It is two words. “Due diligence.”
Massachusetts is not like other states. Other than lead paint and the existance of a septic system, a seller is not required to tell the buyer anything about the condition of the property, including defects known to the seller. It is up to the buyer to use all “due diligence” to discover and learn on their own as much about the property as possible.
Many purchase and sale agreements will disclaim or void anything the seller or anyone has given or told the buyer. The purchase and sale agreement must include anything of importance the buyer relies on or it does not count.
Here a few ideas on how to conduct your own due diligence in buying a condominium. It’s not hard. You just need to be thorough. Your lawyer can often help.
First, a buyer needs a good professional inspection of the apartment and, most importantly, the building and common areas.
Second, a buyer needs to review the condominium financials, not just this year’s but several years. For example, how much money is in reserves to cover possible significant repairs or improvements? Is money being spent or allocated to keep the structure in good shape? Are there unusual expenditures for legal fees or other expenses from year to year that require an explanation? Are any unit owners behind in their payments? Etc.
Third, a buyer should talk directly with the property manager or the head trustee and also ask about possible assessments and increases in condominium fees. For example, are any special assessments or major improvements ongoing or being planned? Are monthly condominium fees expected to increase shortly?
Fourth, the buyer should review the condominium documents for restrictions on pets, rentals, parking, smoking, and anything important, including exclusive use rights to common areas of the condominium.
Lastly, condominium buyers wait too long to engage an attorney. A buyer needs to have the team in place before making an offer. Too much critical time is lost once an offer is accepted in hiring a lawyer or a home inspector. Time deadlines get crunched as a result. You and your team need time to evaluate what you are buying, and too little time presents a problem for you, the buyer.
Contact us anytime that you are buying a home or condominium. We will help make it come out right!
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