NEW YORK and TAMPA, Fla. (4/2/08)--Suncoast Schools FCU in Tampa is one of the sources the Dow Jones News Service turned to for advice to consumers buying foreclosed properties. Don Charron, senior vice president of the $5.921 billion asset credit union, gave advice on purchasing a condominium in the March 26 issue of Dow Jones Newswires. When purchasing a condo, find out what the potential condo fees will be, he said, cautioning that the fees may be higher if some units are vacant because the costs are spread over fewer people. If the building has been vacant a long time, there might be deferred maintenance and additional expenses, he added. He recommended that potential buyers evaluate the neighborhood at different times of day. If other homes in the area are on the block or being foreclosed, that could hurt the home's value. The article suggested checking with the financial institution selling the property to see if it would negotiate a less expensive loan. Suncoast Schools has been active recently in advising consumers how to avoid foreclosures. In a March 6 item in Naples News, Charron encouraged borrowers to stay in touch with the lender and meet the loan officer face-to-face to work on modifying the loan (News Now March 10).