As real estate continues its overall trend of being more expensive, many home buyers turn toward condos. The convenience, the amenities, and the typically low-maintenance lifestyle are all attractive factors.
However, there are many things you must know before buying a condo. You need to be aware of the financial commitment you’re making, as well as the rules and regulations that come with living in a condo community.
Here are seven things you must know before buying a condo.
Condo fees can quickly add up. Condo fees are typically as much or more than monthly mortgage payments on a traditional house.
Make sure that you factor in these costs when shopping for your new home and that you’re able to afford the expenses every month comfortably.
You should contact the best mortgage lenders in town to ensure that you get an excellent condo mortgage.
There are typically two types of fees: standard area fees and maintenance fees. The former covers all exterior upkeep while the latter pays for inside amenities like garbage disposal, electricity, water, etc.
Both can vary dramatically based on where you live, so it’s important to visit prospective properties or contact their management office to get an idea of what they charge monthly.
Some residences even require mandatory participation in specific amenities, so always ask about what is included in your monthly cost.
Another consideration is the deposit you’re required to give when signing the contract. This money goes into an account with other people’s deposits and is held until closing or, sometimes, settlement.
You’ll get this back, but it is something you should be aware of before moving forward with a purchase. Typically, this is non-refundable unless you back out of the deal for unforeseen reasons not disclosed in the property description.
Condo amenities are necessary because they affect your new home or investment property quality of life. You want to know what you’re paying for before signing on the dotted line.
For example, if you love grilling but your building has a no-grill policy, you’ll be forced to pay for a community grill somewhere else in the city.
Some things to think about are pools, childcare facilities, gyms, tennis courts, etc., especially near your unit or shared spaces. Also, it’s best practice to look up reviews of each amenity for quality and upkeep.
You’ll have to get your home insurance, so this is something you should know about before buying a condo. Some buildings won’t let you store, say, paint in the garage because they don’t want you spilling it on their garage floor or roof.
Read your community’s rules thoroughly so you know exactly what is allowed inside the property. You also have to be aware that some items are banned from certain buildings altogether—like barbecue grills—and will need to be stored elsewhere when not in use.
When living in an apartment building, neighbors are everywhere around you, but with condos, it’s best to get an accurate floor plan of the unit you’d like to purchase.
This way, you can determine how much noise will come through the walls or ceiling. If you’re looking for peace, then it’s best to steer clear of units with lower ceilings; otherwise, you’ll hear everything your upstairs neighbors are doing.
7. Electric bills
If your condo fees don’t include electricity, you should know your monthly power bill before buying a condo because this can vary greatly depending on where you live.
Look up how much other people in the area pay each month, so there are no surprises when it comes time for payment. Generally speaking, electric bills tend to be higher than average because condos usually have more lighting and a/c usage than a house.
Some condo owners have restrictions regarding pets, so it’s best to ask about the community’s rules you’re interested in purchasing before going forward with negotiations.
For example, some places won’t allow dogs over a certain weight but allow cats. Some don’t let any pet, whereas others may only be okay with fish as long as they stay in an aquarium or unique bowl that attaches to the wall.
If there are no pet policies listed online, you should always contact management for clarification.
Although buying a condo is more complicated than buying a single-family home because of all these considerations, it can also be gratifying once you’ve met them head-on and bought your new property. You’ll enjoy amenities most people outside of condo-living never get to experience.