In many real estate markets, purchasing a condo can be much lower than buying a single-family residence. When buying a condo, you must know that every condo community is different. It’s important to understand that each district will have its rules, association fees, management company, and amenities. Depending on the community, there may only be a handful of condo communities, but there could also be hundreds, so research is essential. There is a difference between buying a house v/s buying a condo. When you buy a condo, you own the interior of your space, but not the exterior, whereas when you buy a house, you get the whole hog. Sharing walls and common areas is not for everyone.
1. HIRE AN EXPERIENCED REAL ESTATE AGENT:
A real estate agent with experience selling condos will know how to guide you through the process and ensure important documents are not overlooked. While purchasing a condo, most communities will require a contract to be signed in addition to the typical sales contract before closing. The agreement that a community will make you sign usually will state that you understand and agree to the association rules and regulations.
2. KNOW WHAT THE CONDO INCLUDES:
While purchasing a new condo, make sure that the condo community provides additional benefits. Ensure that the condo includes a reserved parking spot or extra storage, or does the condo community offers additional parking for your guests who visit you or not? Is the parking spot in a covered garage? The last thing you want to know is if you have nowhere to park your car a week before closing. Some might be barebones offerings that cover snow removal and other maintenance in the common areas, while others include a gym, outdoor grills, and other luxury-level perks.
3. UNIT INSPECTION:
Before you take possession of your unit, your agent is required to inspect it with you. This is your chance to ensure there are no damages, incomplete or missing items, and everything is working correctly. Feel free to click pictures, as those will come in handy for future warranty purposes.
4. REVIEW ASSOCIATION FEES AND REGULATIONS:
Apart from your mortgage, you’ll need to pay condo association fees for the maintenance of the property and its amenities. Review those fees and ask what all is included versus what you’ll still need to handle outside that monthly price tag. Ask how often and by how much the costs increase each year to understand how that amount might continue to grow once you move in. Many associations will have different rules and regulations to “keep the peace” in the community. It’s important to understand that, unlike in a single-family home, you cannot make your own rules and do whatever you want.
5. PREDICT YOUR PLANS:
A condo’s value typically will not appreciate much as a single-family residence. This is why it’s essential to have a good idea of your plans. If you plan on remaining in the condo for ten years, then the appreciation rate is not as important if you plan on moving in a year or two. It’s impossible to know what will happen to market values in the coming years.