But that’s part of the, “deal” when you buy a condo. Unfortunately, the needs of the building come before your own personal needs or wants, and if you’re in the minority, your opinion may not count. If the other owners decide that something is necessary, you’re stuck footing part of the bill, whether you want to to spend the money or not.
Sometimes condo associations have a cash reserve to pay for unexpected expenses (the building’s emergency fund). Our association chose to keep our condo fees as low as possible, which means there’s no reserve and I have to cut a check every time there’s an emergency.
While that’s not personally the way I prefer to do business, it’s what we had to accept when we bought a unit in the building.
While folks in expensive cities accept that condo living is their only buying option (unless you have a cool million *or more* to buy a single family home), it’s something that’s sort of a foreign concept to country dwellers like my parents.
Here’s what I’ve learned about money and condo living over the past 2 1/2 years:
- If you’re fiercely independent don’t buy a condo. and hate not having control of every aspect of your financial life, don’t buy a condo. You’re better off renting or moving somewhere cheaper where you can afford a single family home.
- If you want something done right, do it yourself! The other owners may be too busy or to lazy to look for bids and wait around for contractors. If you’re not made of money (I’m not) and you care about the quality of the work (or service) being delivered, offer to be the person who sets everything up.
- Do your own due diligence. Make sure your neighbors aren’t hooking up their contractor buddies with kickbacks. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a probably good thing if your neighbor knows a, “great contractor” who does good work. But make sure the association gets multiple bids before you sign a contract so you know you’re not padding somebody’s pockets.
- Shut up and write the check. Sometimes you have to bite your tongue and give in your neighbors. You don’t want to be the, “difficult” neighbor who’s always causing a fight when the rest of the neighbors want to buy something. Pick and chose your battles wisely. In this case, the repair was necessary, so I’m not complaining. I do however, wish the timing was a little different. We knew that we were going to have to make the repair. Why we waited to make a $2,500 repair right after Christmas, I don’t completely understand!? Biting my tongue…
Do you live in a condo? What do you like/dislike about your association? If you own a single family home, do you enjoy having complete control over your house repairs? I think I would!
Image: Jay Wentworth