Saturday, November 01, 2008


"No one told me that it was going to be this bad."

Imagine that you just purchased a unit in an oceanfront building at what seemed a good price and the seller was honest enough to disclose, and kind enough to pay, the upcoming assessment for concrete repairs. You probably felt good about your purchase until the crews finished setting up and got into the heavy jackhammer work making life in the building unbearable during working hours. After talking to neighbors in the adjacent building who just finished their concrete project, you realize that you're faced with up to two years of daily tooth-rattling noise, construction equipment and crews everywhere and a swimming pool that's unusable because it's been covered for protection from the concrete dust. Mortgage payments, condo fees, property taxes and utilities continue to be due for the duration of the project whether you can comfortably use your unit or not.

Concrete renovation projects are part of life in oceanfront buildings (thankfully, not frequent) and knowing about upcoming projects and the possible implications for life in the building during the project is part of the homework that I am constantly mentioning here to prospective condo purchasers. If a prospective owner doesn't consider the life interruptions that are part of major projects, they may have regrets even if they are OK with the cost. As part of due diligence for a condo purchase, I recommend reading the minutes of as many recent association meetings as are available in addition to inspecting the financials and budgets. Upcoming projects may or may not have been mentioned in a meeting, so, it's always a good idea to ask direct questions to the seller, their listing agent, board members and neighbors, if possible. In addition, a good buyer's agent should have some knowledge of the history of past projects on the building and should be investigating possible upcoming work on your behalf.

The building pictured above has just begun it's concrete project. There are units for sale in this building priced at the same level as units in similar buildings in this part of the beach that have recently completed their concrete projects. All other things being equal, the choice for an informed buyer is easy. Do your homework.

"However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. "
______Winston Churchill