1.) Do I need a lawyer? Legally, no you do not. However, I suggest you hire a REAL ESTATE attorney as they can be helpful. What I do NOT suggest is that you hire your brothers neighbors cousin who lives in Bum-f*ck Iowa and is a personal injury lawyer. That could really do more harm than good, in my opinion. Get a REAL ESTATE lawyer.
2.) Can I move in prior to settlement ? Uh…no. Never. Sorry.
3.) Can I change settlement time or date at the last minute? Usually not. The title company, the seller, the mortgage company, the listing agent, along with my team of helpers all would need to clear with their schedule. Best to decide early upon a settlement time and date and STICK WITH THAT PLAN. Honest.
4.) Why do I have to pay a Capital Contribution and what is it? Yes you do, IF your condo association require you to do so. It is usually two months of condo fees that you pay the condo association upfront at time of closing. This does not go to the seller. This helps add to the “kitty” of your condo association. You are more or less paying yourself, in my opinion. So buildings like 1830 Rittenhouse Square condos do not require one…but that is rare. In order to raise money for special projects at 1830- they simply assess as needed.
5.) Can I move into my building at any time, or do I need to plan ahead? You indeed need to plan ahead, especially in larger buildings like say The Hopkinson House condominiums where you would need to reserve the elevator and such. Those details will be available in your condo docs and or resale package. Best to read them!
6.) May I BBQ on my patio or deck? 99% of the time, the answer is NO. Per condo rules.
7.)Does the seller have to repair nail holes in walls where his/her artwork once hung? Great question…I believe the answer is no. You bought the condo with the holes already in the walls. Unless you believed the artwork magically floated and hung via a magic spell- you can assume there are nail holes and they transfer with title 🙂
8.) Which utility companies do I need to call? Depends upon your condo association. Usually just PECO and maybe gas company. IF water is included in your condo fees…do NOT call the water company. Ditto for Comcast.
9.) What is transfer tax and why do I have to pay it? Because the city says so. You pay 2% of the sale price and the seller pays 2%. Transfer tax is split between buyer and seller and both pay 2%.
10.) Do I have to have a home inspection? The legal answer is no. The smart answer is yes…do it IF for no other reason than to learn how your condo functions and operates. A good way to become more familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of your condo.