Aug 31, 2018Real Estate Tips

Buying a Condominium

If you want the benefits of home ownership without the obligations of having to perform your maintenance, a condominium could be right for you. When you purchase a condo, you are obtaining ownership of a specific unit within a building.

Condo living includes access to common areas and amenities, which are shared by all owners within the association. Many Condos depending on the city and area include doorman and concierge services. Common areas may include, fitness rooms, parks, pools, tennis courts, laundry facilities and sometimes parking.

In some areas, “detached condominiums” are available. A detached condo may look like a single-family home, but the building exterior and yard are owned and maintained by the condo association.

The upside of condominium ownership includes:

Convenience! The association handles maintenance and repair of common areas, building exteriors, streets, and walkways. You won’t have to clean gutters, shovel snow, or take care of the lawn.

Equity. Your condo unit may increase in value over time, assuming the entire building or development increases in value. At the least, you can pay off your condo and own your unit free and clear. (Monthly association dues and property taxes still apply.)

Lifestyle. Condominium amenities can range from modest to lavish. Generally, as a condo owner, you can obtain some recreational facilities affordably. The amenities offered by your association can be a selling point when you place your unit on the market.

The downside of condominium ownership includes:

Condo association dues. These are non-negotiable! All owners share the cost of repairs and maintenance. Association dues are typically billed monthly. The cost of your dues can increase for a variety of reasons.

The financial condition of the condo association is a significant consideration in your purchase decision.  An unexpected, major repair can mean sudden, assessments in your monthly dues. Your Exclusive Buyer Agent can help you obtain and review the financial report of the association.

Condo association rules and by-laws. To preserve the value and appearance of the property, and to ensure a reasonable quality of life for owners, each association has a volume of rules and restrictions that must be followed.

These rules cover everything from what you can place on your balcony, to the type of pet you are permitted to keep. You may be required to keep your unit’s interior along certain lines of conformity. The rules are myriad and detailed; never by a unit without understanding the rules! Your Exclusive Buyer Agent can help you obtain and review the by-laws of the association.

If you’re looking for a condominium, here are 7 points to keep in mind:

  1. Decide on the location and square footage that best serves your needs.
  2. Consider the immediate surroundings and your neighbors. Whether you like things quiet, or you’re looking for nightlife, you’ll want the best fit for your lifestyle.
  3. Decide what amenities are essential to you. Tennis courts, fitness equipment and pools are impressive, but there’s no sense in paying dues for features you won’t use.
  4. Compare condo association dues against the amenities provided. This is an ownership cost that can vary widely from one development to another.
  5. Read the minutes of the last association board meeting. This can be an eye-opener about any current issues affecting the owners.
  6. Carefully read the house rules and by-laws.
  7. Carefully read the associations’ financial report.

Your Exclusive Buyer Agent will guide you through the condominium market in your City, and help you find the best options for your needs and budget. Find an EBA today!


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