Buying a Condo: Step-By-Step Guide
Are you thinking about home ownership but going green at the thought of
upkeep and repairs? Does the idea of private living in a group
environment appeal to you? If you're looking to own property but not
liking the thought of a traditional home, why not consider buying a condo?
The process to buy a condo is unique and sometimes complicated. Some
facets of it, like the mortgage process, are similar to the process
required for buying a single family home; but there the similarities
end. The guide below will take you through the condo-buying process
step-by-step. Our goal is to make your road to condo ownership a little
How to buy a Condo?
So you've decided to buy. Good for you! The problem is, finding the
right condo might be harder than you think. If you're unfamiliar with
condos, you might think they're all alike- but that's far from the
truth. Check out condos in the area where you'd like to live, and make
sure to ask all of the important questions.
What condo amenities are offered?
Some of the main benefits of condo life come
from the extras that are thrown in. Some condos have gyms; others have
swimming pools, saunas, and rooftop party areas. The condo you buy
should have amenities that you're truly likely to use. Keep in mind that
regardless of whether or not you log time in the gym, you're going to be
paying for the equipment.
How does the Home Owner's Association (HOA) operate?
Condos are run on a
group mentality, where all condo owners in the complex meet regularly to
make decisions regarding the building and its upkeep. You might not be
interested in attending the condo meetings, and that's perfectly fine.
However, you should look into how the current meetings are conducted and
what types of developments are in store for the general area. You should
also investigate how restrictive HOA rules may be- some associations
have strict rules regarding everything from holiday decorations to paint
colors to plastic lawn flamingos.
Investigate daily annoyances
Although condo owners have more control
and responsibility over their homes than apartment dwellers do, there
are still certain things that are out of your control. Check out
soundproofing between units. Investigate the parking situation. Ask
current tenants if they run into maintenance issues and whether they can
get them fixed in a reasonable amount of time.
Check out the condo reserve funds
All condos have a reserve fund that owners
contribute to each month. This fund pays for general upkeep and
maintenance on the building as a whole. There should be a good-sized
reserve to protect you (and your pocketbook) against any emergencies.
Buying a Condo
This is the part where buying a condo becomes an awful lot like any
other home purchase. You must secure a mortgage through a lender, and
the rate you get will depend on your credit history, income, and past
rental history or home purchases.
There is one major difference between financing a condo and financing a
single family home. You might be under the impression that buying a
condo will save you the cost of maintaining a home. This isn't true.
What it does save you is the actual maintenance work.
When you purchase a condo, the price you pay for it covers a laundry
list of services of which you might not be aware. Make sure to look into
the purchase price of your condo and see what services are included in
the cost- and what ones you'll be expected to cover yourself in the
future. Repairs, staff salaries, utilities, garbage collection,
insurance, and lawn care are just a few examples of the kinds of things
condo owners are paying for.
So the truth is that buying a condo won't necessarily be any less
expensive than purchasing a home. You're still considered a property
owner, and as such you're responsible for all the usual things that go
with it. The benefits of a condo lie not in the costs, but in the
If you're dealing with empty nest syndrome and like the idea of living
in a community atmosphere, then a condo may be for you. If you're ready
to own but hate the idea of an entire house to take care of, consider a
There are all sorts of reasons to buy a condo. Whatever your reason,
make sure you're doing it the right way and that you find the right one.
After all, it's your future home!