7 Things You Must Know Before Buying a Condo

by Marie Rodriguez

As real estate continues to become 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 and the rules and regulations that come with living in a condo community.

Here are seven things you must know before buying a condo.


1. Mortgage

Condo fees can quickly add up. Condo fees are typically as much or more than monthly mortgage payments on a traditional house.

Make sure you factor in these costs when shopping for your new home and can afford the monthly expenses comfortably.

You should contact the best mortgage lenders in town to ensure that you get an excellent condo mortgage.

2. Fees

There are typically two types of fees: standard area and maintenance. 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 visiting prospective properties or contacting their management office is important to understand what they charge monthly.

Some residences even require mandatory participation in specific amenities, so always ask about what is included in your monthly cost.

3. Deposits

Another consideration is the deposit you must 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 you should be aware of it 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.

4. Amenities

Condo amenities are necessary because they affect your new home or investment property’s quality of life. You want to know what you’re paying for before signing 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 consider 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.

5. Insurance

You’ll have to get your home insurance, so you should know about this before buying a condo. Some buildings won’t let you store paint in the garage because they don’t want you spilling it on their garage floor or roof.

Read your community’s rules thoroughly to know what is allowed inside the property. You also have to be aware that some items, like barbecue grills, are banned from certain buildings altogether and will need to be stored elsewhere when not in use.

6. Neighbors

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, it’s best to steer clear of units with lower ceilings; otherwise, you’ll hear everything your upstairs neighbors do.

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 to payment. Generally speaking, electric bills tend to be higher than average because condos usually have more lighting and a/c usage than a house.

8. Pets

Some condo owners have pet restrictions, so it’s best to ask about the community’s rules you’re interested in purchasing before negotiating.

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 if they stay in an aquarium or unique bowl that attaches to the wall.

If no pet policies are 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.

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