Don’t buy or sell a condominium, co-op or townhouse without first reading Ken Roth’s revealing new book, “Everything You Need to Know Before Buying a Co-op, Condo, or Townhouse.” Written by an experienced Florida real estate attorney and condo investor, this important handbook exposes the good and bad of these specialized properties.

Not only is this book enjoyable, easy reading, but the author’s many personal experiences explain how to avoid potential pitfalls. Roth, who lives and practices law in south Florida, highlights the differences between co-ops, condos and townhouses, their drawbacks and their advantages.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

Whether you are thinking of buying as a personal residence, or you are a speculating investor looking for a “quick flip” profit, the author explains how to protect yourself, especially when purchasing a new condo from a professional developer. Roth emphasizes what is negotiable in such purchases and what is non-negotiable when dealing with new construction.

Along the way, the author discusses what makes a profitable condo purchase, such as location, view and amenities, and how to avoid paying too much. The book’s final chapter ties everything together and shares how to sell your condo for maximum sales price.

I found especially interesting the author’s criteria for when it pays to renovate just before selling. His rule is don’t renovate unless the improvements will increase the unit’s marketability compared to competitive units on the market for sale.

The most valuable parts of the book are when Roth, after explaining the facts, provides his personal viewpoints based on many years of owning multiple condos and his law practice experiences representing clients. Such information is priceless when determining what to look for and what to avoid when buying a condominium.

Heavy emphasis is placed on the role of the board of directors who manage the homeowner’s associations. Many condo buyers are unaware when they purchase they become members of a mini-democracy and they must submit to the decisions of the governing board made up of fellow owners. As a condo owner, I especially related to Roth’s description of the “condo commando” member who wants to take charge of virtually every condo homeowner’s association.

Chapter topics include “Preparing for the Search”; “Comparing Properties”; “Buying Directly from a Developer”; “Buying a Resale”; “Welcome to the Association: Dealing with the Board of Directors”; “Understanding the Paperwork”; “Financing Your Purchase”; “Living in Your Condominium, Co-op or Townhouse”; and “Selling the Property.” The book concludes with a 90-question, multiple-choice quiz about the book’s contents.

By far, this is the best “how to buy a condominium” book I’ve read. It is ultra-complete, explaining both the legal and practical aspects, as well as the pros and cons of condo ownership. The many personal examples add realism to the contents, along with the featured paragraphs called key point, read and heed, teaching point, and keep in mind. On my scale of one to 10, this outstanding book rates an off-the-chart 12.

“Everything You Need to Know Before Buying a Co-op, Condo, Or Townhouse,” by Ken Roth (AMACOM Publishing, New York; 2006; $18.95; 197 pages), Available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries and

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center

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