As your primary home, why not consider the condominium lifestyle?!

Condominiums are a good way to get into the housing market if you can’t afford to buy a house or you simply prefer the condo lifestyle.  Condos are also a good alternative if you don’t want to spend time doing yard work or maintenance.  One important thing to remember about a condominium is that you don’t actually own the unit you live in or the land it stands on. You own the air space inside the walls, ceiling and floor of the unit. 

With condominium ownership, there will be certain limitations and restrictions.  For instance, you will not be able to add a room, nor will you be allowed to paint the exterior or change the landscaping.
When you buy a condo you are also joining a homeowners’ association which is responsible for the maintenance of the building and all common areas, the purchase of insurance, and the disposal of garbage. The monthly HOA fees may initially seem high, but owning a home will have similar costs over the same period of time.

What to Consider when Buying a Condominium:

1.       Ask owners in the complex what they like and dislike about both the unit and the complex.
2.       How good is the sound proofing? End units and upper units generally sell for more, when sound is considered.
3.       Where is the specific unit located within the building? Is it next to an access street, parking facility, the elevators or the pool?

Look for units that are not adversely affected by these.
Stay away from predominantly rental condo complexes–those having more occupants that are renters. They are often poorly maintained, as absentee owners usually vote against improvements and increases in maintenance fees.
Many lenders will not make loans if the percentage of renters is high compared with owner-occupants.

Compare monthly association fees and the amenities with other similar condo complexes.
Determine if any increases in fees or special assessments are planned.
Is the condo homeowners’ association financially sound?  Before making a purchase offer, obtain the latest financial statement from the homeowners’ association.
Are there any lawsuits between the homeowner association and the builder?
Determine who manages the complex and how well the common areas are maintained.
Check to see if there are any unusual bylaws, rules or regulations. A desirable complex generally imposes pet and rental restrictions.
Read all papers carefully.

Condominium Purchase in a New Building:
Find out how many units are sold and closed. Don’t be one of the first buyers.
It’s better to have 60% of the condos sold before you close your purchase.
If the units don’t sell or the developer goes bankrupt, the value of your unit will be dramatically and negatively impacted.
Make sure a one-year warranty is provided at the time of closing. 
It is important to know exactly what your developer will warrant when buying in a new complex.  Look for the integrity of the structure, plumbing and air conditioning systems; water tightness of the roof; and the working order of all the appliances.

Finally, sit back, relax, and enjoy the condominium lifestyle!

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