BOULDER – If you’re considering buying a condo or townhome, it’s important to do your research. A condo or townhome complex usually belongs to a Home Owners Association (HOA), and unit owners pay HOA dues for items like common area maintenance, snow removal and insurance. Be sure to ask the following questions:

Is the HOA well-managed and do many homeowners actively participate in the meetings? Obtain meeting minutes from recent HOA meetings and read through them.

Is the HOA in good financial standing? Looking at the HOA’s records will show if it has sufficient financial reserves, if it’s imposed any special assessments, and how frequently HOA dues have increased in the past.

Are the HOA dues a good value? Learn what the dues cover and determine whether you’ll actually use the amenities you’re paying for, like a pool or fitness center.

Is the HOA overbearing or under bearing? Read the HOA covenants, look at how well-maintained the grounds and buildings are, and ask your soon-to-be neighbors for the inside scoop.

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Chris Cullen is a Mortgage Loan Originator at Elevations Credit Union in Boulder. If you have questions regarding mortgages, please call 303.443.4672, ext. 2216 or e-mail [email protected].