Buying a Condo: Six Tips to Know

Ready to start the process of buying a condo? First off, congratulations! Purchasing a condo is a big step in anyone’s life. Living in a condo is a gateway to maturity and a great first step in the long term plan for a happy, healthy, equity filled life.

Of course, purchasing a condo isn’t always a cut-and-dried process. There are a lot of factors that go into condo sales, both for the buyer and the existing condo owner (whatever party that may be). For those looking to stop paying rent and explore living life in a condo, you’re on the right track!

You most likely have some questions as this will likely be one of the first, largest purchases you make, and we’re here for you. In this blog, we’ll outline the six best tips for buying a condo – so you can become a condo owner with as little of a headache as possible.

Tip 1: Decide if a Condo is Right For you

The first thing you should do when it comes to buying a condo? Decide if a condo is actually right for your situation. A condominium exists in a sort of gray area between home ownership and apartment living. For many people in suburban, urban, or rural settings that don’t want to take the plunge into home ownership – but are sick of paying rent – finding the right type of condo community or condominium complex might be the perfect compromise. However, for many others, investing in a new house, buying an existing home, or continuing on living in an apartment might be the way to go. Before you start looking for a real estate agent or scouring the listings for condos, take a good look at your finances and reserve fund (and your long term plans for living). Being set in your plan is essential.

Another important thing to remember? You’re buying into an investment with your condo – and like anything else, it contains a financial risk. More often than not, that investment will be safe; however, that risk is always present. In a lot of cases, you will build some equity when you take the leap into condo-ownership, but all factors need to be taken into consideration when thinking about your future condominium purchase.

Tip 2: Figure Out What You’re Looking For In a Condo

Just like snowflakes, all condos are different. Each one of them will offer specific benefits that you’ll have to consider – from amenities within the complex to distance and other conveniences. Are you looking for a high rise condo complex within the city or somewhere close to public transportation? Or are you looking for something smaller, more private, and laid back? How much are you willing to pay for all of those extra benefits that pop up within condo complexes, like gyms, recreation areas, and pools? Are you going to shell out a little bit more for someplace with those benefits – or are you going to constrain your search to something more conservative? Sit down with your purchase partner (or yourself) and figure out what your parameters for your search are. This will help you narrow down the possibilities and figure out the perfect spot.

Tip 3: Get a Real Estate Agent That Knows the Condo Business

There are a few different things to consider when buying a condo versus a house. It’s a little bit of a different process, and it’s always good to find a real estate agent that specializes in condo sales – everything from the documents to sign to the Federal Housing Administration approvals. Before you commit to an agent, ask for their experiences when it comes to condo sales. See if they have a sense of the area and a sense of the condo community that you’re going to live in. Make sure they come well-versed in the unique ins and outs of condo purchasing and make sure you have a clear sense of what their fees are and how they communicate.

Tip 4: Get a Sense of What the Monthly Fees Will Be

Living in a condo differs from living in a house or (in most cases) an apartment. The first thing to be aware of? The monthly fees that come with living in a condo complex. With all of those amenities that come with a condo complex come added costs. After all, those tennis courts, pools, gym facilities, and other elements aren’t cheap. Those types of monthly fees can very quickly add plenty of zeroes onto your bottom line. Be sure to consider those added-on expenses when figuring out your budget.

Another consideration for your owner occupied condo? The “special assessments” that come with condo living. This is an added bit of money you may have to pay that goes into a fund for repairs for the condominium complex or condo community. Hopefully, the condo board is transparent (and well-managed), and these special assessments are few and far between. However, they do exist – and can be very expensive.

Tip 5: Look at the Rules!

One of the essential elements of a condo association is the list of rules and regulations that come with living in them. Be sure you take a look over the condo association rulebook before signing anything – it may surprise you. Living in the condo association may come with rules regarding everything from trash disposal and lawn regulations to guest permissions and “quiet hours.” If there’s something particularly standout in the rules that conflict with your lifestyle or plan for living, it might be enough to cause you to look elsewhere.

Tip 6: Get a Sense of the Community

A condominium community is just that – a community. You’re going to be living in a ready-made neighborhood with a group of people that you’ll share a lot with, from common areas to tennis courts. Try to get a sense of how that community interacts, just as if you were moving into a new neighborhood with a home. Are there any social activities that you’d like to participate in? How responsive is management to problems that might arise? What is the condo board like, and is there an opportunity to participate? If you can, try to talk to prominent members of the condo association or other people that live in the condo complex. They can give you the inside scoop on what day-to-day life is like in their world.

How LemonBrew Can Help

Ready to get started on your journey to purchasing a condo? LemonBrew is here to help. With LemonBrew, you’ll get the perfect resource for everything real estate – from matching with a real estate agent to home sales, condo sales, and much more. Check us out right here.

Oh, and another thing! LemonBrew is the best source of news, reviews, features, and other information for everything in the real estate industry – especially when it comes to condos. On our engaging blog, you’ll find everything you need to know about the ins and outs of real estate. Check out informative articles like “The Best Real Estate Agents Know These Four Things,” “5 Ways to Manage Your Finances in an Uncertain Time,” and “How Long Does it Take to Close on a House?” Come take a look and see how we can help inform your unique real estate or condo buying journey!