5 Factors to Consider When Choosing A Condo Unit

Due to the rapid urbanization, a lot of countries and states have developed and maximized the use of their lands to accommodate not only the need for infrastructure development to support its economy but also to supply its’ population with decent and quality housing. Since there are small countries which cannot afford to give their people with their own individual lands to build their houses, high-rise developments such as condominiums, hotels, apartments and real estate became the answer. There can be several factors to take into consideration when choosing a condominium.

Location

Choosing a condo is akin to starting a business. Location is very important whether you are single or you have a family. The place should be, as much as possible, strategically located. The proximity of the place from where you work should be given consideration. Remember that one of the reasons why you are buying your own place. And that is all because you want convenience. Should it be accessible through major roads and thoroughfares? Is it near schools, hospitals and other major business establishments? Its nearness to major public amenities does not only satisfy your physical needs but also determines the true value of the assets you are acquiring. When you are buying a condominium you are not just buying a place to live in, you are buying an investment!

Type of Unit

You are buying a real estate property that should conform to your personal need, capacity and character. There are several real estate companies that offer a variety of units in a single development. You can get a unit in a condominium that has 1, 2, 3 or even 4 rooms depending on your need. If you thrive in class and luxury, you can get a penthouse which is located in the highest part of the condo building. The important thing is that you get a unit that will make you feel happy and satisfied.

Amenities

City living is all about convenience. You want to buy a place that will give you not only what you want but will also make your life easier. We are not talking here of standard facilities like elevators, laundry rooms and the likes. We mean the extras like recreational and sporting facilities. Sometimes when you get home after a hard day’s work and you feel like doing something else outside your unit, it would be nice if you can do it without leaving the building. If you are a fitness buff, then a condominium with a gym will be a suitable choice. If you are tired and you don’t want to cook, then a place that has restaurants or cafes would be perfect. Condo buildings that offer little extras like these make them great choices.

Developer

Getting to know the developer is very vital in choosing a condominium property. Generally, units in a condominium building are pre-sold, that is, they sell the units while the construction is in progress. If you are buying a unit that is not yet finished, make a study on the track record and reputation of the developer. It is always best to consider companies that have excellent previous records in condominium development. You wouldn’t want to be left out in the cold trying to get your money back in case the building construction comes into a halt. There are associations of real estate companies which can help you check the track record of a developer of a condominium.

Cost

Cost covers everything that has to do with the money that you will spend in your condominium. The buying price of the unit should be reasonable enough and within your capacity. Check out for other charges not stated in the price showed to you by the developer. Be sure that the company is straight with you about the price of the unit you intend to buy. Get to know other expenses that may come up when you decide to start living in your condo. Inquire about association dues and other pertinent information regarding the maintenance costs.

Miammi Beach Condos

In an era of convenience, opulence, and excesses, the word “condo” stands for a lifestyle and a point of view that demands the best. Condos are dwelling units in a condominium, and are the symbols of this new luxury culture. Amenities like magnificently decorated party rooms, a library, guest rooms, gym, pool and spa make for luxury in a condo.

Condos can be owned either by individuals or associations. When associations own condos, what the individual buyers get is the right to use the condo for a few months. Busy residents do not have to worry about the day-to-day upkeep that a single-family home requires. Instead, they prefer to pay a monthly fee and defer maintenance decisions to their condo associations.

Beginning in 2005, about 48,000 condominiums were proposed, planned or under construction in Miami-Dade alone. This is apart from the thousands of existing units. Today, Americans as well as foreigners are buying condominiums as a second home. Although the Latin Americans are well known for their taste in Miami condominiums, recent years have seen more and more Europeans buying these, which market analysts feel could be because of the falling dollar.

Big investors have now moved to invest in condos in Miami, and places like Metropolitan Miami and Midtown Miami have emerged as hot spots for investors. The mad rush for condos is evident in the way investors have now started eyeing existing apartments to be turned into condos. This increased popularity of condos in Miami has also seen skyrocketing prices. From a price of $150 to $200 per square foot for a luxury unit about seven years ago, buyers are today paying a price of $350 to $800 per square foot.

An increased demand for condos has witnessed the conversion of apartments to condos. Owners of apartments today are hiring condominium converters for the service. This rush for condos is not without reason. Amenities apart, the most important thing that has driven this condo popularity amongst investors and buyers is location and architecture. Whatever is the reason for the popularity of condos, the fact stands that condos have unleashed a new luxury culture that luxury-hungry humans can hardly resist.

Your Condominium Manager: Control-Freak or Nurturer?

Is your Board-Manager relationship dysfunctional? If you’re butting heads constantly or just can’t seem to get things done, you’ll need to examine the individual management styles of each and find some common ground.

This subject involves the management style of both the Board of Directors and the Manager and for each, there are two distinct styles. A newly-elected Board at the same property can be very different in its preferred style, from the previous Board, so this is a dynamic condition. The Board may be very involved, very hands-on and prefer to direct their Condominium Manager with specific and detailed instructions; or the Board may prefer that the Manager be very proactive and look after things with as little of their involvement as possible. With either management style, you as a Board should understand that no matter your preference, decision-making is still the Board’s responsibility – not the Manager’s. Allow me to reiterate this: decisions are not the Manager’s responsibility – even if you would prefer it that way.

For the Involved Board, your Manager will take direction and carry out the specific tasks you (reasonably) request of them (an example of this involves the Vice-Chair who regularly walks the property and sends a list of maintenance items and by-law infractions to the Manager to engage the contractors and send letters to the offending residents). For the Less-Involved Board, your Manager should advise you of maintenance items and by-law infractions and while they may act within the authority allowed to them by the Management Contract, they must still report to the Board and should have such actions ratified by the Board.

Whichever your style, be sure that both your Board and your Manager have a clear understanding of your preferences and of the specific procedures and expectations involved by both parties. The real caution in all this, is the style of the Manager. I have worked with many Managers over the years who, while yes, may have the knowledge and experience to tell you what the “right” decision is or how to handle things or who may even move forward and do them on your behalf. Many, in the interests of expediency or ego or both, forget that the Board must make the final decision. This should not be confused with the Manager’s job to provide solid information (or to complete certain tasks for which they have the authority or are responsible to perform according to your agreement) – this is intended in respect of actual decision-making.

Your Manager should provide guidance, professional advice, experience-based reasoning and all the research that the Board needs to make an informed decision, but he or she should never lead, point or otherwise influence the Board’s choices. We’re speaking here, of decisions such as: which of the three quotes to choose; whether or not to evict a tenant; or if a contractor’s job has been completed satisfactorily. Although some Boards prefer to have their Manager tell them which is the best choice, your Manager is a Facilitator, not a Dictator and should be proficient in assisting you to make the best choice – never to tell you what the choice should be. Because the final responsibility rests with the Board, your duty is to draw a line and be vigilant that this line is not crossed.

The Board carries some large responsibilities – if the Manager you’re paying is not fitting in with your style – find someone who will.

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Condominium Formation and Conversion – Rhode Island

Q. What is a condominium and how is it formed?

In Rhode Island, a condominium is any real estate project which includes individually owned units (i.e. a residential unit) and common elements (i.e. general common elements and limited common elements) that are owned by the unit owners as tenants in common.

A condominium is created in Rhode Island by recording a declaration of condominium with the appropriate office in the city or town where the project is located. The declaration must be drafted in accordance with the Rhode Island Condominium Act (the “Act”) for all condominiums created after July 1, 1982.

Q. What are the bylaws?

The bylaws are the rules of the condominium. The bylaws are enforced by the association’s elected officials. The bylaws can be changed with a certain percent vote of the unit owners of the association. A buyer should always review the bylaws carefully prior to entering into a purchase and sales agreement. Buyers are sometimes surprised to find out that representatives of the association are allowed to enter the buyer’s unit; pets are not allowed; or a buyer is not allowed to alter the exterior of their unit without the permission of the association.

Q. What is a condominium unit? What is a general common element? What is a limited common element?

A condominium unit (i.e. residential living space) is the area that a unit owner has exclusive ownership interests in.

A general common element is owned by all of the unit owners as tenants in common with each other and all unit owners have the right to use and enjoy a general common element (i.e. a road).

A limited common element of a condominium is owned by all unit owners as tenants in common with each other. However, only one unit owner or a limited, specified group of unit owners have the right to use and enjoy a limited common element (i.e. a patio, driveway, or porch).

Q. What is a condominium purchase and sales agreement?

A condominium purchase and sales agreement is a contract to buy and sell a unit. Many residential sellers will use a standard purchase and sales agreement form. However, there are a many different purchase and sales contracts available. It is always advisable to have an attorney who is experienced with condominium law to review or draft a purchase and sales agreement prior to signing any such agreement.

Q. What is a public offering statement?

A public offering statement is a summary of the declaration and includes important information relating to the condominium. A public offering statement must be drafted in accordance with the Rhode Island Condominium Act for all condominiums created after July 1, 1982. A buyer has the right to cancel the purchase and sales agreement within 10 days after the receipt of the public offering statement. A seller who is required to deliver a public offering statement to the buyer will face penalties prescribed by the Act if the seller fails to provide a public offering statement.

Q. Is a public offering statement required prior to the closing of all condominiums?

A public offering statement is required by any declarant or person who is in the business of selling real estate when that declarant or person offers a unit for sale on his own account to a purchaser of a condominium unit.

A public offering statement is not required in the following instances: i. if the condominium contains 12 units or less, is not subject to further development rights, and the declarant has owned the units for more than 2 years from date of first sale; and ii. nonresidential projects where all of the units are nonresidential or in residential projects where waived by agreement; and in the following instances: disposition or transfer by gift; court order; by a government agency; foreclosure or in lieu of foreclosure; disposition or transfer to a person in the business of real estate who intends to resell the unit; and when the purchase and sales agreement may be cancelled without penalty by the buyer.

Q. What is a condominium resale certificate? When is a resale certificate required prior to the closing?

A resale certificate is prepared by the association upon the request of a unit owner who is selling his or her unit. The resale certificate contains important information and must be drafted in accordance with the Rhode Island Condominium Act.

A resale certificate is required for all sales when a public offering statement is not required. However a resale certificate is not required if a public offering statement is exempt as explained in the previous question.

Holding Effective Condominium Board Meetings

Evaluations work. A very effective practice for Board members is to evaluate the quality of their Board operations. Many times, Board members do not know what they do not know about their own Board. Board evaluations are mandatory in many for-profit industries. These Board members know it is critical to regularly conduct short, practical evaluations of their Board operations, and then act on the results of those evaluations during the year.

Evaluations need not take a long time — many times, even 15 minutes a year from each Board member to complete a short questionnaire, followed by half an hour to discuss results and plan a strategy for improvement.

Some boards may feel they do not need assessments. I would suggest that these boards complete the free Board assessment tool offered by BoardWalk Consulting. This assessment should also be completed confidentially. If your board scores anything lower than an eight on any of the five criteria, then it may be time for an evaluation to find and correct deficiencies in your operations.

Before you undertake the exercise to evaluate your board, make sure everyone is onside with this exercise and the first question to ask is, what are we evaluating? There are different assessments that can be completed, like board effectiveness or individual board members. Individual board member performance should never be evaluated until everyone has been educated on their role within the board. It can be demoralizing to be evaluated against criteria you were not aware was part of your responsibility. We will focus this article on board effectiveness as a whole.

Here are some sample questions to help evaluate your board performance. Have your board members complete the survey, and then summarized the answers. Instruct your board members that the survey should be completed quickly and with honesty, do not over think the answers.

Some points to consider before implementing the assessment.

1. Make sure your questionnaire is relevant to your corporation and the items you wish to measure. Your board members will lose interest answering irrelevant questions.

2. In order for evaluations to work, everyone must be open and honest. The only way to accomplish this is to ensure confidentiality in the questionnaire. Have an independent third party prepare the summaries.

3. Don’t try to be too comprehensive in your assessment.

Commit to acting on the results of your survey. These evaluations tools give an excellent picture of a board weaknesses and strength. Their power is proven. If there is no follow-up to these exercises, then they are simply a waste of the time and energy of your volunteers.

– Board has full and common understanding of the roles and responsibilities of members, management and staff within the corporation.

– Board receives regular reports on finances/budgets, products/program performance and other important matters.

– Board effectively communicates to the community.

– Board meetings facilitate focus and progress on important matters.

– Each member of the board feels involved and interested in the board’s work.

– The board members receive regular training and information about their responsibilities.

– New board members are oriented to the board, including a board operation manual, the corporations Declaration, By-laws and the Act, as well as their roles and responsibilities as board members.

– Board organization is documented with a description of the board and board committee responsibilities.

– The organization has at least the minimum number of members on the Board of Directors as required by their bylaws or the Act.

– The board has a process for handling urgent matters between meetings.

– The board has an annual calendar of meetings.

– Meetings have written agendas and materials relating to significant decisions are given to the board in advance of the meeting.

– Conflicts among directors do not interfere with the Board’s work.

– Our financial monitoring and control systems enable us to quickly identify errors and protect us from most criminal activities.

– I am proud to be a Director of this corporation.

The responses should ranked as simply “Agree or Disagree”, collected and summarized. I like to view the summaries in bar graph format.

These summaries for each question can then be used to determine if there is a problem in a particular area, and can also help prioritize areas to focus for improvement.

Condominium Corporations would do well to take note of the practices of boards in highly effective companies. While the industries may be different, the need for effective decision making structure is the same.