If you want to be a homeowner but aren’t eager to embrace the many responsibilities that come with owning a traditional home, a condo may be the ideal solution. After all, condos offer a chance to own your own space in an in-demand locale while still keeping expenses and responsibilities down. However, condo ownership does have certain quirks that you’ll want to keep in mind before putting your money down on a new property. Do you know what to look for when buying a condo?
What to Look for When Buying a Condo
A condo is a privately owned, single-family unit in a larger, multi-family complex comprised of other condos and various areas that are collectively owned by those who own condos in the complex. Many condo complexes resemble apartment buildings, but some come in the form of townhouses or other housing options. Wondering what to look for when buying a condo? Keep these factors in mind:
Location and Cost
With any home purchase, location is an important concern. You’ll want to find an affordable property that is conveniently located in a desirable area. When it comes to location and condos, remember that you’ll likely have a bit of an advantage over those shopping for a traditional home. As Trusted Choice points out, opting for a condo often means that you can afford to live in a more desirable area because condos tend to be less expensive than traditional homes. However, your mortgage won’t be your only monthly payment. When figuring out your budget, remember that owning a condo also means paying monthly dues to the condo association. These monies fund the upkeep of the complex’s shared spaces and features.
The property’s condition is another factor that needs to be weighed carefully when purchasing any type of home. With a condo, it’s important to look beyond the unit that you hope to buy. As Apartment Therapy indicates, the condition of the public areas and shared spaces can be very revealing. Well-maintained spaces suggest a functioning condo association. In contrast, shabby or poorly maintained public areas could indicate problems with the association, its management, or its budget.
As Investopedia reports, the prospect of gaining access to amenities that you might not be able to afford on your own is one of the advantages of buying a condo. If you’re eager to enjoy a swimming pool, golf course, gym, tennis court, clubhouse, or other special features, then you’ll want to pay special attention to the type, quality, and accessibility of the amenities that prospective complexes offer.
Buying a condo means accepting the rules of the complex, and those rules can vary widely. Some condo owners are largely free to do as they please. Others are bound by restrictive codes that impact virtually every aspect of the community. Money Under 30 encourages anyone who is interested in purchasing a condo to get a copy of the condo association’s rules and review them thoroughly. If the rules and regulations aren’t a good match for your needs and desires, it’s best to know before you invest time and energy into buying a condo at that complex.
The Condo Association
The condo association governs the complex and oversees issues like budgeting, maintenance, repairs, and improvements. As Home Advisor reports, the association can have a major impact on your quality of life and the value of your property if you buy a condo there, so you’ll want to review its activities. Is its governance effective? Are there financial troubles? How are concerns or conflicts within the complex addressed?
If you’re planning to use a home loan to fund your condo purchase, you’ll need to know what lenders look for in the process of approving a mortgage for a condo. As Investopedia says, lenders tend to be cautious about granting loans for condos. They generally consider both the percentage of owner-occupied units and the complex’s occupancy rate. Many government-backed home loan programs will only approve loans for condos in approved complexes. In addition, borrowers may need to meet stricter credit standards.