So you’re thinking of buying a condo but you want to see the condo docs first.
I can show you how to do that (at least locally).
But first I’m going to back up a bit.
If you are buying a condo in Florida the law mandates that you get a copy of the condo docs to review prior to closing. If it is a re-sale condo (i.e., not brand new) you have three business days to review these documents. If you do not get a copy of these documents you can cancel the agreement with no penalty. You also have the three days to review what is called the “Condo Governance Form,” the “Frequently Asked Questions,” and the condo’s most recent financial statement.
So you’ve got the best of both worlds here. If you get the docs early, great. But if you don’t get them, you don’t have to close.
Alright, now how to get the docs. This applies to St. Johns County.
In St. Johns County, Florida, here’s how you find Condo Docs (or Homeowners Association docs) online:
- Go to the Clerk of Courts website at http://www.clk.co.st-johns.fl.us/
- Place your pointer over RECORDING and click online records search
- Put the name of the condominium community in the “Name” box, and then next to the “Document” box I click the gray box, and then scroll down and check the items between (85) and (91), most of which have to do with Covenants and Restrictions (the fancy name for condo or HOA docs).
This “Name” box is the trickiest part. On occasion communities are chartered under different names, or with a name that’s a bit more elaborate, and the computer won’t spit it out.
Another sticky point: covenants and restrictions filed before 1990 aren’t online. To get those you have to go to your real estate agent or the title company that will be handling the closing, or physically go into the Clerk of Courts office. Another alternative is to get them from the property management company, but this will cost you $$$, whereas the title company that is doing the closing will typically provide them for free.