General FAQ

Friday, August 7th, 2009
  • What do monthly condo association fees cover? The monthly fee generally covers common area maintenance(things like snow removal & landscaping), common area insurance, a reserve for replacement(for future repairs to the common areas), trash removal, & water & sewer. It may include heat. Refer to the condo docs. Be aware that common amenities, especially pools, often add to the fees.
  • Why is pre-approval important? Until the economic downturn began, it was possible to obtain a mortgage loan with a very low downpayment. In this current housing market, going to a lender for a simple loan pre-qualification, or better still pre-approval, is a vital step. Not only will you know with confidence your actual price comfort level as you search, but when you do find a unit you really want, a pre-approval letter from your lender is an essential part of your offer to purchase. Be aware that the final loan commitment you arrange with your lender is not the same as loan pre-approval.
  • What kind of prices can I expect to pay right downtown? Expect to find nicer studios & some 1BR’s, both with 1BA, in the $115,000 – $150,000 range. You can find a 1BR with a balcony for around $200,000 in the Third Ward. A 2BR/2BA in the Third Ward is generally $200,000 and up. Parking generally adds to the cost of a unit. 3BR’s are rare in condos, even in the suburbs. You might consider a townhome style or a 2BR plus den floor plan that allows for more options in the use of space.
  • What kind of information will you send me? I can send you a sample of listings that are currently available that closely match the information you provide in your Contact Request. The more specific you are, the more closely I can match. It is likely that individual units will be sold within the next six months. New construction & conversions are more likely to be six months to a year away from occupancy, but reservations & offers to purchase are made before occupancy.
  • If we meet, will that put me under any kind of financial obligation to you? In my experience, a low-key meeting allows us to embellish the basics needed to narrow a search: desired location and price comfort level. And I do encourage you to become acquainted with the condo market in general at the beginning of a serious search. If you do buy a unit, any commission I earn will be paid only by the seller, not by you, the buyer. The buyer pays no commission, only the costs of obtaining a mortgage from a lender or for any optional inspections or testing.
  • Tell me more about this “50 cent tour” of yours? If your desired location is still a mystery, it’s time to get in the car together for about an hour long guided tour of condo developments and area neighborhoods. We can then more precisely discuss your expectations, wants, and needs.
  • How will I choose a unit? When you are ready to begin looking at units, it’s a good idea to plan on viewing several on the same day, to give an on-the-ground sense of your response to a variety of developments and to find the ones with the best fit. If you are a first-time buyer, I will explain the process of making an offer to purchase. When the unit and the development are “just right”, it’s time to get to the nitty-gritty and the details of putting together the best deal. I will continue to see your transaction through all the needed steps to a successful closing.

  • What is the Executive Summary?

    By state mandate, each condo development must make this document available to prospective buyers along with the Property Condition Report. It itemizes information, for example, pet policies, that should be considered before making an offer on a unit in that particular development.
    It also summarizes rules governing day-to-day living in that condo association. These rules are given in full in the condo documents that form part of the offer to purchase.
  • What is the appreciation potential? This depends on the association and the location. We rely on the recent history of sales figures to predict what appreciation is likely to be. For a history of sales for any association, or for the past year in any neighborhood, contact me.
  • Explain my “Right to rescind” Unlike an offer made on a single family residence, and as provided in Wisconsin Statutes, (to paraphrase) you may, without giving a reason, within 5 business days after receipt of the condo documents, rescind your Offer to Purchase by written notice and receive back any earnest money. (refer to Section 703.35)
  • Do I need insurance? Although most associations carry insurance for their common areas, owners are responsible for insuring the interior of their unit as well as their own personal belongings.
  • What is a turn-key unit? “All you need bring is clothing, furniture, and personal items.” Walking into a decorated unit, with all appliances and carpeting in place, is almost the norm in new construction condos downtown, with everything done and ready to go.
  • Who pays for window cleaning and replacement? Consult the condo docs as this varies by association. Some are not responsible for windows or patio doors.
  • Are pets allowed? Again, consult the docs. Some associations allow pets, but with certain restrictions, or may have a “pet” building.
  • What is a “condo alternative”? Typically it is a 2 bedroom single family house, either small or large, featuring an “adult” floor plan with larger master bed/bath, in condo size proportions.