Understanding Real Estate

Tips For Buying Your First Condo

If you have never bought a condo, then you should not think you have adequate home-buying experience even if you have transacted other types of property purchases before. This is because buying a condo involves some unique issues that buying single-family homes don't. In particular, you should keep these things in mind when buying a condo:

Start Your Mortgage Hunt Earlier Than Usual

Condos are typically more difficult to finance than single-family homes. Mortgage lenders are wary of condos because they face more (perceived) risks than other properties. For example, many investors buy condos for sale and rent them out to other people who may not take as good a care of the properties just like their real owners would do. At the same time, individual condo owners are not responsible for a lot of maintenance issues; the (homeowners association) HOA management is in charge of most maintenance practices, and a bad HOA management leads to poor maintenance. Therefore, if you want to buy a condo, start your mortgage search earlier than you would do for the purchase of a single-family home.

Find Out What The Sale Includes

When you buy a single-family home, you are guaranteed that everything within the compound is yours to do with as you please. That is not the case with a condo where many things are communally owned or shared with neighbors. For example, you might find that the garage is not yours alone or that you can't use the additional storage space as you please. It's advisable to research this so you know how to make an informed purchase decision.

Budget for the Association and Special Assessment Fees

Condos are managed by HOAs, and all the condo owners have to contribute HOA fees for its management and for the common services and maintenance of common areas. There may also be a special assessment fee, which is applicable when there is a significant upgrade or renovation to be made. Find out how much these fees are and what they cover because they will be affecting you directly.

Confirm What You Can Remodel

Lastly, you should know what you can and cannot change in your condo. Living in a condo is not like living in a single-family home where you have to freedom to remodel your house, compound or even knock down the property and construct a new one. There are restrictions on what you can change in your condo, and this is another thing you should know before committing to the purchase contract.