Are pets OK?
Most condos allow for a pet, some forbid all pets. Many limited the number to 2 pets, few allow 2 dogs. Occasionally additional fees are charged for pets but that is rare.
How many cars can I keep at my home?
It varies but most associations allow for a maximum of 2 cars. Some, it's just one and rarely 3 are allowed.
How will I know if the association is financially sound?
Your contract will have either a condo addendum or a common interest addendum. Both require the seller/association to provide you with a set of documents; bylaws, declaration, profit & loss statement, budget, rules & regs and perhaps most importantly the resale certificate. The resale certificate spells out the strengths and weaknesses of the association and clearly states if the condo you are buying has any delinquent fees, special assessments and the like.
Can I grill at my condo?
For many people in Vermont grilling is the first sign of spring and for many of us we choose to do it all year. Many condo projects do not allow it, and even if the bylaws don't restrict the use, the town or state may. Larger attached condo projects tend to be most restrictive and many require that the grill be on the ground and at least a certain distance from the building. So we recommend that if you are into grilling you have the association put it in writing.
Can I rent out my condo?
When it comes time to buy a condo, most likely you are buying the condo to live in. So why should you care about the rent ratios and rent restrictions? Most associations allow for a certain percent of the condos to be rented, often 20-30%, some have no restrictions whatsoever. Naturally as a buyer you want quiet neighbors who share in pride of ownership. Thus the theory is that tenants may not share in your concerns. Too many rentals could pose a problem, but not allowing any rentals has it's issues as well. Imagine 3 years from now you want to sell, the market is tough, the condo sits vacant for 6 months and you are forced to pay 2 mortgages, now what? Before buying at least make certain your condo association currently would suit your future plans but please know that they may change the rules and only existing situations will be grandfathered. To learn your rent ratios, contact the management company.
What is a Resale Certificate?
Back in 1999 the Vermont Condo law went through a major revsision. Perhaps one of the most important changes for Vermont condos buyers was that they are entitled to receive a critical document that tells you about the strengths and weaknesses of the condo association and homeowner. Virtually every condo association in Vermont must provide what is called a Resale Certificate to a prospective purchaser. The Resale Certificate will tell you critical things such as pending lawsuits, delinquencies in condo dues, special assessments, and status of Storm Water Permits, balance in reserves for capital improvements and so much more. Be sure to get a Resale Certificate as part of your condo Docs.
What is a Special Assessment?
By now you probably have heard a friend complain that they had to pay a Special Assessment at their condo project. Essentially what this means is that a large expense item such as new roofs had to be done and the owners had to cough up a sizeable lump sum. Special Assessments occur when the association hasn't built up enough reserves for capital improvements, like roofs or perhaps paving. When you buy a condo make sure you get a Resale Certificate, Profit and Loss Statement and Operating Budget.
What is VHFA financing?
First time buyers may be eligible for low interest rates via a Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) loan. Currently a buyer could get rates around 5.75% with loan amounts of 97%. Even better news if you are buying select new construction condos, the rate could be 4.75% fixed. It's important to know that not all condos are eligible for VHFA, to learn more visit VHFA.org
When buying a newly constructed condo are there any special documents I should be looking for?
When buying a newly constructed condo make sure to ask for a Public Offering Statement (POS). It's a critical document that is mandated by Vermont law, here you'll find not only permit status but also anything in the neighborhood that might impact how you enjoy your new home. Are there any Correctional facilities nearby, are there any new roads like the Circ Highway that might be coming within earshot? It's all found in the POS.