Living in a condo: What's mine?

Managing Real Estate Broker with Full Circle Property Management

Excellent question and highly misunderstood!

You would need to read the Declarations and Bylaws, a copy you can get from the title company, county recorder, or seller. But basically, most condos follow the same rules (but not always):


Common Area is owned equally by everyone and managed by the Association. Normally, this is structural in nature and includes anything that serves multiple units at once. Examples would be roofs, parking lots, support beams and lumber that hold up roofs and walls, greenspace, trees, common landscaping, siding, shared utility lines that span more than one unit, sump pumps if it serves multiple units, etc.  Your dues is based on the cost of maintenance and improvement of these items divided over the number of owners plus a bit to save for the future.


Limited Common Area: Many condos carve out a space of the common area and allow you limited ownership of it. An example would be a patio area, or assigned parking space. Many condos allow owners to modify this space to a limit, even while mainatining the space, with the general rule that you maintain your stuff in the area. So if you have a patio with flowers, the flowers would be yours and the patio may be theirs if the builder furnished it. There are wide variations here, so read your decs & bylaws.


Your space: Normally defined as drywall in, from basement floor to the bottom of the roof decking. So if your condo was destroyed, they would probably rebuild to drywall and starting at the paint all would be yours. Attic space? Doors? Windows? Electric box? Sump pump? Furnace? Plumbing? Yep-in most cases its all yours! Even though you need permission to replace your windows and may need a certain brand or style, they are still yours.


Make sure you read all the paperwork as this changes in high-rise vs ranch condos, and each set of condos has different rules, but this gives you the basics.


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Gabe Sanders 03/26/2017 11:45 PM
  2. Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl 04/09/2017 05:16 AM
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Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Lend Smart Mortgage, Llc. - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

Dennis Swartz Excellent differentiation for those considering condo ownership. I get questions constantly whether a potential buyer can plant a garden in common grounds. And what do I own?

Mar 18, 2017 06:09 AM #1
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

This is an area that buyers need to check out real close and also what they really are paying for.

Mar 18, 2017 01:22 PM #2
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

Nice explanation Dennis Swartz , condos are red hot here and i can not list them fast enough for the demand

Mar 19, 2017 07:41 AM #3
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

That is pretty much how ours work too. All prospective buyers should read the by-laws and rules of the HOA before buying. This is good information Dennis.

Mar 20, 2017 06:26 AM #4
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Good morning Dennis.  This is excellent information for those who are or thinking about becoming condo owners.

Mar 21, 2017 04:48 AM #5
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

This very good information to share with prospective condo purchasers.

Mar 30, 2017 04:27 PM #6
Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl
Samsel & Associates - Clark, NJ
The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

Great information for condo buyers and owners!

Apr 09, 2017 05:14 AM #7
Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor e-Pro, CRS, RCS-D, Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

A good in depth start on an overview to a complex variety of circumstances.

Apr 09, 2017 05:40 AM #8
CA COASTAL ESTATES Lauren Selinsky Perez CRS
California Coastal Estates - Aliso Viejo, CA
"Your Real Estate Broker" #oclauren

That is the first question most of my clients ask when buying a condo and they have HOA. What is included so I know what is mine and ours. LOL

Lauren Selinsky

May 14, 2017 02:34 AM #9
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Dennis Swartz

MBA, GRI...experience counts!
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