As we come to the end of the languid days of summer, I couldn't help but think that cats seem to be able to capture that lazy, relaxed feeling any time…any place…except not in some condos!

If you are considering buying a condo or town house, keep in mind that not only does the CIC (Common Interest Community) association charge monthly fees for shared costs, but each association also develops its own set of rules and regulations.

Most associations have rules about pets, which can vary from no restrictions at all to very tight restrictions with no pets of any kind. Dogs are the pets most often restricted, sometimes by number/weight/height limits. Check the rules of the complex you are considering if this is a concern to you, condos tend to be more restrictive than townhomes.

In addition to pet restrictions, other restrictions might include…


  • Restricted move-in and move-out times and reserving elevator space; they will also often add padding to the walls to prevent scratches on both the walls and your furniture and there is also sometimes a move-in/move-out charge, usually charged as part of your closing costs
  • Requirements that floors must be carpeted or a percentage of the floor covered with area rugs to reduce the sounds of walking around your unit in the unit below
  • Restricted times for doing laundry, both in your own unit or in a shared facility…again to minimize noise for sleeping neighbors


  • Cannot make any changes to the exterior without board approval…can include anything, from painting your front door a different color to enclosing a porch to adding flowers by your front step or patio
  • Parking may be restricted, both for you and for guests, and you likely will have to remove all vehicles from parking lots and driveways early in the morning for snow removal…of course, you don't have to remove the snow yourself, and most associations even clear your front step!
  • Rentals usually require board approval…may have restrictions such  no rentals at all, limited percentage of rentals in the complex, time limits on rentals (such as up to a 6-month lease allowed while you are away); board may even require credit and background checks on renters

A shared community is a great way to share some of the responsibilites of home ownership, but in limiting your responsibilities you also limit your independence to make all of your own choices. If the association votes to make an improvement, you will be required to help pay for it even if it isn't something that you would have chosen to do.

Sharlene Hensrud, Twin Cities Condo and Townhouse REALTOR - shensrud@homesmsp.com


Condo vs Townhome vs House

About Sharlene Hensrud

I love what I do! Highly insightful, analytical and creative, there is nothing I love more than helping you find the right solution for your real estate transition. My mission is to serve my clients with honesty and integrity, exceeding their expectations in service and support… and to help others by donating a portion of every transaction to Habitat for Humanity

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