Buyer’s Notes: What You Need at New Construction Closing

What should you expect from the condo developer at closing? This is important to know, because this is the critical point where the buyer receives most of the information pertaining to the community. It is important to note that developers do things differently and may not include some of the information that is listed in this article. If this is the case, you should make it clear to the developer’s staff that you want the information and they or the management office should immediately make it available to you. Not having the information below means that you may have trouble: reporting and resolving basic problems, properly maintaining unit appliances and fixtures, dealing with a community emergency, and understanding the framework of guidelines that allow the community to operate. With that said then, what should you expect at closing?

Key, Clickers, and/or any other access items: At the time of the closing completion, you should receive your unit’s keys and other access materials. If this is not the case, you will only be delayed in accessing your own unit. If these are not provided at the time of closing, it is important that the developer provide specific instructions to receive the access items that same day.

Owner’s Manual (General Information and Warranty book): This book/manual typically includes the community’s general information –

    • Name and contact information of property manager

    • Insurance information for the Condominium

    • License information for General Contractor

    • Forms (Vehicle Registration form, Pet registration form, Indemnification forms, Confidential Resident Contact Information form, Unit Access authorization, Architectural Modification request form, Change of Ownership and/or billing Address form, Contractor Insurance & License request form, Move-in/Move-out authorization form, Move-in and Move-out deposit form. The final form will likely be a receipt authorization form that will be a checklist for all the other forms.

    • Rules and Regulations (The R&R form should be organized by physical assets and issues (i.e.: windows, roofs, terraces, parking and pets)

    • Community By-Laws (the By-Laws should be accompanied by a date sheet that enumerates that date of elections, the annual meeting, and budget meetings). The By-Laws will detail what powers the Board has, the role of the Management Company and the community’s employees, and the various details regarding Board meetings, membership, candidacy requirements, etc.

    • Appliance Warranties, Maintenance, and Troubleshooting Information: Most communities will not be decorator-ready (un-furnished). Therefore, all included appliances should be covered in this section of the manual. This will typically include the oven/cook top, wine cooler, kitchen faucet, trash disposal unit, water heater, refrigerator, Dishwasher, Washer and Dryer, and Microwave)

    • Emergency Procedures: This section will detail what procedures shall be followed in the event of a flood, fire, power outage, hurricane, and/or other disastrous event. Included in this section should be emergency contact numbers for the respective municipal authorities as well the property management company.

    • Owner/Association Responsibility Chart: This chart will detail the unit owner’s physical maintenance responsibilities compared to the Association. It will reference the Condominium Declaration and explain what legal parameters exist that separates various maintenance responsibilities. This will typically involve information pertaining to what to do about leaks, window water intrusion, malfunctioning appliances, plumbing problems, intercom issues, etc. This is especially important for first time condominium buyers who are unsure of these responsibility disparities.

    • Telephone Directory: Must include on-site personnel, off-site management personnel, and developer personnel.

Full Set of Condominium Documents: This should include a quick reference guide for key elements such as the unit parameters, operating budget, architectural modification restrictions, unit owner ownership percentages, Board powers and restrictions, assessment collection, special assessment procedures, leasing restrictions and regulations, etc.

Additional Information: The developer also has a building manual that includes details regarding the building’s structual and physical assets. This will include warranty, maintenance, and product data for the community’s chiller or cooling tower, fire alarm system, HVAC controls, fire pump, irrigation, fire sprinklers, garage doors, lighting fixtures, emergency power generator, etc. This is not typically desired by unit owners but should be made available if asked for. As a reference manual, it best suits Board Members that are making the big financial decisions for the community.

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1 Comment

Filed under BoB Series: Buyer's Notes

One response to “Buyer’s Notes: What You Need at New Construction Closing

  1. I’ll try to put this to good use imaldimteey.

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