There are things you should take the time to thoroughly check before buying into a retirement condo community on the gorgeous Mobile Bay area of Alabama. The beautiful part of the deep south is a haven for retirees, and it offers plenty of amenitized retirement communities and condo complexes, from Fairhope to Mobile. The following are good tips for anyone considering purchasing one of the many new condos for sale on Mobile Bay. -Review the retirement condo community property to see that it is well maintained -Review the retirement condo community Budget to see if there are reserves to cover such things as snow shoveling. -Is the budget well managed.. always over budget or under budget. A well managed community should not be constantly over budgeted and the reserve budget should be strong. -Check if it is a good value for the long term. How have units been selling. Do they sell quickly. Are the prices of homes increasing every year. -What amenities are there in your retirement condo community and will you use those amenities since you are paying for them. If you don't golf or play tennis, will you pay less homeowners fees if you purchase in a community without these features. Of course, the amenities may help with resale values overall so check that out also. -Homeowner fees in a new community may be lower than what they will be when the builder finishes and leaves and the community takes over later. Expect the costs may go up when the community board takes control. So what the salesperson in a new community tells you may not be the actual fees when you move in. -Are the Community fees low? In a resale community, if there is deferred maintenance, it may be because the community fees are low. If the fees have been low for a long while and the community then decides to perform some heavy maintenance, the fees could suddenly have a substantial increase. -How much for utilities? Compare what you currently pay in your home for utilities and find out what you will expect to pay for utilities in your condominium to see if there are savings. For sound is there an air space between common walls and for energy saving how is the insulation. -If there are amenities, make sure they are being paid for by the builder not the community. Make sure these amenities have been built before the builder leaves. Anything built after the builder leaves is paid for by the community. See what amenities are already there when you purchase. Don't just take what the builder says but do your own inspection. -Read all documents thoroughly before signing final papers that are available such as by laws, association rules, etc. -In a buyers market which we are currently in (check with your Realtor for your specific area), many things are negotiable. Incentives are common. Builders are anxious to get the homes sold. If you feel something would make your life easier, just negotiate for it and see what they say. -What type of "security" features are there. A gated bar going across the entrance really isn't very much security. A 24-hour manned entrance is best but even better is a manned entrance with a roving patrol. -Is there shuttle service to shopping or is shopping nearby? - In the event of a fire, can a firetruck get close to the building and easily access your unit? Check with your local fire department as some very tall buildings may be unreachable. These are some of the things to carefully consider when purchasing a new condominium on Mobile Bay. This is not intended to be a complete list so check with your Realtor for other issues to consider before purchasing a condo. Enjoy your new home and your new sense of freedom on the beautiful Mobile Bay. New friends, and active lifestyle at a 55+ condo community await! Bruce Dixon has been an accomplished professional with real estate knowledge on new homes for sale in Birmingham, AL.