Condex concerns - esp in Massachusetts

WendyBJuly 28, 2011

I'm looking for a 55+ condo development but I ran across a condEX development. I haven't read up on all the HOA docs, but from what I understand there are no common areas and no reserves (which is what a condO has). The HOA fee is less than half of a traditional condo fee. Condexes are not typical around here at all.

My whole idea about downsizing a la 55+ is to reduce work and responsibility. Yes, the HOA will cover landscaping and snowplowing, but its not always that simple.

If something that is traditionally "common" in a condo should fail or need capital replacement (septic, roof, wood deck, porch, foundation, gutters, yada yada...), I like that such coverage and ownership of the problem would come out of the reserves and condo association and is shared among all the condo owners. But on the other hand, if a different building than mine has a problem, then I like the CONDEX idea that it is not my responsibility. (cake and eat it too...LOL)

I can't find any statutes or documentation about condexes or HOAs in my state (massachusetts). But CONDOs are well understood and have plenty of consumer protections I'm sure. What if there are issues with other side neighbor? What if there are issues with the whole complex (about 16 units total)? e.g. what if everyone lets their grass become crabgrass or dandelions? a traditional condo has professional landscapers and usually (around here at this price point) are usually nicely manicured and landscaped. In a regular street I guess such issues can happen too, but you are not so close together. (I'm used to my 1.5 acre wooded lot, so these close quarters are going to be interesting for me...condex or condo.).

And there is no master insurance policy. Just a regular homeowners policy. I bet the ins. companies aren't thrilled with shared risk with another building occupant not involved in the policy (smokers? etc.). That will probably cost me more.

Otherwise, the complex is appealing. decent size, location, price (after negotiation hopefully), brand new.

It seems like the HOA is going to be (at least start off) laid back and not strict -- which can be good or bad depending on the issue. But these things can change over time.

Can anybody offer anything one way or the other about condEX living?

It took me years to decide to move to a condo, now this...

sorry for rambling...lots on my mind.

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If you google Condex, you will find your answer. Basically the way I read it is that both people that own the property have to take care of it..

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 6:06PM
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Thanks, I did that. I understand the concept. I am looking for personal reviews of the lifestyle and the issues people have run into.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 6:09PM
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My brother bought a condex in MA. It's really a two family house that someone bought and flipped and then sold the two halves separately. The house is split down the middle--each unit has basement, two living floors and attic. There are no HOA or condo fees.

The roof is the main shared item in the house. It's new, so it shouldn't need replacing for 20 odd years. There is some agreement that my brother had to sign about paying for a replacement roof that ensures that both owners will pay their fair share.

The other issue was water. There was only one water meter in the house when DB bought his unit. The other owner agreed with DB that this was not feasible long-term, so they paid to have a second meter installed and the necessary work done so that both of them would pay for just the water that they used. They did involve a lawyer in the process to make sure that everything was done legally and documented for future owners.

Mostly, it's just a matter of living in close quarters. The other unit is occupied by two young women, so my brother always shovels out the shared front walk, and has assisted in getting their cars unstuck. In return, he seems to get a lot of homemade brownies. For the time being, he's content with the arrangement.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 10:14AM
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No help on the Condex topic. However, FWIW...

We are happy we did not buy a condo for our main residence. The vaunted 'no maintenance' benefits are really just that you *trust* a volunteer board to decide what needs to be done, and when, and who's going to be hired to do it. The concept of 'public funds' (nobody's money) comes into play. With our single family house, we decide the what and the when and the who -- and the 'how much'.

We own a vacation rental condo in Hawaii. The condo board is like all volunteer boards -- lots of squabbles over the trivia that's within the level of competence of the average board member, with limited member experience or ability to handle the big stuff.

I have seen two-family home where the halves were not equally maintained.

Friends own an apartment in a Co-Op building. I believe these can be hard to sell because the whole cooperative must approve any buyer -- and I believe the amount that can be financed is restricted.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 12:28PM
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