Buying a Condo?
There are a few things you may need to think about first.
Whether they're looking for a luxurious lifestyle in the heart of downtown or they're simply tired of having a lawn to mow every weekend, many people have been turning to condos for their next home purchase. A condo community can offer many bonuses that you won't get from owning a house. From on-site maintenance and luxury amenities to a popular location and an active community, there are some things that you can get with a condominium that you just won't find anywhere else.
But along with those unique features comes a unique set of challenges. If you're thinking about buying into a condo community, here are a few things you may want to look out for before you sign on the dotted line:
- Following the Rulebook - Just about every condo community has its own set of rules and guidelines that it expects its residents to follow to the letter. Depending on the community, these can be a polite set of suggestions or strictly enforced edicts that make even the strictest Homeowner's Associations look like kittens. Before you decide on a condo, take the time to go through their rulebook line by line and make sure that your lifestyle will be a good fit with the community.
- Calculating the Cost - Those luxury amenities and on-site maintenance work don't come for free! Along with a condo community will come a new set of fees. The cost and amount of things that you pay for will, of course, depend on each community. Make sure that you see a list of all required fees before you buy. Also try to find out if the community plans on making any additions or improvements that might incur additional costs on the residents.
- Ask Around - One of the best ways to find out about a community is to simply ask the residents. You could try knocking on a few doors and see if anyone is friendly enough to answer some questions about the buildings, the management, the fees, everything you would want to know. (If no one is friendly enough to answer any questions, that might tell you something as well) There are also various websites devoted entirely to rating condos, with reviews written by current and past residents. Do some research on the community and the condo association. Find out if they are having any financial trouble. For example, a community that has seen an increase in vacancies or foreclosures will likely have to increase the fees of other residents to make up the difference. Any sort of financial difficulty will be passed on to the residents so try to find out about them in advance. And most importantly, just try to get a feel for the vibe of the area and the people who live there so that you can determine whether you will feel comfortable in that environment.