Congratulations on becoming a condo owner! You will find there are some differences between renting or owning a house. You may have even rented in a condo or apartment before, but as an owner, there are some rights, restrictions and courtesies to be aware of.

condo neighbors1. Neighbors

Chances are you have had neighbors before, but now you are in a place where you may have the same neighbors for a very long time. A good rule of thumb is to be the kind of neighbor you would like to have, including being reasonable with noise levels, especially when having guests over. If you can, cultivate a good relationship with the people living around you from the beginning- it may come in handy if a problem arises.

However, if problems do arise that you don’t feel you can handle yourself, contacting the condominium manager or security is an option. These parties can intervene on your behalf. It is a good idea to keep the proper management contacts in your phone just in case.

2. Home Renovations

If you have not yet received the rules and bylaws for your complex, ask your homeowner’s association for a copy. These documents outline the dos and don’ts of the property, including restricted renovation hours, days and times of year. It would be a big hassle to schedule renovation work only to find your contractors are being denied access because the work does not fall withing designated times.

3. Maintenance Fees

Part of what your maintenance fees pay for are the common grounds of the complex, which may include a swimming pool, gym, tennis courts or other perks. Take advantage of these facilities! It is also important to be aware of what’s going on around you. It is okay to ask how the grounds are maintained. As you get to know the people and property, you can take more ownership. Are there people that don’t belong there or are not properly caring for facilities?

Everyone should take part in keeping the property in top condition so that it is pleasant to use, and also because it is your investment. It is okay to contact Management if you spot something that needs fixing or repairing, just keep in mind that he/she has many owners to answer to, and a host of priorities.

condo parking4. Designated Parking

Condo parking is often at a premium. Your parking may or may not be assigned. If it is assigned, your parking should have been specified at the time of purchase. It is also a good ideas to find out where guests can park. Occasionally additional parking can be purchased or rented, so if you have a need for more space, ask the property manager.

5. Pet Ownership

Pet ownership should also be outlined in the condo house rules or bylaws. Make sure and check through this information carefully. If there is a designated pet area outside, make sure and clean up after your pet. Having a well socialized pet is also good when there are close neighbors. Check with your local vet on trainers that may be able to help.

6. Being Part of an Association

As a condo owner, you automatically become part of an association of condo owners, a group where everyone can participate and share their mutual desire to keep the property at its best.

Attend association meetings if you are able, or at least ask for the agenda ahead of time and the minutes afterward so you can keep up with what is going on. These meetings can cover changes to the property that you should be aware of. There may also be financial reports that explain how your association fees are being spent. In addition to asking your association for meeting info, see if they provide a newsletter. Destination Maui provides a quarterly newsletter for each association it manages, which includes real estate sales information for each property so owners can track their investment financially.