What in the heck am I getting myself into buying a condo in Breckenridge? This is a question many of our clients ask us when looking for Breckenridge ski condos. Many of our clients have never owned a condo, and condo ownership is definitely a different animal than single-family homes. While a condo complex is very attractive due to its "lock-n-leave" feature, as well as the location and amenities, being in a homeowners' association (HOA) means you are in business with up to several hundred other owners. With that being said, here are a few questions you should ask before buying a Breckenridge condo.
What Do Your HOA Fees Cover & How Are Utilities Charged?
First of all, make sure you know what the dues cover, and what they don't. While virtually all homeowners' association fees cover common area maintenance like parking lots, walkways, snow removal and even firewood, many do not cover utilities such as electricity—and if the unit has electric heat, this can be a substantial extra monthly amount.
Also, ask how the utilities are charged. Do you have a separate electric meter or is there a master meter for the building and you are billed a prorated amount based upon the square footage of your unit? If it's the latter, make sure the square footage is accurate. We have seen the HOA say units are 900 square feet, but the county assessor only says 850 square feet. This is a substantial discrepancy that would add up over time if the unit was truly 50 square feet less.
Those fancy pools, hot tubs, work out rooms, ski storage lockers, owner's lounges, and heated underground parking areas are amazing amenities to use and enhance your experience at the property, but they cost money to run. This will make your dues higher and require major renovations over time. This brings me to the next question to ask...
Are There Major Renovations Coming Up?
If there are major renovations coming in the near future, how will these be paid for? Is the HOA collecting reserves for these large projects or do they plan to do a special assessment? If they plan a special assessment, how do they plan to implement it? Will it be one large payment or monthly payments with dues over a specified time period?
What Are The Condo Building Rules?
It's very important to look at the rules and regulations. Do you have a 175-pound neopolitan mastiff or any other type of large dog? You should definitely make sure pets are allowed and there is no size limit. Can you rent the property nightly? If you can rent nightly, can you use your own management company or Airbnb? Or do you have to use the complexes front desk? If you don't use the front desk, how can you get your renters a key? All of these rules and regulations vary from complex to complex. You wouldn't want to buy a Breckenridge condo with the intention of earning income by renting it out, only to find out after the purchase that the building rules limit your ability to rent it in the way you were hoping to.
If you have more questions about Breckenridge condos for sale, connect with the experts at Colorado Mountain Retreats Realty. We know the local condo market very well and can help you make the right choice on where to buy.
More Condo Buying Tips From Colorado Mountain Retreats Realty
So these big, important questions need to get answered, but when do we get them answered? With the current state of the Breckenridge real estate market, properties are going from a new listing to under contract in a matter of a few days, if not just a few hours! How on earth can you find out all these answers in such a short time? If you wait to find out ALL the answers, the property will be gone before you get your answers.
That's why you don't wait! At Colorado Mountain Retreats Realty, our agents in many cases know the answers to most of these questions on a high level, but we obviously cannot know every detail of every complex in Breckenridge. That's why we implement an HOA due diligence period in every offer we write. This time period is from 14 to 21 days. During this period we advise you to:
- Visit the homeowners' association's website. Virtually all associations now have a website where you can download and review the associations governing documents, rules and regulations, financial statements, capital improvement plans and meeting minutes from recent board meetings and annual meetings.
- Call the association manager and ask the questions I have posed above. Also, ask what the philosophy of the board is. Do they prefer special assessments for projects or a higher monthly dues so they have a better reserve fund? How about rules and regulations enforcement? Very strict or laissez faire? What big projects are upcoming?
- Call the association president and/or other board members and ask them the same questions. Does there seem to be general agreement on the answers?
- Ask yourself if you can live with the answers. YOU HAVE THE FINAL SAY ON WHETHER THE ASSOCIATION IS ACCEPTABLE!
The best part of this is that you can do this with no risk. If you find the association unacceptable for any reason, you may terminate the contract prior to the Due Diligence Deadline and receive your earnest money back!
So let's get out there, find a condo, and get it under contract. The time is now, the market is hot, and you need a Colorado Mountain Retreat of your own!
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