A condo purchase can offer a great way for you to get into homeownership without having to worry about the upkeep of single-family homes or townhouses. Condo residents can often take advantage of shared amenities and the condo association taking care of building maintenance.
Condos may not be for everyone. It is best to determine your lifestyle and financial needs first.
What is a condo?
Short for condominium, a condo is a single unit within a multiple-unit property, usually an apartment-style building or community. You can have one unit or many in a complex, such as a high-rise. Your unit is yours and you share the common amenities with your neighbors. These can include parks and playgrounds, gyms and dog-walking areas, as well as other common spaces.
7 Tips for Buying a Condo
As you begin your search for condos, here’s a checklist.
1. Consider your lifestyle
Are you tired of mowing the lawn and trimming the hedges? How about pressure washing your driveway? Is it a burden on your budget to spend $5,000 on a new roof or HVAC unit? Condo living might be right for you if you answered “yes” to any of these questions.
However, if the desire to have a large backyard outweighs the time you’ll need to spend maintaining it, then another type of property, like a townhouse or single-family home, could be a better option for you. A condo might not be the best option if you don’t want to share walls, floors, or ceilings with your neighbor. Condos work best for people who are comfortable living in apartments.
2. Work with an experienced Realtor who specializes in condos
You’ll need a realtor who will represent your best interests if you decide to buy a condo. Ideally, you’ll want someone with a track record in condos so they can address any concerns you might have and guide you through crucial steps, like reviewing the condo association documents.
Agents should be familiar with the developments and any issues that may exist in your area. You might be affected by issues such as community finances or structural or infrastructure problems in the building or buildings. An agent who is knowledgeable will tell you if there has been any conflict over community issues and which developments have had the best resale value.
3. Choose the type of amenities that you desire
Condos offer many amenities. Your Realtor should discuss the amenities you are looking for, along with other factors such as location and budget. This will help you find the right place. These amenities are yours when you purchase your unit. Don’t be afraid to add them to your wish list.
You should also keep in mind that some amenities that you don’t intend to use, such as a pool, might still be worthwhile. A condo without the amenities of other units in the area may sell for a lower price.
4. Locate an FHA-approved condo
Getting a mortgage for a condo might be more involved than it is for other types of properties. This is because condo developments themselves will be scrutinized, as well as your personal finances.
The FHA has a list of approved condos on its website. Conventional lenders might have similar requirements as the FHA. However, it is best to get the help of an experienced mortgage professional who has condo experience in order to find the right financing.
5. Research the property management company
It is important to know who will be responsible for maintaining the property. It can be frustrating to pay association dues only to have the amenities fall into disrepair, and poor management can potentially affect your property’s value or push your HOA dues higher.
Ask who manages the day-to-day operations of condos when you visit them. Ask the property management company about resident requests and rules. You might also want to research the reputation of the company.
6. Examine the regulations and fees associated with associations
You will need to pay condo association fees in order to maintain the property and its amenities. Ask about the fees and what they include — most often services such as snow removal, lawn care, and cleaning common areas.
Ask about the house rules of your community. Do there are any noise restrictions? Are there guidelines regarding the booking of common areas? These regulations will allow you to determine if the community is a good fit.
7. Ask about special assessments
Extra charges that a condo association may impose to pay for a major project are called special assessments. The HOA board usually votes on an assessment, but not all residents. Although they are typically only for a short time, they can have a significant impact on your monthly budget.
A well-run association will usually avoid any special assessments, except for exceptional cases. Request copies of financial reports from the association. Make sure that your accountant or lawyer reviews them and approves that they are accurate.
The pros and cons of purchasing a condo
It is important to weigh the pros and cons of purchasing a condo. These are the top considerations.
- Possibility for a lower priced condo is a great option for those who are looking to purchase a home in a lower-priced market. First-time homebuyers those who have limited downpayment savings
- Maintenance costs are lower the HOA usually handles exterior maintenance in condominium communities, with the exception of windows. This includes exterior siding, driveways, walkways, lawn care, shrub and tree care, and driveway and walkway maintenance. Condos are more cost-effective than single-family homes and require less maintenance. You will also find lower property taxes.
- Social opportunities onto associations often host social events such as barbecues, pool parties, and dog playdates. You might find yourself in close proximity to your neighbors, making it easier to get to know them personally.
- AmenitiesYou may have access to top-notch amenities, such as a business center, grilling area, and pool, or covered parking.
- HOA rules and fees can be very restrictive. They regulate everything, from trash pickup to how much you can store on your patio to the number of pets that you can have, and whether or not you can rent your condo out. In extreme cases, breaking the rules could result in fines and even foreclosure. As time goes by, condo association fees can increase.
- Investment risk your neighbors and you all share the common property. If one or more owners fails to pay their dues the whole community could be affected financially. If one or more condo owners goes into foreclosure, they could sell their units at a steep discount and affect everyone’s property value.
- Renters may have less privacy than landlordsCondominiums are shared areas such as the lobby, hallways, and amenities. If privacy is important to you, condos might not be right for you. Noise can also be an issue as you will share walls, ceilings, and floors with neighboring owners. Remember that complexes may have multiple renters with constant moving vans and tenants who may not be as caring or interested in the community as homeowners.
- Storage and parking you might need to travel further to reach your condo building’s door because many buildings don’t offer to park. Many condo buildings have limited storage, with only a few closets and possibly no outdoor space.
Who is the best person to buy a condo?
Condo living is best for those who are able to share their amenities and don’t mind doing a lot of the upkeep.
No matter what your preference, you need to consider your financial situation as well as your housing needs. To help you with your condo search and to protect your interests throughout the process, consult a real estate professional who is experienced in condos.
This post was written by a real estate expert from the Dotoli group. Josh Dotoli is Paramount Residences #1 Selling Realtor with nine sales in 2021, 3x more sales than any other Realtor selling in the building. The https://paramountresidences.net/ enjoys a prime beach area location. It is a Ft. Lauderdale oceanfront condo located across from the beach.