Tips for Buying Your First Condo

By Emily Miller

If  you  have arrived at a point in your life where you are ready to buy your first home, you are standing in front of a huge milestone. You  probably  already  have  an  idea  about  what  you  are looking for and might be considering the option of purchasing a condo. Opting  for  a  condominium  instead  of  a  townhouse  or a single-family home can indeed be a smart decision. Condo living has its advantages,  and  if this is what fits your lifestyle, it can be a great investment in comfort and convenience. However, you need to be aware  that  there  are  also  certain  aspects  of  condo  living  that  some  people  would  consider  a disadvantage, which is why it’s paramount  that  you do thorough research before making a decision. Here are a few tips for the first-time condo buyers that might come in handy.

Weigh in the pros and cons

Purchasing  a condo is generally more affordable than going for a single-family home and this can be a huge advantage for first-time   buyers.    However,   keep   in   mind   that  what  you  are purchasing  are  only  the “inside walls” of your unit. A drawback that  stems  from  this  is,  naturally, that you don't get complete autonomy over your living space. Still, this drawback also comes with  one  of  the  biggest  advantages  of condo living: you don’t have to worry about the upkeep of the premises. 

As opposed to living in a single-family home, the time and energy spent on maintenance and repairs is greatly reduced, which is an amazing  perk  for  those  with a busy lifestyle. However, this also means that these common areas are exactly that: common. Most people  don’t  mind  shared  spaces  but  you  need to consider how much of your privacy you are ready to sacrifice before making your choice.

Assess what’s included

When  comparing  different  options, make sure you know what exactly is included in each one. We mentioned earlier that what you are  paying for are the inside walls. However, your condo also most likely comes with additional amenities. Most importantly, inquire whether  your  condo  includes reserved parking. Is the parking spot in a parking lot, or do you perhaps get your own garage space? You   should   also   think  about the parking your guests will use. Failing to find the answer to these questions can put you in a tight spot  later.  In  addition,  some  condos  might  also include additional storage, which is a great perk. Finally, learn about the facilities that are going to  be  available for you, since they can greatly affect your lifestyle in the future. For instance, a shared pool, a gym, or a community garden are benefits that can affect your decision.

Research maintenance and management company

As   mentioned   before,   you  don’t need to worry about maintenance matters such as landscaping and cleanliness in the common areas  of  the building. That being said, the work doesn’t do itself. The home owners’ association usually outsources these tasks to a company  specializing in condo management and maintenance in turn for a fee every member of the association is required to pay, as experts from strata management company explained. Therefore, inquiring about the details regarding maintenance should be a part of your  research  process  before  buying into a condo association. Research the maintenance company to make sure that the standards are high. Assess the association fees and consider whether they are reasonable. This is an important step since you have no other choice than to comply once you are a part of the association.

Ask about special assessment

Your  future  maintenance  fees  are an important factor to take into  account  when  deciding  on a condo. However, make sure you  don’t  forget  to also ask about any special assessment that might  be  in  place. Special assessment  is  a  fee  paid  to cover larger  projects,   such   as   the   renovation  of   the  apartment complex.  If  the  association  has  such  a project in plans, it can seriously  affect  your  budget during that time. Luckily, they are obliged to let you know of any special assessment planned. You are  also  entitled  to look into your future association’s financial records  with  the help of a professional to see if everything is in order.

 

Mind the rules

Finally,  one of the most crucial aspects to pay attention to when researching your future condo are the association rules. Rules are, of course, necessary, but they are also one of the most critical issues with living in a condo. They can be quite restricting, which may affect  your  lifestyle  in  the  long  term.   Some associations have stricter rules than others, so if this is a concern for you, be sure to factor  it  into  your  decision-making process.  For  instance,  if  you  are a pet lover, you will have to find a condo where animals are allowed.  Many associations also do not allow the units to be rented out, so if you are looking to buy a condo to make some cash on the side, keep this in mind. 

There   comes   a   time  in everyone’s life when they are ready to settle down and make a home for themselves. Since this is a huge step, you need to be adequately prepared to make the right choice. Hopefully, the tips mentioned above will be useful when you’re looking for your first condo.

About the author:

Emily Miller is a blogger, writing about life-work related topics. Passionate about home improvement and interior design.

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