One of the benefits of living in a larger condo building is that you pay your dues and don’t have to worry about much, but this can also be the downside: many people feel like they don’t have much of a say as to what happens in the building.
For people who don’t like all of the bureaucracy or corporate management style of a larger condo building but don’t necessarily want all of the responsibility of a single-family home… good news! You might actually just want to live in a small boutique condo building.
Like anything in real estate, these buildings have their own set of pros and cons. Here are a few things to consider:
The Scale of Repairs
Repairs and general maintenance can cost a lot less in a smaller building. In many of these buildings, it’s like you’re sharing a big house, so projects and upgrades that need to happen are just smaller.
On the other hand, a lot of these buildings don’t have a tons of reserves since dues are typically lower. This might mean that when it’s time for a new roof, residents decide they’ll each need to pay $4,000 each to get it done. Whereas on a bigger building a new roof might cost $1 million, and your monthly dues will reflect that, whether or not the roof is needed when you happen to be living there.
Participation May Be Required
In smaller buildings, members need to get way more involved. You’ll probably need to be ready to serve on the board, which might not appeal to some people. However, this also means that you can have more say as to what happens in the building and your vote has more weight. If there’s something you want or maybe disagree with, you have more of an opportunity to make your case for or against something.
Do Your Research
Before you buy into a building, you need to read their meeting minutes and take a look at the budget. The minutes will be revealing—what do members argue about? What issues have come up in recent years? Is there likely to be a special assessment soon? Etc.
On that note, you’ll also want to find out what types of insurance the smaller condo building has. We’ve seen a mix of situations—some, but not all smaller condo buildings have things like earthquake insurance. If that’s important to you, then you’ll just want to make sure to take the time to research what you’re getting into!