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Old 06-11-2007, 10:41 PM   #1
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Condo/Townhome renovation questions


Although I had originally had my heart set on purchasing a single family home, I have slowly begun to realize that it may not be for me (and my fiancee) just yet. With our jobs and the fact that she is in grad school and I am looking at grad school, buying a single family which would probably need a fair amount of work on our budget in our target area just isn't feasible. However, a condo or townhome for around the same price would be better since we'd spend less time on maintenance hopefully.

However, we would still be concerned with resale value down the road so we would be looking to make improvements to the unit over time. My question is, how limited are you in terms of what you can change in a condo and a townhome? Does it depend on the individual association? As I said, we would probably be doing things like updating/upgrading the finishes in the kitchen and bath and installing new fixtures/appliances, but what if we wanted to move a wall, install new windows, put in another bathroom, etc...?

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Old 06-11-2007, 11:50 PM   #2
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Condo/Townhome renovation questions


You SHOULD be able to make any improvements you wish on the INSIDE of your condo...provided the building dept. will permit it. (and the assoc. will insist that you get any necessary permits). The OUTSIDE of your condo is a different story. Associations are very picky about this. They dictate what color you paint the exterior, what type od porch lights you can use, etc. They will even try to tell you to remove a car from your driveway if it doesn't meet their beauty standards.

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Old 06-12-2007, 09:59 AM   #3
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Condo/Townhome renovation questions


Ok, that makes sense. Does anyone know whether these associations usually issue a set of guidelines or by-laws which tell you what you can and cannot do outside? For example, if I want to put a different storm door on, or put in a bay window, would I have to go before a committee or something? Also, how about licensing? Obviously I'd pull the correct permits for a job, but would they require that a licensed contractor do the work? For example, would they require me to hire a plumber to install a new toilet if wanted one?
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Old 06-12-2007, 10:58 AM   #4
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Condo/Townhome renovation questions


Unfortunately, they can vary wildly
Some you can't DIY plumbing/electrical
Some you can't replace a screen door w/o approval

It depends...and you have to ask your Realtor about specific places when looking, and then trust that they really know the answer

Also, beware of condo fees, they can also vary greatly, and go up w/o much notice
An unscrupulous Realtor won't tell you that the fees are slated to go up right after you move in
If there is a new roof in the condo's near future, condo fees could go up many hundreds...a month
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