Condominiums

CONDOMINIUM UNIT PURCHASES AND SALES

          The law offices of Pun & Associates takes pride in providing quality legal services and representation to individuals or entities who are looking to purchase or sell condominium units, whether as a primary residence or as an investment property, in the New York and New Jersey metropolitan area.  The New York and New Jersey metropolitan area shall comprise of all five boroughs of New York City, Nassau and Suffolk counties in Long Island and Rockland and Westchester counties in New York State along with all New Jersey counties.

          If you are a first-time buyer or seller of a condominium unit or if you have already purchased a condominium unit, Pun & Associates would gladly like to represent you in the transaction process.  Our dedicated staff and experienced attorneys will help make the buy/sell process as streamlined and as stress-free as possible.  You should know that, in the event you will need financing to purchase the property, it is reasonable to expect the closing of your property to take 2-3 months after the signing of the contract of sale.

          As buying and selling a condominium unit is a complex transaction, it is always advisable that you obtain the representation of an attorney to safeguard your rights and clarify your responsibilities during the purchase or sale of a condominium unit.  We, at Pun & Associates, will be with you every step of the way from the signing of the contract to the closing of the transaction.

          Purchasing or selling a condominium unit is slightly different than purchasing or selling a residential real estate property in that the transaction centers around an apartment within a building.  A buyer of a condominium unit will become part of a condominium association.  As such, a buyer must adhere to the condominium’s declaration, by-laws, rules and regulations.  The buyer must also to pay a monthly fee to the condominium for common charges to maintain the upkeep of the property by the condominium association’s maintenance department.  At closing, the buyer will likely have to pay for one advanced month of common charges to the condominium.  For example, if the buyer purchases the unit in March, the buyer will have to pay April’s common charges at closing.  

          Since the procedural steps in the purchase and sale of a condominium unit are similar to that of, say the standard one-family home, we invite you to look at the “Residential Real Estate” section of our website for more information.  Please also refer to the subsection entitled “Common Areas and Limited Common Areas” for more information related to the condominiums.     

COMMON AREAS AND LIMITED COMMON AREAS

          Ownership of a condominium unit has many key differences when compared to the ownership of the standard single family home.  For example, some advantages that are commonly cited is that in that when it snows, you do not have to shovel the snow from the sidewalk, you do not have to mow the lawn, or even rake the leaves.  Chores like these are performed by the maintenance persons hired by the condominium association.  The condominium association is responsible for maintaining areas that are called common areas.  The exterior of the condominium building is the condominium association’s responsibility.  The common areas can also be called the common elements.  

          The common areas are areas that are the responsibility of the condominium association to maintain, clean and repair, if needed, and are not the responsibility of the individual condominium unit owners.  However, in order for the condominium association to pay for the daily maintenance of the common areas, each condominium unit owner will have to pay what are called “common charges” each month.  The amount paid depends upon the percentage interest in the common elements that corresponding unit owner has.  The higher the percentage interest, the higher the monthly common charges.

          Limited common areas are areas that are the responsibility of the unit owner and the condominium association has no obligation to maintain.  The unit owner may also be responsible to repair and replace certain items that are considered common areas.  Limited common areas are items that are part of the condominium unit owned.  Examples of limited common areas are the interior walls of the unit, permanent fixtures, such as cabinets, tiles, carpeting, sinks, decks, balconies or patios that are only accessible through the ownership of a particular unit.

          To get a clearer and better understanding of what would be the common areas and what would be the limited areas, it is recommended that, before you sign the contract to purchase a condominium unit or units, you obtain a copy of the condominium’s declaration (Master Deed in New Jersey) and a copy of the covenants, conditions, restrictions and easements of the condominium.  You should have an attorney review those documents so that he or she can advise you as what to expect are your responsibilities and what are the responsibilities of the condominium association.  The attorneys at Pun & Associates will review the relevant condominium documentation to make sure you are properly informed as to which items are the responsibility of the condominium unit owner and which items are the responsibility of the condominium association.  

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