Lisa Fletcher Shares Her Insight to a Site Condominium

A site condominium is a housing development that can have detached single-family homes and/or condominiums that are detached or attached having two or more units adjoining a contiguous structure. It looks like a traditional subdivision complying with all municipal planning and zoning restrictions, but is simply recorded as a condominium rather than a platted subdivision.

A site condominium provides a faster way for the land development process and while it lowers the Developer’s costs it creates more affordable housing options for Buyers. Homeowners can become involved earlier in the management and control of the common elements and community amenities while the development or phases of the site condominium are completed.

Below is an excerpt from “The Condominium Buyer’s Handbook” a publication created by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) as required by the Condominium Act (PA 59 of 1978, as amended).

“The term “site condominium” is not legally defined in the Condominium Act. It is used to describe a condominium development with single-family detached housing instead of two or more housing units in one structure.

Site condominium developments must comply with the Act. The Act requires developers to notify the appropriate local government of their intent to develop a condominium project. The type of review the development is subject to depends on the local government’s ordinances.  Site condominium documents are not reviewed by the State for conformance with the Condominium Act.

Another type of single-family-residential housing development in Michigan is a subdivision which is regulated according to the Land Division Act. Although a site condominium development may look like a subdivision developed in accordance with the Land Division Act, they are not the same. Subdivisions developed pursuant to the Land Division Act are subject to state review for conformance with the Land Division Act. Subdivisions developed pursuant to the Land Division Act must be approved for compliance with the Land Division Act before the developer may sell any real estate.”

As in platted subdivisions with home owner associations with bylaws and restrictive covenants, site condominium homeowners are also co-owners of the condominium association and the common areas and community features dedicated within that development. Association fees are charged similar to conventional condominiums to maintain the common or limited common elements as specified in the Master Deed designed to maintain continuity and beauty and value.

Buyers receive a warranty deed for the “unit” as legally described which includes the lot and the improvement that sits upon it. The homeowner is responsible for the casualty, fire and liability insurance for the entire unit including the structure, just like your typical single-family home. The homeowner is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance for the interior and exterior finishes as outlined in detail in the Master Deed and Bylaws documents. Owners may put on additions, landscape or garden as long as they comply with the Master Deed and the provisional architectural and landscape guidelines.

Lisa Fletcher… Thoughts and Recommendations

All Condominiums are not created equal and it is especially important that you read through and understand what you are purchasing and what you are responsible for before you are contractually obligated.

When buying any condominium or single-family home with homeowners associations, always ask to review the annual approved budget, the last two years of financial statements and recent association meeting minutes (if applicable) so you can get a feel for the association’s financial strength and collective tone of its members.

A Condominium home buyer desires a carefree lifestyle which allows them more personal time for hobbies, travel or work without the obligatory home maintenance routine.  50+ demographic want to downsize but not downgrade from a larger household and like what the conveniences of condominium living have to offer and interestingly enough, these buyers like the concept of a site condominium so they don’t have to give up the freedom of having their own yard to landscape, garden or putt around.

Whether you choose a single-family home in a platted subdivision, a condominium or a site condominium you should have questions and answers.