Wait! Read This Before You Buy A Condo
A condo, or condominium, is a mix between an apartment and a house, and is a property that can be purchased outright. It’s an option for many people who are looking to buy their own place to live, although it suits certain lifestyles and needs better than others. A condo does offer some of the same benefits as living in an apartment, and of course, some of the same cons. You will live in close proximity with other condo owners, and you will live above or below somebody else if you live in a high rise building.
Many people love living in a condo, while others do wish that they purchased a home instead. Let’s take a look at some of the most important things you should know before you buy a condo:
You’ll Have No Garden Maintenance To Worry About
One of the biggest appeals of a condo is that you won’t have a yard to worry about. You won’t need to maintain the garden, you’ll just pay a fee to the condo association and they will take care of your maintenance needs for you.
That being said, some condos are underfunded and they don’t have the money to pay for regular maintenance, so they won’t look as nice. This is why asking a lot of questions is important. You want to make sure that the association is well run before you decide to buy any condo. If a dozen members struggle with paying dues in any given month and your community has 500 condos, you aren’t likely to feel the impact. However, if you live in a community of 10 condos and two people fall behind with their payments, that is 20% of the budget and you will likely notice the difference.
This could also be a downside to you if you envision having a garden and enjoy gardening!
Buying A Condo Is Usually Cheaper Than Buying A House
Of course, this point depends on the house that you would buy, but for the most part, a condo will be cheaper.
However, the price of the condo isn’t all you’ll have to account for. You don’t just have to think about appreciation and mortgage payments. We’ve already mentioned the association payments, and of course, they don’t do absolutely everything for you. You will still have to pay for the maintenance inside of your home. You could pay out anywhere from $100 a month to more than $1,000, depending on the location and what kind of community you live in. This will depend on whether you have things like 24-hour gated security and a first-class gym or pool or just the very basics.
Many associations are overpriced, so beware of this.
Plenty Can Go Wrong Inside Of The Condo
You could experience plumbing problems inside of the condo, or problems with the AC. The association may also ask for unexpected payments if something sudden goes wrong with the condo or area surrounding it.
Condos Can Be Harder To Sell Than Houses
In general, condos can be more difficult to sell than houses. It doesn’t matter how nice your condo is or how much space you have, it can still be very tough to sell. Plus, if some of your neighbors are selling, it can be tough to distinguish you condo from their condo.
You’ll Have A Sense Of Community
There’s nearly always a sense of community within condominiums, as you live in such close proximity with your neighbors. The only downside here being that you can’t pick your neighbors. You might not like everybody, and it’s important to remember that you will likely still see these people regardless, even if only in the elevator before going out for the day. You can look at the best Manhattan neighborhoods to buy a condo and you might love the condo, but that still doesn’t mean you’ll love your neighbors. Just bear this in mind and ensure that a condo will still suit your personality.
Ask The Right Questions Before Purchasing
Whatever the kind of property you plan on buying, ensuring you ask the right questions is a must. Here are some of the questions you’ll need to ask if you do intend on purchasing a condo:
- Are the fees worth it? – you will pay a monthly fee for routine and emergency maintenance including lawn mowing, snow plowing, painting, and roofing repairs. It may include more or less depending on the condo and the association, so you need to check this out. Most condo associations only maintain property from the walls out. That means when a bathroom pipe bursts, you still have to pay a plumber to come and fix it.
- What are the biggest complaints of living in a condo? – talk to current owners to find out what these are. If the association isn’t quick about making fixes, you want to know about it before committing to live there.
- What is the management team like? – Interview the condo manager yourself. Talk to your neighbors about the management too, so you get a good idea of what to expect before you move in. A manager that isn’t doing their job will make living there no fun at all. That being said, some condos manage themselves. That is, there are no property managers, and the residents meet to make decisions together. In cases like this, the monthly fees are much lower. Just consider whether the people you’ll be living by are the ones you want to make such important decisions with.
- Will a condo suit your lifestyle – condos can make a great home for singles or even for couples. It’s great for those who don’t spend a lot of time at home, or even those who do but want to avoid maintenance as best they can. It’s probably not for you if you want a private garden, to have space for parties, or to get super creative with a property in terms of style. A condo should suit you both now and in the future. Make sure nothing is going to change.
- Can you afford an assessment? – condo associations may assess separate fees for unexpected expenses or to fund major property improvements. These fees may be quite sudden, as mentioned earlier on. It’s important to ensure that you will be able to cover this if it does happen. It may be a few hundred dollars over the course of the year, which doesn’t sound too bad, but will it throw you off your entire budget?
- What are the roles of the association? – Some associations rules may provide owners with the same freedom as a stand-alone residence, other associations’ rules can be restrictive, or even very strange. Make sure you know what the rules are and that you’re prepared to stick to them. Some of them may be things like no dogs, no window air conditioners, no kids, no late-night laundry, or no flags or outdoor decorations. Your association could sue you if you violate the rules, and neighbors can make your life a misery even if no lawyers get involved. If you don’t like people telling you what to do like this, it’s probably best you avoid the condo life.
Hopefully, you’re now a little more clued in on whether a condo is going to suit you or not. For some, it’s the perfect housing option. For others, it’s a little more hassle than it’s worth. Make sure you weigh things up properly and you’ll come to the best conclusion.