Do you like the aspects of big city living, but can’t pay the high city real estate costs? Are you tired of apartment living but think a whole house is too much to take care of? Maybe you’re an empty-nester looking to downsize.
If this is you, you’re thinking about purchasing a condominium. Almost 5 million Americans live in condos or co-ops. They are a great way to invest, control costs, and have something of your own.
If you’re interested in buying a condo, you need to get in the know about them. Read on for five things you need to know about buying a condominium.
1. Research Management
Can a condominium be purchased? Yes. When you buy a condo, you own that space. Here’s where it gets sticky. You own the space, but you don’t own the property. That means property management maintains the grounds.
This is perfect for older folks who can’t keep up on yard work and maintenance. It’s also great for younger people who don’t have the time for proper home repair.
While it can be a good trade to downsize for property management, that means any problems might not be resolved how you need them to be. While you won’t have a landlord, you still rely on a property management team.
When touring condos, make sure to ask the realtor who’s in charge. Of all the questions to ask when buying a condominium, this is the most important.
You need to do your research and find out what people living, or who have lived there have to say.
A space of your own should mean freedom. If you’ve lived in apartments you know how a less than scrupulous landlord affects your free-time and privacy.
2. Condo Association
Most often, when you buy a condo you buy into a community. Though some exceptions exist when it comes to city condos, buying a condo means you’ll have to buy into the condo association.
Many of your questions to ask when purchasing a condominium should be about the condo association you buy into.
Condo associations serve as a community organization meant to set community rules and regulations. They also serve to settle disputes between neighbors.
These groups decide many things. They determine what lawn decorations you can use or whether you can display political messaging on the exterior of your condo. They set the rules for any community shared facilities like swimming pools.
Even overnight guest parking and patio landscaping fall under the purview of the association. Before you sign on the dotted line, you need to know the rules.
One way to make condo living less than ideal is to buy into an association that has rules too strict for your needs.
3. Special Assessments
Living in a condo community means the people pool money together for big maintenance projects. If your future condo has a swimming pool, tennis courts, or clubhouses, there may be a time when they need repairing.
These special assessments aren’t common, but they do exist. If there is a provision in your contract for one, the group votes to increase community fees to fund big projects.
While that sounds egalitarian, it could be an undue burden if you are a new association member. You could be on the hook for wear and tear you didn’t cause.
Don’t let yourself get sucked into one of these agreements. The Property Team agents will read through your contract to make sure you won’t be on the hook for any large repair projects right after you move in.
4. What Are Your Plans?
While condominium values increase over time, they do so at a much slower rate than houses. Your investment will not show a decent amount of profit for many years.
With a house, you have the opportunity to buy into a hot city neighborhood or real estate area. In a few years, you can sell at a tidy profit. Home buying, especially if you are handy, is an investment that can show big profits in a short time.
If you’re thinking about buying a condominium, first think about how long you intend to live there. If the condo will serve as your permanent home, you’d be a good buying candidate.
For a young person who may be on the move for occupational or romantic reasons, a condo might not be a wise investment. If you can buy a house, do it. If you’re not ready for a home purchase, you will be better off renting until you are.
5. Are You The Condo Type?
Before you buy a condo, you have to ask yourself this question. Sure, some condos in the city are great for young people. You’re in the heart of a busy area with many amenities close by.
Should you move, you might even be able to rent it out. Some condos may seem attractive, but maybe you’re not into communal living. No matter your age, you may not want a greater community having such a direct say in your property affairs.
This conversation is an important one to have with yourself and any partner or housemate before you invest.
What to Know When Purchasing a Condominium
If you’re not into or not capable of regular maintenance, purchasing a condominium might be right for you. Also, if you want to live in the heart of a city without paying for inflated real estate a condo is great.
Condo living provides great amenities and value for certain people. Just be sure you do your research on the facility and the association before you buy.
Do you need more real estate tips? Check out our other articles.