Here’s a How-to Guide on Breaking Out

“Escaping Condo Jail” is a long-overdue wake-up-call that delves into the “carefree community lifestyle.” Authored by veteran journalist Don DeBat and Realtor Sara E. Benson, each with lifelong careers in real estate, the epic 624-page book explores the myths and exposes the truths about how condominium and homeowner associations work—and sometimes don’t. This ultimate guide outlines the keys to navigating the risks and surviving the perils of association-governed living.

For decades, the condominium lifestyle has been glorified as carefree, chic and glamorous; but, it isn’t really carefree at all!  Steep maintenance fees, restrictions on day-to-day living and limited personal freedoms are three very real costs you might not have considered. For more information, visit:

“Escaping Condo Jail provides some fascinating and horrifying stories,” said Don Hayner, author and former Editor in Chief of the Chicago Sun-Times. “It is a stimulating read, particularly for condo owners, and it’s extremely instructive, and even entertaining. For a how-to book that’s pretty damn good.”

The book includes a critical 10-point buyer-awareness advice list, and a 35-point checklist on “How to Bulletproof Your Association’s Biggest Asset: The Money,” and features 22 original illustrations drawn by artist John Michael Downs. Here’s how other readers have described “Escaping Condo Jail”:

  • “This is far and away the best book I’ve seen on this subject—and something that could save you tens of thousands of dollars. The authors have great authority—one is a highly respected journalist; the other is known as a real estate wizard in Chicago with the reputation of fighting for the little guy. Anyone who is thinking about buying real estate needs this book. It’s smart, to the point and easy to follow.”—Russ Bradburd, condo owner, author and freelance writer.
  • “If your association is not healthy, then your condo is no bargain. The headaches are bad, but the financial burden of a dysfunctional association could become debilitating, endangering your investment and our home. Reading this book, I am thrilled that Sara Benson’s expertise garnered from years in the field and her groundbreaking role as a consumer activist for people buying real estate is available for everyone considering this important purchase.”—Connie Voisine, associate professor of English and author.
  • “This book tackles the beast and lays it flat out. ‘Escaping Condo Jail’ is a rich tome of a book, broad in its ambition and comprehensive in its delivery. It’s exceedingly well-written, accessible and actually quite entertaining. It breaks down the key issues, offers historical context, offers intensely investigated situational examples, then gives sound advice,”—Brian Connolly, Chicago condo owner.

“Escaping Condo Jail” is now available in paperback via Digital Kindle copies of the book will be available on Amazon by early November and the hardback will be published in mid-November.