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    Expect the Unexpected When Buying a Beach Condo

    If anyone knows about the unexpected, it’s me. Within six weeks of my quiet,

    unassuming suburban life, I took a roller coaster ride that could rival a bad Lifetime

    Network movie. You know what I’m talking about. There’s always some crazy plot line

    about a nanny who poisons the dog, steals the husband, and becomes the CEO of the

    dead (by unexplained circumstances) wife’s company. This stuff never happens in real


    It all started when our sweet dog Scout ingested some mystery poison. She teetered

    on the brink of death for about a week. My husband was convinced that some mean old

    man (or lady, if you’re a feminist) poisoned her for barking too much in the yard. She’s

    fine now. Then my seven-year-old daughter ended up in the emergency room with severe

    dehydration. No idea how she got to that point. She’s fine now. Then I ended up in the

    emergency room with very odd and alarming abdominal symptoms. I thought maybe

    some mean old man (or lady!) tried to poison me too. Ends up I’m pregnant with our third

    child at age 40. Not sure if I’m fine or not…

    So as you can see, I have learned in the past few weeks that you have to be ready for

    anything. This is certainly true when buying a beach condo.

    It’s always good to be prepared for the unexpected, so I have put together three possible

    issues that can come up in the process. The first issue is lawsuits against the Condo

    Association. The most common one is “slip and falls”, however there could be several

    other possible lawsuits. This is an issue for the buyer, because it can create mortgage

    financing problems, and can potentially lead to assessments for each individual unit

    owner. Therefore, the HOA financials and the annual meeting minutes need to be

    checked to see what reserves it has. If the reserves are strong, this issue should not be a

    major concern. The second issue is building assessments. These can be anything from

    re-roofing the building, to new windows, to updating elevators, etc. Once again, the

    financials need to be checked. If management is poor, there may be unreasonable

    assessments every year. The best plan of action is to ask the seller to take care of these

    assessments when your realtor draws up the purchase agreement. The third possible

    issue is inability to gain access to view potential condos. This could be due to inability to

    reach the renter, or the renter not wanting to be disturbed on his (or her!) vacation. Many

    times the condo listing agent will offer a gift certificate to a restaurant or local attraction

    due the inconvenience. This, however, is not foolproof, so please be aware that your

    buyers’ agent just may not be able to get you in the condo. Another possibility is to plan

    to look at condos on Saturdays. This is the main turnaround day for condo rentals.

    Hopefully, none of these issues will arise when you decide to buy your beautiful

    condo on the sunny beaches of the Alabama Gulf Coast. But just as I have most

    definitely discovered, it never hurts to be prepared. Of course, a great way to get ahead is

    to call the Henry group at 251–948-5200. Why, you ask? Because the Henry Group has

    the best team of buyers’ agents in the entire area!

    Written by: Helen Henry

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