Key Things To Consider When Choosing a Condo
Condo living appeals to all kinds of people. Couples, singles, and even families love the unique benefits that come from living in a condo. For too long the stereotypical view has been that condo living appeals only successful single men. But the truth is that many parents consider a condo a great place to raise a family.
After all, a condo has a number of clear advantages over a home in the suburbs. Not least of which is cost. Furthermore, when you buy a condo you know that you’re going to get a beautifully appointed contemporary home. You get the perfect blend of aesthetic beauty and practical function. You have a home that’s right where the action is, in close proximity to the things that matter to you.
Love being within striking distance of your favorite restaurants? Want to be able to take your kids to the movies without fighting for a parking space? Want to be able to commute to work by bike? Condo living allows you to be your best self, every day. What’s more, market values for condos have risen at a faster rate than houses in recent years. So it’s a great investment as well as an awesome place to live.
All that said, not all developments are created equal. It’s not enough to just invest in a condo. You need to invest in the right condo. So, how do you know which development is right for you? In this post, we’ll take a look at some key things to consider when choosing a condo…
Look past the surface at the infrastructure
It’s okay to admit it. A condo is a lifestyle choice as well as a place to live. You want your condo to look amazing. A place where you can wow your guests and feel completely at home after a hard day’s work. So you’ll be paying close attention to the hardwood floors. You’ll want to scrutinize the marble or granite countertops. You’ll want to run your hands through the soft wool carpets. But while these surface-level details will make your new home special, you also need to scratch the surface.
You’ll need to look at the infrastructure that lies beneath. This will reassure you that your condo will still be on your side in 10 years’ time. Water is one of the biggest challenges for condo owners. So make sure there’s proper draining infrastructure.
Is there proper trench drain system installation around the exterior of your unit/pool etc.? Are there cracks in the facade or signs that mortar has been replaced? Are there any unusual noises or smells coming from the AC unit? Has the developer used central air? This is a very efficient and pleasant system that many consider the future of HVAC.
Pay close attention not just to your unit but communal areas and corridors. Remember not just to look with your eyes but to pay attention to all your senses. Damp or musty smells or suspicious noises should give you pause.
Think of your needs today, and tomorrow
A condo is a long-term investment, so you should be thinking long-term. One of the greatest things about condos is that they appeal to all kinds of people. So choose one that you think will appeal to you 10 years from now. Will it be big enough if you and your partner decide to have a baby? Will you still be able to make the mortgage and Home Owners Association (HOA) fees if you lose your job or are demoted?
Will you still be able to make use of all the amenities in 10 years’ time? None of us can predict the future. Nonetheless, you should take time to consider the long term viability of the unit and the development for your needs.
Are the amenities right for you?
Speaking of the amenities- they are an important selling point for many condos. After all, who doesn’t love the idea of starting the day in your very own pool? Or of being able to use the gym without the inconvenience of driving to one? Or having a social area where you can get together with your neighbors to see in the weekend?
Still, never forget that providing and maintaining these amenities comes at a cost. A cost that is folded into not only the cost of the unit itself but the HOA fees too. So, make sure that you’re only paying for amenities you really want. There’s no point paying for a pool that you’ll never want to swim in. Or a gym that’s redundant because the one at work is more convenient?
Sacrificing these (if you won’t use them) might get you a unit in a more desirable location.
Which brings us to…
Location, location, location!
In this respect, condos are just like any other form of real estate. Location is one of the most important considerations for all kinds of reasons. The proximity to your workplace or local attractions can save you hours of travel time every week. The location will also determine the resale value and ROI should you decide to sell your condo. Not to mention the likelihood of a fast and easy sale. It’s also important to consider whether the condo is in an FHA-approved development. You can find a list of them here. An FHA-approved condo will make the process of getting a mortgage much easier.
You need a realtor you can trust
Finally, it’s not enough to fall in love with the condo. You also need to have a great relationship with your real estate agent. Take a look at this post on what to look for in a realtor. Do they answer all your questions promptly and in a satisfactory way? Or do they get evasive? Do they encourage you to find out about the developers or property managers for yourself? Or do they expect you to take their word for it? Do they take the time to find the perfect home for you? Or do they try a little too hard to sell you the property you’re in?
The more you trust your realtor, the more you can trust that you’ve found the right condo.