Everything You Need to Know Before Buying a Condo

A condominium is a building with a number of individual living units surrounded by common areas that are jointly owned by the individuals residing in the building or townhouse community. There are many features that draw buyers in such as access to on-site amenities that include a pool, sauna and more. More features include fewer maintenance and repair responsibilities as well as enhanced security features. Like any large purchase, there are considerations to be made before buying; here is everything you need to know before buying a condo. 

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Know The Property Management Company 

Living in a condo unit, whether it be in an apartment building, detached home or townhouse community allows the resident of the property to have lawn care, snow removal, housing repairs and more done for them. Before purchasing a unit, the potential buyer should ask the seller who manages the property so the appropriate research can be done. Individuals may also ask questions such as, who handles the requests residents may have. It is important to have a good sense of how property management is handled as the homeowner will be paying monthly fees to ensure proper management is being done. 

More questions to consider asking include:

  • Does one company take care of lawn and landscaping while another handles repairs and indoor maintenance?
  • Who is responsible for the gardens belonging to your unit; a landscaping company, or the homeowner?
  • Is it appropriate to hire a landscaping company to maintain the garden bed that belongs to the person occupying the unit in question?

Find An Experienced Realtor

Buying a condominium is different from purchasing a single dwelling home or side by side duplex so it is important to find a realtor with a good track record of condo sales. Having an experienced realtor can address any concerns of the potential home buyer and guide them through the important steps like reviewing papers such as the condo association documents. 

A real estate agent with condo experience will be aware of the developments in the area of interests, as well as any issues they may have. They should also be able to make the homebuyer aware of any infrastructure issues or if there has been any acrimony over community issues in the past. An experienced agent will also know the history and be able to communicate which buildings have a good resale value. 

Amenities 

Someone interested in buying a condo unit that is for sale will notice the ample amount of amenities some communities have to offer. Swimming pools, tennis courts, dog parks, playground equipment, open green space and fitness centers are some of these features. As a potential buyer, it is important to communicate which amenities the realtor should look for. The purchaser of the home will be buying everything that comes with the unit so knowing what is offered is helpful. Having an idea of something that isn’t being sought after such as a pool or community park is beneficial. However, having a pool that won’t be used by the new owner still has the potential to lead to an increased value when reselling. 

Amenities offered in an apartment building-type condominium may differ from those in a townhouse community. Consider everything mentioned above to help make the decision between apartment-style, detached home or townhouse living. 

Related Post: 5 Questions to Ask When Buying A Home

Mortgage 

There are many factors when buying a new home like a mortgage and how much of a downpayment is needed. Below are things to consider before purchasing a condo.

Rates are higher

A mortgage that is being used for a condo rather than a single-family home is considered to be more of a risk to the lender resulting in a higher rate. Lenders aren’t only looking at the loan holders’ financial situation, but also at the condo corporation’s finances. If a condo development is failing financially, the lender will be aware and this may affect your interest rate. There are ways around this but that includes increasing your down payment to at least 25% however, this may not be feasible for many potential home buyers. 

Large Down Payment

As mentioned above, a buyer may need to prepare a larger down payment when purchasing a condo compared to other types of property. Many lenders will require 20% down on any condo loan. This will sometimes depend on location and the state of the purchase, but it is important to budget for a large down payment to be on the safe side. 

Association Fees

While the sale cost of a condo may be less than a single dwelling home, it is important to consider the added fees that come along with this purchase. Depending on the property, a buyer could pay anywhere from $100-$500+ a month on condo fees. These fees pay for the amenities and landscaping maintenance and exterior repairs. It is important to note that these fees can change throughout the years. Another thing to consider if an association fee is small-why is it so low? Ask questions to be sure the property is adequately cared for. 

Rules

Associations such as the homeowners association of the condominium will have rules regarding decor amongst other things. Rules such as white blinds only, or needing approval for any renovations inside the home. Pet lovers should consider asking about the pet rule. It isn’t uncommon for the homeowners association to only allow animals of a certain size to live in the units. 

Neighborhood

Whether you are purchasing a beachfront condo in Guam or a quiet and peaceful unit in the Tuman Vista Condos, it is important to research the neighborhood. Living in a busy area may bring unwanted excess levels of noise. It can also leave the homeowner with an ample amount of entertainment, tasty restaurant options and more. Knowing of any future developments that could potentially ruin a once spectacular view is also important to know. Look at the demographics of the neighborhood, are there more younger families residing in the community or is it geared towards seniors? Taking a walk can be a great form of research; seeing the number of nearby parks, dog walking trails, recreation and more.  

Buying a unit in a condominium can be a great investment and make for a warming home. Residents can feel a sense of community while not having to worry about the upkeep and much of the ongoing maintenance. Knowing the above will help guide any home buyer in the proper direction before making one of the biggest purchases of their life.