Buying a condo is a big decision and it is vital to make sure you consider all aspects of this very important purchase. The more obvious factors such as location, size, and cost are the factors that many potential buyers focus on; however it is also important to learn about the less obvious details. Below are five aspects to take into consideration when deciding if a condo is right for you.
1. Condo Fees
When buying a condo, it is assumed that there are monthly fees that you will be expected to pay. These fees are no different than the costs of owning a single family home when you consider what it costs to maintain a home. Many people opt for condos and pay these fees with pleasure if it means they don't have to worry about shoveling snow, maintaining the exterior of the building or worrying about trash removal. Find out exactly what the monthly fees cover. You'll be surprised that in many cases, these fees will actually cost you less than maintaining a single-family home because they are split among all of the residents. Also find out about special assessments. Have there been any and are any expected?
2. Learn the rules
It is expected that there are going to be rules for every association, and it is important to remember that most often these rules are put in place to protect you, the owner. Make sure to get all of the information regarding the types of changes and remodeling that you will be permitted to make. Also, don't forget to ask about the smaller, but equally important rules, such as; how noise complaints are dealt with, what type and size of pets are allowed, and whether or not you will be able to rent out your condo if you desire.
One of the perks of owning a condo is the range of amenities that many developments include. For example, it is common for condos to come with swimming pools, fitness facilities, and tennis courts. Others include spas, concierge desks, and special security features. If the condo you are considering does not have these amenities onsite, many times the developers will have arranged for special rates for their residents at local centers. These extra perks can make condo living very appealing, so make sure to investigate.
4. Other Owners
Even if the property seems like it's in the perfect location with beautiful homes, before you commit, ask about the other owners. Find out the demographics of the other owners — are they people that you could live around? For example, if the condo is made up of mostly 20-somethings and you are a retired couple, that condo might not be the best choice for you. However, even if the demographics of the condo don't exactly match up, living in a condo is an opportunity to be part of a community, and is a great chance to meet people of all ages and walks of life.
Even if you do not plan on renting out your condo when you purchase it, it is still a good idea to find out how many units are owner-occupied and how many are renter-occupied. As life brings unexpected changes, you may need to move but decide that you still want to keep your condo as investment property. Find out what the policy is in the development you are seeking.