Investing in Condos

Condos have been getting a lot of press lately. All this talk might make you wonder if purchasing a condo is the right move for your situation. While there are some exceptions, many condo buyers fall into one of three categories: first time home buyers looking to get into the local market, investors adding to their portfolio of rental properties, and new retirees looking to downsize.

Before you pull the trigger on your condo purchases, make sure you have considered the answers to these important questions.

Question #1: Have you looked into the condo association’s rules and regulations?

While most condo association rules are fairly straightforward, it is important to understand what the building’s residents can and cannot do. For example, some buildings may not be pet-friendly while others might limit the type and size of the plants you can grow on your balcony. Some condos might regulate whether or not you can have welcome mats or if you can hang decorations outside your door.

These rules are in place to prevent neighbors from causing an eyesore. While the intention behind the rules is good, it is important to consider whether or not you personally can live with these rules.

Question #2: What amenities are you looking for?

A condo association can have its downsides, but one of the benefits is that the association often gives its residents access to community amenities. When you are looking at condos in different buildings, consider which amenities you love and which ones you could live without. Examples include a health club, swimming pool, reserved parking, and concierge service. Some luxury condos even offer an optional cleaning and laundry service.

Question #3: Have you budgeted for the HOA fees?

The amenities provided by the condo association are nice, but they are not without their cost. In most cases, higher HOA fees come hand in hand with better amenities. While this is not a deal breaker, make sure that you have included these HOA fees in your budget.

These HOA fees cover maintenance and repairs to the building, helping you even out your monthly and yearly costs. With traditional homeownership, you might have huge unexpected expenses such as a damaged roof or a furnace that goes out. One of the benefits of living in a condo is that these costs are often covered by the HOA fees without any additional costs to the residents. Before moving in, check to make sure that your condo association has a respectable amount of money on reserve to cover any large maintenance items.

Question #4: Is there on-site maintenance?

One of the biggest benefits of living in a condo is that you are not responsible for the maintenance. This can be a huge burden lifted off your shoulders, freeing up your time for other activities. However, if the maintenance team is not on site, this can mean spending a weekend living with plumbing problems or a broken air conditioner. Ask about the maintenance team’s typical response times before buying a condo. You can learn more about the dos and don’ts of condo living by browsing our website.