Condominium By-Laws: Why are they so important?

If you are considering purchasing a condo, it is important that you read through all the condominium documents that have been provided by the seller for your review. You will be provided with what appears to be an overwhelming amount of paperwork, but reading through the information will assist you in making an immediate decision as to whether this is the right condo for you and it may also assist you down the road should any issues arise that impact you as the owner. 

The condominium package that you receive, often called the “resale package”, will contain an entire set of condominium governing docs that include the Declaration, By-laws, copies of financial records of the condo, plat and plans, and rules and regulations. The By-laws are perhaps the most important part of any condominium association documents. The By-laws are a contract between the condo association and the owners. The condo unit must be used only in accordance with the Bylaws of the association. They contain certain information such as the duties and authority of the Board, what parts of the condo you own, whether leasing is permitted, what responsibilities unit owners have, what kinds and sizes of pets are permitted, age restrictions, procedures for any special assessment and whether or not a special assessment requires the vote of the members (owners), procedures for setting and raising assessment amounts and whether there is a limit on annual assessment increases, insurance requirements, and the list goes on and on.

Taking the time to read through and familiarizing yourself with the terms of condominium documents will put you in a much better position to determine if the condo is the right one for you. 

Headlines: Consumers don't shop for mortgage, title services enough

Here's a look at what's happening in real estate in the District of Columbia and beyond. 

Why DC's housing inventory shortage will continue 'for the foreseeable future'

A recent uptick in the number of homes on the market hasn’t been enough to balance an inventory shortage in the DC metro, and low inventory will likely continue to be a theme through the year. -Urban Turf

How to negotiate closing costs on a newly constructed home

Today, many builders offer incentives to the buyer in the form of either upgrades to the house or credits given at settlement that help reduce the closing costs. -Washington Post

How much for a Georgetown condo under 440 square feet?

This zero-bedroom condo thinks a lot of itself, and it should with how well it's able to transform a potentially cramped abode into a well-lit, well-furnished space. -Curbed DC

JBG acquires majority of Akridge's Half Street project by Nationals Park

DC developer Akridge has sold the majority of its Half Street parcel across from Nationals Park to The JBG Cos., which is expected to redevelop the site with two new residential buildings and a large amount of what one executive called "dramatic" retail. -Washington Business Journal

Study shows consumers spend too little time mortgage shopping

According to a recent report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in conjunction with the Federal Housing Finance Agency, a significant number of consumers may not be shopping enough to ensure they are receiving the mortgage that best fits their circumstances. -Washington Post

Equity One unveils Westbard development plans

The condo building proposed for the Manor Care site would have 75-foot heights facing River Road, but rise 50 feet in the back to better fit in with the single-family homes in the neighborhood. The company is planning about 250 units for the two buildings. -Bethesda Magazine

Headlines: Title problems can snag your closing; pre-printed real estate contracts can get you fined

Here's a look at what's happening in real estate in and around the District of Columbia.

Title problems can snag your closing

The unexpected unreleased mortgage lien rears its ugly head all too often, according to those of us charged with shepherding consumers through the last stages of home buying. -Washington Post

Pre-printed real estate contracts could get you fined

It’s a seemingly innocuous practice, some say a convenience, but many real estate agents are steering their brokerages toward enormous fines and unwanted attention from state and federal regulators — and they don’t even realize it. -Inman News

Dying to see the luxury condos on 14th Street built on the site of a funeral home?

In addition to having been developed on the site of a former funeral home, Lionshead has the distinction of being the first new building to pass the District's Green Area Ratio inspection. -Washington Business Journal

Best architectural addition of the year for 2014

The home is essentially a series of glass cubes set onto a hilltop in Rappahannock County, Virginia with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. -Urban Scrawl

A different kind of pop-up

The homes are meant for one occupant, and have a kitchen, bathroom, living room, a separate bedroom and a front door with an outside patio. The one thing that the homes need: a vacant plot of land to sit on. -Urban Turf

The cost of living everywhere in the world in one index

This is an infographic on the cost of living all around the world. When you look at the data, presented in this way, the results are a bit staggering. -Business Insider

Close It!™ House of the Week: Sunny 1 Bedroom in Adams Morgan

This week we venture over to Adams Morgan, recently named one of the country's Top 10 neighborhoods, to check out a beautifully renovated 1-bedroom condo with fireplace. It's listed at $379,000.

The unit is located in an historic, full service building and features 10-foot ceilings as well as a renovated kitchen with stainless steel appliances and vintage hardwood floors. It's just steps away to the bustling 18th street corridor where plenty of restaurants and quirky shops await. 

Assuming a homebuyer puts down 20 percent on a conventional loan, her cash to close number will be approximately $89,213.17. Monthly payments with carrying charges would then be around $2,209.01 per month. For a complete picture of the cash to close, or for a run-down of the seller's side of the deal, plug the numbers into the Web version of Close It™ or download the free iOS app.

Close It!™ House of the Week: Beautiful blend of row home, condo living

This week we're going across town to check out a top-unit condo unit situated west of RFK Stadium and just a block or so from Lincoln Park in Capitol Hill East. It's listed at $475,000.

It's a 2 bedroom / 2 bathroom condo with private deck and two off-street parking spots. Plenty of sunlight streams in from three exposures. All together, it's about 1,100 square feet and just steps from Eastern Market, H Street, Barrack's Row and Capitol Hill. 

Assuming a homebuyer puts down 20 percent on a conventional loan, her cash to close number will be approximately $109,485.10. Monthly payments with carrying charges would then be around $2,253.33 per month. For a complete picture of the cash to close, or for a run-down of the seller's side of the deal, plug the numbers into the Web version of Close It™ or download the free iOS app.

  • Ways to save at closing

    Title charges are the largest chunk of closing costs and can vary by hundreds of dollars.

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  • What are closing costs?

    The real estate closing process involves loan steps, legal steps and title steps.

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  • What's title insurance?

    Insure your legal ownership just like you'd insure the building, but for lots cheaper.

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