Is Condo Life Right For You?

Perhaps you’ve looked over the housing market and have sticker shock. Maybe the idea of maintaining a backyard has you running for cover or you just want to keep things simple.

Whatever the reason, if you have decided that you are interested in a owning a smaller, more easily maintained property, you may be investigating condominiums.

Buying a condominium is a bit different from buying any other types of property, and has both advantages and disadvantages. To start the process of determining if condominium life is right for you, there are some important questions to ask.

Namely, for starters, what is a condominium?
A condominium, commonly referred to as a condo is a single unit on a multi-unit property where individual units, including the land beneath them, can be purchased with the overall maintenance expense of the entire property shared.

How are the shared expenses handled?
Typically decisions affecting the entire “condo complex” are made by a Condo Association which holds regular meetings for board members and owners. As such each unit owner is subject to rulings established by that association. A Declaration or the Bylaws often referred to as CC&Rs dictate and help to determine how maintenance issues are addressed. As a prospective condo owner, associated maintenance fees and projected increases, assessments for the reserve fund, and insurance fees are items that you should learn about prior to your purchase.

Do I pay homeowner’s insurance?
In terms of insurance, typically condo owners are responsible for the contents inside their individual dwelling – from walls and floors to cabinets and doors. Each condo association has an individual declaration which is a legal document that will spell out the details so that you can have a clear understanding . Typically condo owners can remodel and change interior surfaces at their discretion. Exterior modifications, however, generally need to be approved (or denied) by the Condo Association Board.

Anything else I need to know?
It is also helpful to consider homeowner statistics in the “condo complex” before finalizing your purchase. Knowing the percentage of properties that are “owner-occupied” and the amount of owners that are current on their dues can have impact on your future home and financial security. You may also want to ask questions regarding time frames of major upgrades, like pool or clubhouse renovations or roofing needs and the ramifications of those on association members, before making your purchase. Speaking with other residents that live near the condo you are considering, can help you find out the inside scope about that particular property and help you to read the “fine print” in the association agreement, too.

As you make your condo purchase, there is a lot to consider, aside from the points listed above. Give me a call to discuss what other “need to know” items you should add to your list or to see some properties that are available now. I’d love to help you find a home you will love!

For further information on condo life vs housing life check out this blog post.

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