Just purchased a new unit? Congratulations! And if you’re thinking to yourself: ‘Now, what?’, fret not, here’s a quick new owner’s cheat sheet on the basics of condo living to get you started on your new adventure!
Yes, you now have neighbors! The rule of thumb is to really be the type of neighbor you want to have – the basics of course include being reasonable with noise levels, especially when it comes to music during house and/or dinner parties etc. And because this is a home where you will spend, at least the next few years living in, it pays to cultivate a good relationship with the people living around you.
In the case of unreasonable and/or noisy neighbors, you may contact Management, who can deal with these situations on your behalf, or if it’s noise that’s bothering you after hours, you may contact Security, which should be available 24 hours on your property. Always have these two main point of contacts saved as you will be referring to these parties for most matters throughout your stay here.
2. Home Renovations
All new condo owners should be provided with a manual, which details the dos and don’ts of the property, including restricted renovation hours. It’s handy to know this prior to scheduling renovation works for your home as your contractors can be denied access if work is being carried out outside the regulated hours.
TIP: Some properties allow light renovation on Saturdays (as long as there is no hacking, knocking or the moving of large equipment in and out of elevators involved) – this option is worth checking out as it may help speed up the process of getting your home ready for the big move!
3. Maintenance Fees
One of the perks of condo-living is that it takes just about the same time to get to your car as it is to a variety of on-ground facilities such as the gymnasium, swimming pool, tennis courts, sauna etc. (facilities may vary across properties). And up-keeping these facilities is just a fraction of monthly maintenance fees, which all condo owners contribute towards.
It’s important that you take ownership of what’s going on around you and know where your monthly investment goes to (maintenance fees also covers things such as general security of the building and property, landscaping, garbage collection and property maintenance including fixtures and fittings as well as scheduled paint works etc.
And because all facilities are communal, it is everyone’s responsibility and right to want them kept at tip-top condition, not just for personal enjoyment but also to ensure that the value of the property is being protected. So make it your business and remember to contact Management if you spot something that needs fixing or repairing!
4. Designated Parking
A very important aspect of any condo or property planning is parking allocation, especially in countries where owning a vehicle is a necessity! Always enquire about the allocation of parking spaces, which should be specified at the time of unit shopping or purchase. Some units come with one or two spots, also depending on the size of your condo. If no parking spaces are allocated, you may contact Management for options and renting arrangements.
5. Pet Ownership
More often than not, the rules about having a pet in your condo will be outlined in the manual well, so remember to carefully review this or check with Management beforehand on pet restrictions surrounding your property.
Some condos are reasonably pet-friendly, allowing small pets on the property as long as they are kept on a leash at all times in communal areas and parks, while others are more tolerant to medium-larger sized pets, but these regulations may vary across different countries.
6. Association Rights
Once you own a condo, you’re automatically a member of the condo’s Association. Think of it as a social circle, one in which everyone participates with mutual interest to keep the property at its best.
It’s good to make time to attend Association meetings, which are usually held periodically between condo owners, property Management and the developer. These meetings outline the general upgrades and/or changes to the property as well as upcoming plans that are in the works.
While it’s good to attend as many meetings as possible to keep abreast with what’s going on in your neighborhood and property (and also to get to know your neighbors a little better), however, besides the monthly financial contribution of maintenance fees, it is not compulsory for you to attend every meeting or be obligated to participate in any Association initiatives. If you can’t make it to most meetings, speak to your Management about receiving e-updates and meeting minutes by way of newsletters and/or email blasts.