5 Can’t-Miss Condo Buying Tips and Tricks

Are you looking to buy a new home in the upcoming year? While purchasing a house can be undoubtedly exciting, it can also be a tremendous source of stress and anxiety. 

What’s more? A whopping 44% of Americans report experiencing regret about their current home- or about the process they went when selecting it.

It’s no surprise that your home is likely the most significant investment you ever make. And chances are, it’ll be, by far, the most expensive. Let’s get into the top condo buying tips you need to know.

Know Yourself And Your Lifestyle

Are you comfortable with adhering to basic living rules? Can you accept that you can’t paint your house whatever color you want? Moreover, do you love the idea of not having to pay for a roof replacement

If so, condo living may be a perfect fit for you and your family. Condos tend to be cheaper than single-family houses, and they also tend to be in desirable locations. That said, condos are unique from homes, and you must know the key differences.

The most crucial difference is the sense of ownership. Condos are private residential units that exist within multiunit buildings. The units may be attached, semidetached, or entirely detached. 

Condos also have associations facilitated by a board of directors. The association oversees property maintenance and amenities. Condo owners pay fees to their associations to fund these costs.

Condos entail a sense of community- and this can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the association. Therefore, people who value extreme independence and a sense of individual ownership may not be the most suitable condo buyers. 

Hire The Right Agent

Buying (or selling) a condo is significantly different from buying a single-family home. Purchasing contracts are different, and there are often various contingencies to consider.

Therefore, you want an agent who understands these nuances. They will help you with the details related to condo associations. They will also help you understand all the documents related to purchasing your property.

There isn’t a magic science to finding the right agent. Many people start by obtaining referrals from friends and family. Ask around to determine if anyone has a recommendation they want to provide.

Make sure you engage in some basic background research on potential candidates. Nowadays, it’s simple to run a quick Google search and scan online reviews and history of listings.

Interview at least a few agents before selecting your candidate. This process gives you an idea of the different styles agents have. Chemistry may be the leading force guiding your decisionmaking process- when all else fails, it’s usually wise to trust your gut on who feels right for the job.

Know Exactly What The Condo Does And Doesn’t Include

Condos have many amenities and rules, but each complex is unique. Such variables to consider include: 

  • association fees
  • insurance and deductibles
  • outdoor maintenance 
  • pet rules and regulations
  • trash pickup
  • water and sewer services
  • common areas (pools, walkways, playgrounds, fitness centers)

It’s easy to think about what you value now in a home. However, if you plan to live in this property for the next twenty or thirty years, you need to plan ahead. Do you intend to start a family? Retire? Have lots of pets?

It may be worthwhile to scan through online listings to ‘get a feel’ for what you want. Visit this website to browse properties and their included features. Conducting your own search will give you an idea of what’s out there, which can help you narrow down your choices.  

Review The Association Budget

The condo association budget may be one of the most critical factors to consider during your real estate hunt. Why? It shows where the money goes and how it’s spent. 

You’ll want to overlook the association reserves to ensure there is enough funding for major issues like structural repairs. You’ll also want to glance over any outstanding debt, as this will determine if there are problems with owners failing to pay their association dues. Consider it a serious red flag if associations refuse to be transparent about their budget.

Some associations charge owners special assessments to cover costs. These assessments are more common in older properties with smaller cash reserves. When checking out different complexes, be sure to ask about upcoming future projects and the intentions for funding.

Review The Association Rules

Most condos have a homeowner’s association (HOA) structure, which helps maintain the structure and livelihood of the complex. When buying a condo, you’re required to join this HOA and pay the subsequent fees.

The rules vary from complex to complex, but you should certainly review them in advance. For example, do the pools have constricted hours that won’t work with your work schedule? Are you going to be fined for leaving an umbrella on your patio?

Likewise, community disagreements can and do arise in planned developments. You should find out what kinds of penalties are imposed for breaking the rules. Moreover, what is the process for conflict resolution?

Finally, some HOA’s are run by community residents as volunteers. Other associations are managed by professionals. Regardless, you want to obtain relevant information about the reputation.

Final Thoughts On Condo Buying Tricks

Buying real estate is exciting, but it can also be stressful! These condo buying tricks should ideally make the process feel less stressful.

Remember to take your time and be patient with your search. Many people rush into buying a home only to regret their decision later. It’s better to hold out and wait than jump in haphazardly.

Are you looking for more guidance on real estate? Be sure to check out our real estate & rentals category.