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No. of Recommendations: 2
My suggestions:

1. Find out about past special assessments. As others have said, these can be substantial.

2. Ask the owner if she still has the manuals for the various appliances that are staying (including heat/cooling as applicable). When I bought my house those were all collected in a big binder, I added to it and passed it on when I sold.

3. What type of insurance policy are you required to buy? If your neighbor has a flood that affects your unit, who pays?

4. What is the policy on renters? Pets? Visitor parking? Noise?*
* a relative recently moved into a condo and it turns out they have a rule about not running the washer/dryer after 10pm due to noise -- it surprised me!

5. I agree with getting a set of hand tools, but if you haven't owned a place before it would be good to check out a couple basic home maintenance books (I had one from Home Despot). The book covered such various topics as how to snake a drain, install a light fixture, and reseat a toilet -- all things that I did for the first time after buying my house.

6. Does the condo assoc or the sellers have a list of service people that they have used? If there may be a company most familiar with your heating/cooling/plumbing systems, then knowing it ahead of time would be good. (rather than flipping thru the Yellow Pages in the middle of the night while the sewer is backing up)

7. Have you had a home inspection yet? Try to be there in person and go thru everything with the inspector -- it is a great learning experience. Even if you may be buying without an inspection clause, it is a good idea to have an inspection anyway (to find big problems).

8. Often times the seller may throw things in @ the last minute to sweeten the deal. Like appliances they don't want to move.

9. Get a list of the current utility providers and the contact info. Sometimes a seller/realtor will help transfer the service but usually you have to set up your own account. If you don't do this before the deal closes, it is likely that the utilities will be shut off when the seller closes their account; you will then have to pay to turn them back on and there may be a delay in getting that all done.

10. Also ask if the unit is wired for cable/internet/dish/phone and what service they used last. I moved into a rental that advertised as "cable installed" but it turned out the last tenant had a dish, the dish folks had cut all the cable wires & installed their own, and the cable company wouldn't use the existing wires. Annoying & another delay and cost before it was set up. (Yes, a third set of wires was installed, sigh.)

11. Is there a way to find out if the HOA or the unit has any liens on them? How about any outstanding fines from the city?

12. What type of fire/CO alerts are installed in the unit and in the public areas? For example, if there's a fire in a hallway will you hear an alarm?

13. Ask the current owner to tell you about the neighbors. Take this briefing with a grain of salt. :)

14. Find out whether there is a loading zone or other place that you can park a moving van or truck for when you move.

Good luck & have fun with your new place!
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