Five key questions to ask before buying a condo

Financial situation of homeowner's association a top concern

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

The National Association of Realtors recently reported condominiums sales set new records in 2003 for the number of condos sold, the median sales price, and the annual appreciation in market value. Condos are no longer the "ugly ducklings" of residential real estate, which lagged behind single-family house sales statistics. For many buyers, a condo purchase is the first step to eventually buying a single-family house. But other condo buyers purchase because they want to downsize from a large house to a more modest condo home or townhouse where the exterior and common area maintenance is handled by the homeowner's association. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. Still others buy condos because of the lifestyle, which often includes amenities such as swimming pool, fitness center, tennis courts and social programs. WHAT IS A CONDOMINIUM? Legally, a condo is a "vertical subdivision," which includes ownership of airspace to the inner walls, ceiling and floor surfaces of a residence uni...