If you are considering purchasing a condominium, you should know that the prospect of buying a condo is completely different from purchasing single family housing. Many buyers assume that lawn space, or lack thereof, is the only difference between home ownership and condo living. However, there are many differences as condo life means sharing walls with neighbors and privacy limitations.
A condominium is property that is owned in the form of a unit. Condo owners are responsible for all that lies within the walls. Exterior items such as the roof and siding, and sometimes even the windows, are not owned by the condo purchaser and exterior upkeep is generally the responsibility of the condo association which maintains the lived in condo community.
Condo communities differ from HOA's (Home Owner Associations) in that rules maintenance, and amenities vary greatly from one condo complex to another. It is recommended that condo buyers research a condo community's rules, regulations, and fees before signing on the dotted line. A professional realtor who is experienced in condo negotiations would serve as a major advantage in the purchase of a condominium. Regardless of the agent you choose to work with, consider six major positive and negative attributes of condo ownership:
1. - Location, location, location! Condos can be advantageous for city living as they can be placed where single family homes do not fit. Condos are popular in metropolitan cities and are considered to be chic developments as they are often close to transportation and within walking distance of every imaginable amenity.
Finding suitable single family housing in a large, metropolitan city can be difficult due to geographical and spacial limitations. You are sure to pay more for a home in the city than you would in a country setting, therefore buyers often choose condos as they are more cost effective and desirably located.
2. - Condo living can often be associated with luxurious amenities to which only the owners are allowed access. Many of these perks have been known to include a fitness center, sauna, pool, clubhouse, and even tennis courts. Home ownership does not often include such amenties within a purchase and additional monies must be spent in efforts to obtain them.
Condo community members may even experience a reduced cost in gym memberships or the purchase of fitness equipment. Condo communities can also foster a sense of community as all of the owners must share in the perks availed to them. If you live for privacy, this lifestyle probably would not appeal to you.
Research condo rules and regulations as they pertain to parking, noise, pets, age, and subleasing because once you sign with the association, you are bound by those regulations.
3. - Low maintenance is a huge perk of condominium ownership. Waking up to freshly mowed grass and the sound of in-ground sprinkler systems can be far more appealing than lawn mowing duties. Snow removal is often included where applicable. Although such perks are not free, they are worth the cost of freedom from landscaping, shoveling, and raking as well as fertilizing and irrigation.
As a condo owner, your responsibility lies within. You account for the stuff inside your living space, which means less time spent on outside duties. Items such as the roof and siding are communal responsibilities which are covered by association fees. When a roof leaks, it is the responsibility of the condo association to repair it.
Due diligence is key in the purchase of any property. Investigate the condo fees and what they do and don't cover verses your financial obligations. Make sure no major structural modifications are pending as this could increase your condo fees.
4. - Many condos are known to be smaller than single family homes. Many potential owners enjoy smaller size living quarters due to reduced responsibilities and less to clean. Condos are constructed differently than single family homes in that they are normally attached at the sides and vertically (with the exception of detached condos). Should you move forward in your desire to purchase a condo, you will likely be limited in making any additions or performing construction projects. Check our the condo association's bylaws (rules and regulations) regarding structural changes.
5. - Cost variations between condos and single family homes of equal square footage and number of bedrooms and bathrooms can vary greatly depending upon the location. It is likely that you will pay less for the condo as well as spend less on condo maintenance. It is crucial to know what the association fees will be prior to condo purchase and whether or not they include insurance, lawn maintenance and snow removal, trash removal, sewer service, and roof maintenance and/or window repair and replacement.
As previously stated, access to amenities such as a fitness center, pool, and sports equipment might be more cost effective than dealing with the usual maintenance associated with single family home ownership. Make sure to weight these expenses carefully and consider the long-term effects on your bank account.
6. - Condominium complexes are known to provide security such as a security code activated gate upon entrance and exit, a security guard, and security cameras. Not all complexes offer this perk, so inquire as to the security measures you can expect prior to your purchase.
7. -Condo values do not appreciate at the rate of single family homes, therefore the resale value is limited. If you plan to live in a condo for only a few years and then "flip" the property in order to acquire a huge profit, you will likely be disappointed financially. This trend may or may not remain in effect, however has been a long standing theme in the world of real estate. Selling a condo differs from selling a single family home due to review of bylaws, property value, etc., therefore you will require the services of an experienced real estate agent.
8. - Some buyers find it more difficult to obtain financing for a condo than for a single family house. Make sure you seek pre-approval from a reputable lender prior to searching for a condo. Some lenders simply to not approve mortgages for condos.
At the end of the day, lifestyle will be the number one factor in choosing between condo ownership and the purchase of a single family home. While buying a condo can be a great investment, it is wise to learn how the association operates as well as familiarize yourself with the buy-laws. Make sure you understand the rental rules, age restrictions, and pet restrictions first and foremost.
If you'd like to learn more about Condo Living Verses Single Family Home Ownership, please don't hesitate to message Lang Premier Properties online or call us at 1-855-526-4466.