One of the most important factors when purchasing a condo is 'who is running the show?'
A professional management company is preferable, especially in a condo of any size.
The Home Owners Association (HOA) often plays a nondescript part in the whole process of buying a condominium. In a small condominium complex it may be run by residents, but in a larger complex it will usually be controlled by a professional management company.
Professional management companies do charge for their services, but they often save this fee by obtaining lower quotes for repairs, because they will use the same company many times. There is also less chance of the company using their influence on resident votes, so they may be construed as more fair. Finally, it is a business to them.
Always ask to see the rules of the HOA, financial report, by-laws and the minutes of the last several meetings. The conditions, covenants and restrictions affect your lifestyle.
The financial report will tell you if there are any upcoming increases in the fees and how much money is in reserves.
Once you have read all the information available, you can consider whether you would like to get a professional inspection done. These inspections include the common areas as well as the condo you are interested in. Once all these precautions are in place, you will feel more secure to go ahead and make an offer.