The Not-So-Simple Easy Living

Condo Living: A Survival Guide to Buying, Owning and Selling a Condominium
by Robert M. Meisner, Esq.  2005.  Momentum Books, L.L.C., Troy, MI.  178 pp.

Flashcard:  Condominium living will not suit everyone. 

With Condo Living: A Survival Guide to Buying, Owning and Selling a Condominium, attorney and author Robert M. Meisner built a compelling read that serves as the “standard text” he strived for:  to inform people what it is like to live in a condominium.  His plain-spoken delivery with dashes of humor cultivates an impression on prospective readers, and they can say to themselves, Hold on a sec, if I want to buy a condo, I owe it to myself to read this book first before moving ahead

A condominium development’s design and layout is much more diverse than many people realize.  Condominium ownership does not apply solely to residential real estate.  However, residential is the focus of this Survival Guide.

A residential condominium is basically an ownership arrangement of an exclusive right to a legally-defined space of air within interior walls plus an undivided interest in the communal, or common, elements.  I know my description of condos sounds drab, not high gloss.  But with a condominium, what you own--and what you don’t understand you own--might hurt you.  Meisner sets aside the sales collateral and peels away the orange to find the onion for readers.  No offense to onions.

Relationships get extensive emphasis in Condo Living.  Meisner is a community association lawyer with more than forty years of practice.  It’s safe to assume, he has seen the human animal at work in condominium associations.  Part Two is entitled “The Operation of a Condominium Association,” and he rests success and failure on the shoulders of the Board of Directors for their impact.  The author reports what he has witnessed about the dynamics involved in condominium associations and offers suggestions to get the group back to the essential functions of why they exist, for the high quality of life that can be experienced in a condominium community.

In addition to the promise of interpersonal living, the author blankets the rights and responsibilities that buyers and sellers can expect with condominium life.  Condo Living provides you the advantage of learning about co-ownership, declarations, bylaws, management companies, assessments levied by the association, and weighted votes and weighted financial obligations.  Federal and state regulations get covered, although Michigan is used as the most frequent state example. 

Parents, if you’re about to pony up financing for your child to live in a condominium in a college town, share a weekend with them reading Condo Living.  Similarly, newbie developers, if you’re on the verge of adaptively reusing a vacant factory to convert to residential condominium units, Condo Living will get you acquainted with conversion warranties and disclosures and the perspectives of buyers on same. 

- October 2011