property, the boundaries of each unit and its percentage of ownership in the project, common elements, plat
maps and other required legal information.

What are the By-Laws?

The By-Laws define how the condo operates. They describe the powers and duties of the Board of Directors, election procedures, management responsibilities, insurance requirements, financial
policies, etc. The By-Laws state the percentage of votes required to amend the By-Laws.  

What are the Rules & Regulations?

The Rules and Regulations cover topics like parking regulations, pet policies, trash handling, move-in and move-out procedures, restrictions (like no grilling on balconies), noise, guests, how to make service requests, etc.