Goodspeed: It’s fine to check with neighbor about buying your condo


QUESTION: We are one of only two abutting condo units on our floor. Our neighbor is an architect and we wonder if you would advise against offering our condo to him should he wish to make one large apartment. Although he has not expressed a desire to break through to our unit, it would be an option for us to sell without having to go into the market.

ANSWER: Your motivation here seems to be to sell your unit on your own without having to use a real estate agent and go through the traditional real estate sales process.

I think you could absolutely approach your neighbor to find out if he has any interest in buying your unit to possibly combine with his. Even though he may not have expressed an interest in doing this, after mentioning it to him and putting the idea into his head, he may very well entertain it as a possibility.

The onus would be on him to check the condo documents and regulations and comply with them regarding any joining of units. Ditto for checking any city building and zoning regulations and obtaining any permits.

It is also possible your neighbor might be interested in buying your unit simply to rent out. Again, the onus would be on him to check the condo docs to ascertain if renting units is permitted by the association.

If your neighbor is not interested in buying your unit, then you have to make a decision: Either try to sell the unit on your own (For Sale By Owner, FSBO) and all that entails, or hire a real estate agent to help you list and market the property. You seem to be a little hesitant to go this second route, but be advised that you can negotiate with your listing agent the terms of the contract – for example, whether or not there are open houses, when your unit is available for showings, where and how the unit is to be marketed, and any other concerns you might have.

Linda Goodspeed is a longtime real estate writer and author of “In and out of Darkness.” Email her at: