Beware of buying a bad condo

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Editor's note: Robert Bruss is temporarily away. The following column from Bruss' "Best of" collection first appeared Sunday, April 16, 2006. Whether you are a first-time home buyer, or a retiree planning to "down-size" your residence, condominiums are "hot" during the 2006 peak home-buying season. In most communities, condos are still affordable for home buyers. Condominiums are no longer the "ugly ducklings" of real estate. Now they appreciate in market value almost as fast as single-family houses. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. As a longtime condo owner, I've witnessed their ups and downs in both popularity and desirability. Most condo owners are very satisfied. However, some condo complexes are poorly managed. Others have high monthly fees with sub-standard maintenance quality. Worst of all, some condo complexes have become occupied mostly by renters, rather than owner-occupants, where there is little pride of ownership. Buying a condo is not as simple as buy...