Condos-common walls

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I can no longer maintain a house so am looking into purchasing a condo. I would like to know what question I should ask the builder about the soundproofing in the common walls. I have looked at 3 different condos. The salesperson at each place gave me a different answer when I asked about material used between the common walls. I want to buy an end unit located on the top floor. That leaves 1 neighbor on the side and one downstairs. Would anyone be able to tell me how I could be assured of good soundproofing material?
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Good Life wrote:

Ask the neighbors how the sound proofing works. See if you can do an experiemnt........turn a radio on the unit of interest & then go into the neigbor's unit.
A test is much better than a realtor's (salesperson) assurance.
cheers Bob
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Salespeople often know very little about what they're selling.

--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com
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On Sat, 10 Jun 2006 00:42:43 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Good Life) wrote:

Unless you have the opportunity to physically open the walls (unlikely) there is no easy method. Salespeople love to brag about triple-thick soundproof insulation, etc. Try to arrange to be there at say, 10 - 11 PM on a Saturday Night to see if you can here your neighbors TV, party, etc.
Do you want to leave your windows open? What kind of noise will you experience just from that. I once had a super-insulated condo, but in the spring, I liked to open the windows for fresh air. The neighbors kids would run around the courtyard all day screaming and jumping like the place was a public playground.
Buying a top floor condo could present its own problems. Air there air conditioning compressors located on the roof? If so, can you arrange to be inside your condo when these are turned on? The mechnical equipment up there directly over your space may be from lower-floor neighbors so you might not have control over when they are switched on.
Roof leaks? If you have any, the top floor is going to be the first to suffer. (Lower floor condos are sometimes plagued with bathtub - toilet overflows from absent-minded upper-floor owners.)
Airflow - If the common hallways are enclosed, there should be a negative pressure gradient between the hallway and your unit. Otherwise cooking smells, smoke, cigarettes, pipes, from the neighbors are going to seep into your unit.
Heat - Depending on your climate and exposure, the top floor gets the hottest in summer and will have the greatest (most expensive) air-conditioning load.
I hope I didn't discourage you. I went through the condo run-around in 2000 and it almost killed me. Never again would I purchase a condo.
Beachcomber
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On Sat, 10 Jun 2006 12:21:26 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@notreal.none (Beachcomber) wrote:

I once lived in an apartment where a neighbor's A/C (these were small central units) was on the other side of the wall from my bedroom. When it came on, it sounded like a jet plane taking off. The owner didn't seem to care. I didn't live there much longer.
[snip]

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Mark Lloyd
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snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Good Life) wrote in

These days,many ordinary apartment buildings are being converted into condos.(just a name change and interior furnishing refittings)
were the places you looked at orignally built as condos or converted apartments? the soundproofing may be very different.
IMO,the only way would be to talk with a few residents and see what they have to say about noise from other units.
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Jim Yanik
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Good Life wrote in message
I can no longer maintain a house so am looking into purchasing a condo. I would like to know what question I should ask the builder about the soundproofing in the common walls. I have looked at 3 different condos. The salesperson at each place gave me a different answer when I asked about material used between the common walls. I want to buy an end unit located on the top floor. That leaves 1 neighbor on the side and one downstairs. Would anyone be able to tell me how I could be assured of good soundproofing material?
I don't think it's possible, unless you're buying a condo at Trump Towers or some such thing. It's kind of like the way they build the new duplexes. Instead of putting 2 garages between the units like they did in the old days, they save space by using a common wall, but at least it's interesting at times. It's truly a case of buyer beware, and when you move into the condo, you might have an old lady with a parakeet, and it's nice and quiet...but when the old lady dies and it's resold, you'll no doubt be hearing things that you never dreamed of. I know. :-)
Cheri
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Cheri wrote:

Watch out for maintence fees and special assements.
Sorry we need a new roof and sidewalks the condo fee just jumped 200 bucks a month:( Then there are intrusive rules like no satellite dishes allowed, our owned cable is all your allowed at twice the price, and a friends buying a brand new one reported yesterday it was costring him $2500.00 for ethernet cat 5e wiring... Seems one company is all thats allwowed to install some basic telephone wiring, plus $1500 to plug in and configure his wireless router. anyone who has done this knows its no biggie, perhaps a hour of mucking about, telephone does it or free for first computer 75 per for each additional.
you know condos dont do all this for free, sure they cut grass and shovel sidewalks but you pay for it...
I DONT want to own something and have others tell me what I can and cant do with my property!
but whatever floats your boat
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IIRC,Federal law prevents that as long as you mount it on your own property,not any common property.(For 18 inch dishes.) Of course,if you don't have line-of-sight from your exposure,then you're SOL.
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Jim Yanik
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Jim Yanik wrote:

Just went thru that this week with a friend, the condo marketers song and danced around the law finally told my friend we will not sell to you if you demand a dish. They didnt want them on the front of the unit which happended to be where it had to go:(
I pointed out federal law said he could put it on his front porch, a argument started that their covenants come before any federal law. with that kind of attitude what other trouble is he in for.
incidently the current law is one meter.
time will tell they ended up allowing the dish but hit him up for 2500 bucks for ethernet wiring pure rip off...

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Condo's are tricky animals. If your board is extremely political, it is difficult to get an honest audit of expenses.
I lived in a condo where the developer had a sales office on the premises. With deceptive agreements buried in the bylaws of the condo association, this developer had his lawyer declare large rooms, storage spaces, about half the parking garage, and otherwise revenue producing property a "limited common element" assigned to his personal use. He rented these out, kept the money, and the condo association gets stuck with the property tax bills.
In addition, we didn't find out until five years after buying in, but this same developer had all his utilities on condo association common area meters. We were paying for his heat, light, air conditioning, and the electric bills to run his business for years.
This guy was an incredible operator. His building manager owned a few of his own apartment buildings, so that many of our cleaning supplies, lightbulbs, garden supplies, garage door opener remotes, and replacement expenses were diverted to his personal building. His favorite activity was stealing our fire extinguishers and one time he even took a snow blower.
The point is... even if you have the best volunteer condo board, they are still only working part time and it is difficult to provide oversight and controls to areas outside of their immediate realm.
As for me, no more condos.... ever!
Beachcomber
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You buy(don't "demand a dish",that's idiotic.),-then install your dish,then stand up for your rights under the law.(IF they try anything..they may already know they have no legal basis for their rule.Let them try to trump Federal law!)
And you can use concealment or disguise so it doesn't look like a dish.

HARDLY. The Federal law was enacted in response to such tactics. But..if you're not going to stand up for your rights.... then you pay thru the nose for broadband cable.

--
Jim Yanik
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Jim Yanik wrote:

Federal law says I can put a satellite dish outside my condo? I doubt it. Florida statutes specifically allow one American flag and access to cable television without additional charge. Condo's can require me to install hurricane shutters or white mini-blinds in my windows, so the power over appearance seems absolute. What does fed. statute say about satellite dishes in condos?
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http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Cable/News_Releases/1998/nrcb8023.html
note it says;
Section 207 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 directed the Commission to enact regulations to prohibit restrictions that impair a viewer's ability to receive video programming through devices designed for over-the- air reception of direct broadcast satellite ("DBS") service, multichannel multipoint distribution service ("MMDS" or "wireless cable"), or television broadcast signals. The Commission adopted the rule that currently applies to antenna restrictions on property within the exclusive use or control of an antenna user who has a direct or indirect ownership interest
Condo owners own their condo.
in the property. At that time, the Commission issued a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on whether Section 207 should be interpreted to apply also to rental property and common areas.
you can probably find more at www.fcc.gov
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Jim Yanik
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Down to the question at hand....Fire codes require a fire break between units. My experience (I was a condo owner and president of the association..Which they all have by the way) Some are separated by double sheetrock in each unit and insulation between them. Some to save on insurance cost put a brick wall between them all the way thru the roof to separate them in case of fire. Ours was a 2 story condo and no one lived over us so we only had to worry about maybe a leak that might run thru on the ground floor. Biggest issue was the association and the meetings and trying to get anything extra done with 118 families in the association and about 20% being on fixed income. You want to know more?? e-mail me with questions and I will give you the straight story of three years as an association president and treasurer. bob

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bob kater wrote:

<SNIP>
Since you brought it up... Don't count on Fire Codes being the same everywhere. And don't count on any kind of building compliance on condos which are less than "brand new".
Wood framed "garden apartments" converted to condos or condos built new in that style often have less than adequate fire stops in the attic space common to all units. Fire at one end spreads very rapidly to engulf the entire attic space when not well protected.
We had one such incident here in Cleveland, OH this week. 3-story bldg, 79 units destroyed/uninhabitable. 2 fatalities.
http://www.cleveland.com/search/index.ssf?/base/cuyahoga/114966908828850.xml?ncounty_cuyahoga&coll=2
Jim
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I was living in one in Baton Rouge La.. townhouse was built in 1970 and was built with fire walls etc. Just figured if they did it right so would most. Insurance rates are extremely high there on connected garden homes. I live in North Carolina now and they are pretty strict here on that also. No paying off the building inspector here!

http://www.cleveland.com/search/index.ssf?/base/cuyahoga/114966908828850.xml?ncounty_cuyahoga&coll=2
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some condos limit plumbers to certain companies, supposedly fearing a bad plumbing job can effect your neighbors.
of course this can lead to higher plumber prices, if just a couple are allowed to work in your home.
someone on condo board might get kickback for every plumbing job done.....
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com ( snipped-for-privacy@aol.com) said...

OR, they fear that a GOOD plumber will point out all the deficiencies and open up lawsuits.

That is also not unheard of, and likely FAR more common than most would care to admit.
--
Calvin Henry-Cotnam
"I really think Canada should get over to Iraq as quickly as possible"
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ONLY if those were built AFTER the code was enacted. If they were apartments converted to condos,they may have been built before the code became law.
Not all condos were built AS condos.
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Jim Yanik
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