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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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