Wed, 29 August 2007
It’s easy to be judgmental in a free market…
Comments? Please let us hear from you. Questions? We're available. And thanks for tuning in.
Mon, 27 August 2007
Condominium Home Owners Dues
The saying "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch" refers to this custom in a back-handed way, meaning that free things often have hidden costs. ...
The phrase refers to the once-common tradition of saloons in the
This is Lynnsy Logue, The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo, Charlotte NC
Twice this week I have heard stories about condominium home owners dues.
Maybe it is because condominium ownership is complex. After all, it is just air space. And condominium ownership is just a percentage. And the Rules and Regulations and the By-Laws and all the documents governing a project can be daunting. And financial statements and budgets for water and bills for taxes of the common area…and the number of dogs or cats…and on and on…I mean after all, you just want a place to hang your hat,
keep your stuff so you can get to the beach or the mountains on the weekends or be able to enjoy uptown and all the razzle-dazzle…or maybe because you just don’t want to have to worry about anything except paying the mortgage and the monthly dues. Let someone else worry. Right?
Please ask questions. What are the actual expenses? Line by line? How much is being set aside for maintenance as well as for the repair or replacement of the big items? In both cases, for the first year of each complex, the home owners were given a low figure for monthly expenses. Of course, new home buyers thought this was a great price, wow! condo living was going to be great, until the project was turned over to the home owners…and the expenses were actually triple because the builder or the developer or the firm that handled the conversion either paid the difference for the first year or only paid a minimum with no funds for maintenance.
One complex had to come together, dig deep and climb out of a negative balance. And then they had to pay extra to take care of their condominium home. Several years later, they are getting on their feet. But meanwhile, the complex suffered, the values dipped and home owners were frustrated, mad and financially injured. With no recourse.
Some of the best complexes I know are self-managed and so are some of the worst.
Ask questions. Make sure you get a recent financial statement.
There is a form now that speaks to the Home Owners Association and what the dues cover, if there are any opening lawsuits and if there are any pending assessments.
And, oh, by the way...you can make your offer contingent on the seller providing the answers...and then, my friend, make sure you verify everything yourself.
Sun, 26 August 2007
August 23, 2007
For the want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for the want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for the want of a horse the rider was lost, being overtaken and slain by the enemy, all for the want of care about a horseshoe nail." - -- Benjamin Franklin
This is Lynnsy Logue, The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo, Charlotte NC
Over the twenty some years I have been a real estate broker in Charlotte, I have been in almost every condominium and townhome complex in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. When I built the first database, I spent hours and hours at the Register of Deeds searching for all the complexes, days and weeks going to each complex, taking pictures (before digital cameras evolved), noting heat source, parking areas, construction and amenities. Today, I have a snapshot of over 700 complexes in my head. You have probably correctly surmised that I am passionate about the sector of our energetic marketplace. It is a challenge for even me to keep up with the proposed projects, the under construction projects, the announced projects, and the inactive projects…and that is part of the fascination I have with Charlotte Condominiums.
But this week, I witnessed something I have never seen before. And while I was not surprised, I was. A small condo building that was new some 20 years ago is undergoing incredible repair. First of all, it was, in my opinion, of marginal quality both in materials and workmanship. Secondly, because it is small, the owners elected to manage the property themselves. And for a myriad of reasons, the maintenance was lacking until more serious issues surfaced. For lack of caulking, painting and proper flashing, deterioration of the wooden structure grew quickly. At that point the owners decided to get bids for siding figuring that would solve their problems. They felt they would not have to paint again and that would put that maintenance issue to rest. But what followed led them to attorneys and lawsuits. Now a couple of years later, the replacement siding and the old are being removed, much of the infrastructure is being replaced: studs and headers. Supports for decks which were never according to code from the get-go are being constructed. New insulation or mostly new is being installed, new flashing where there was none and finally new siding. This time the windows will be wrapped and proper caulking standards will be followed.
I have been on site twice and was allowed to take pictures for my journal. The General Contractor on the job now was kind enough to show me the whole process. This is a perfect lesson in Condominium Care.
First, the condominium homes must be well built with good materials. Second, the units must be well maintained…inside and out. Hallways and byways. Landscaping and parking areas. Everything.
Condominium construction should be done as though the builder were building the units for his/her own family. Condominium ownership does not excuse the homeowner from caring.
I was sad to see the extent of the damage and the neglect, but not surprised.
Thu, 16 August 2007
August 16, 2007
Wed, 15 August 2007
Something Old, Something New
My favorites are the handsome old
Favorite stories are the apartment/condo/apartment/condo status of Heathstead. One of the largest, if not the largest, condominium complexes in
Another favorite in SouthPark is Trianon…and I almost see that being a tear down someday. Precious and pricey location. Still has central heating plant.
Uptown, the elegant Poplar was once apartments.
Fifth and Poplar started off as Condos but the market was soft and they went to apartment status but I suspect the construction is more to the liking of condominiums. Unlike some apartments which have been converted.
Sometimes I get the feeling that an apartment building, complex, is being built with the eventual intention of conversion because the construction is less costly for the apartments in some cases. We’ll see more of this I should imagine and the green gets greener.
Settler’s Place: on North Church St. Adjoins historic N.C. Medical. Five stories. Six units were prior to new building. These units receive tax credit because of historic designation. Newer units face the old cemetery. Exterior construction is EFIS. 2 parking spaces, deeded storage in basement. Older units (5) share rooftop terrace; 16 new units, each with private terrace.
Conversion 1996. Historic building. See AtHomeCharlotte.com Walking Tour. Renovated in early 80s. Parking is off W 6th St.Complex is at
Conversion. Built in 1917 and converted to condominium in 1993.
Business and warehouse converted to condominiums? You bet. There’s Factory South and Atherton Mills. The cautionary flag I would throw on a conversion is the construction. And not just the new hardwood floors, the updated kitchens with granite and snazzy new bathrooms…hire an inspector to go over the unit with a fine tooth comb. Both structural and mechanical.
Of course, that goes for any property. Yes, even brand new…especially brand new.
That is for another day.
Meanwhile, I suggest “Googling? convert apartment to condominiums. Fascinating and good information.
Tue, 14 August 2007
August 14, 2007
The Planning Commission, the Zoning Department, Home Owners and Neighborhood Associations.
I have a friend who is a personal trainer…she says we “tear? the muscle apart to build the muscle stronger. Maybe it is that way with cities. I have lived in
Mon, 13 August 2007
August 13, 2007
Beginnings ARE Difficult…