April 18, 2024


Mad about real estate

What You Should Know About Buying a Condo

Living in a condominium has its benefits, but like most things in life, it can have its downfalls, too. Unlike other homes, with a condo you only own the space in the home, not the walls or the building itself, nor do you own any of the land associated with the property, which will limit your ability to place lawn furniture or plant your own garden outside. On the plus side, you don’t have to take care of what you don’t own. To make sure the positives outweigh the negatives for you, here are some questions to ask when buying a condo.

First and foremost, you want to know how much the condo association fees will be each month. This is money you are required to pay on top of your mortgage. Not only do you need to know the amount for your own budget, but the mortgage company will need to have it when computing their numbers. If you have already been approved for a mortgage amount, it will be lowered in consideration of the condo fees. Basically, those fees become part of your monthly bills, or debt, and the mortgage company has to factor in all of those.

Once you know how much the association’s monthly charge is, you will want to know what it covers. It should cover any building and grounds maintenance, but you should double check if some of it is put away each month to save up for major repairs. For example, if you pay $200 per month, hopefully that’s enough to cover the typical monthly maintenance expenses and also includes extra to save for the major roof repair that may be needed in a few years. Check on this because you want to know if they are allowed to charge you extra some months to cover any major expenses.

In order to ascertain these details, you should read the condo association’s documentation. Most likely, you will not have access to it until you put an actual contract on the home, and then you will have around 5 days to review it and accept or reject it. When doing this, you can also find out what the rules are. Most restrict absolutely anything you do outside the building because you will not own any of that property. A faster way to find out some of this information is to ask the people who already live there. Most of them will be happy to tell you what they like and don’t like about living there and how the finances work. Also when you do this, you will learn the demographics of who else is living in the community or building. Is it young couples starting out or older folks who have retired here?

If you don’t enjoy having to mow grass or shovel snow, the condo association fees are probably worth it for you. If you love to hang flags on your front door and place potted plants along your front walk, you probably won’t like the fact that you’re not allowed to or have to go through a long approval process to do so. Like any home you purchase for yourself, the decision is highly personal, but if you remember these questions to ask when buying a condo, you should have enough important information to make the right decision.