The Chicago Real Estate Minute
Brick condo building in Chicago

Condo Owners: What Building Maintenance Concerns Should You Have?

4 minute read

Wondering if your HOA (“Homeowner’s Association”) is watching out for potential upcoming issues that might affect you? Here’s what you need to know.

How the Association is Run

The larger the building, the more likely there is to be a property manager. Regardless of who takes the lead on watching out for the building, one thing is for sure — you as a homeowner will be affected by how well (or poorly) it operates.

Some HOAs run things “lean and mean”, meaning that the assess­ments are lower, there are usually more “deferred main­te­nance items”, and anything sub­stan­tial that comes up is addressed with a special assess­ment. Others may have higher monthly assess­ments but are finan­cial­ly prepared for issues before they happen. There is no mandated way that an asso­ci­a­tion must operate. 

Not Glamorous, but Important

The building is in need of upkeep, just like your own home and every other property out there. You may feel less connected to it (than to your own condo) because the whole building isn’t under your direct domain, but you can bet that the condition of it is of vital impor­tance to you.

Indeed, none of these things are very exciting or even enjoyable to think about, but you and your fellow condo owners will be glad you did. As a group of home­own­ers, the more you know and the more dili­gent­ly you act when there are con­cern­ing issues will dras­ti­cal­ly reduce the number of surprises you face, financial and otherwise.

The exterior

Image by Bernhard Stärck from Pixabay

There are many aspects on the outside of the building whose condition and upkeep should be kept in mind:

  • Roof and parapet wall
  • Chimney
  • The sides/frame of the building — either brick, vinyl siding, Hardieboard, stucco, etc.
  • Windows
  • Rusting fence
  • Displaced sidewalk(s)
  • A/C con­densers
  • Contact with power lines
  • Peeling paint
  • Trees or ivy in contact with the building
  • Gutters
  • Any signs of water
  • Any signs of rodents
Image by Fuzz from Pixabay

Inside the Building

Equally as important is the inside:

  • The foyer
  • Interior stairways
  • Common areas
  • Basement / Storage areas
  • Mechanicals
  • Any signs of water
  • Any signs of mold
  • Any signs of rodents

Final Word

Fortunately, none of these things needs to be watched daily, weekly or even monthly — quarterly or even semi-annual reviews should be adequate. Just don’t be the ostrich burying your head in the sand hoping nothing will ever happen. It’s a structure that needs attention, and things will happen.

Image by Rujhan Basir from Pixabay

Whether it’s the leaking roof that ends up drenching your belong­ings, the run-down appear­ance that neg­a­tive­ly affects the per­cep­tion of the property when you’re on the market, or the special assess­ment you’re hit with — you are involved, and the more proactive you are about these things, the better. 

Thanks to Gregg Dimpfl of RFH & Associates Home Inspection Company for con­tribut­ing to this article.

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