Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Retirement Lessons - Condo Associations and Home Buyers

Just back from our trip to Vermont to scout some possible condos for our downsizing. Since I’ve been driving four and a half hours, this will be brief. Here’s what I’ve learned.

A monthly association fee generally covers mowing, trimming hedges between units, garbage disposal and snow removal. If you have bushy plantings behind your condo, you and your neighbors hire and pay someone to trim them periodically. Kaching.

Yes, the association takes care of painting and a new roof if needed. However, those types of major repairs are generally paid for via an added “assessment” that is spread across all the affected condo owners. Kaching, kaching.

Condo boards have such power as to place a potential buyer in a “Sophie’s Choice” situation. One of the condos we looked at allows just one pet—one dog or one cat. We have two cats. So, if we wanted to buy that condo, we’d have to decide which one of our children to keep and which to give away. As if.

In Rhode Island, the seller pays the title transfer tax/fee. In Vermont, the buyer pays the title transfer tax/fee. So a seller in Rhode Island who is buying in Vermont (that would be me, dear readers) gets hit with a double whammy. Kaching, kaching again.

And finally, in a buyers’ market, deadlines must be adhered to rigidly by the seller. However, for the buyer, all deadlines are moving targets. Oh yes, and when a buyer misses a deadline, the closing date still stands.

I am so glad I bought two bottles of wine at the New Hampshire State Liquor Store at the rest area on our way home from Vermont.

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