Condos often a good option for singles, young couples and empty nesters. Low maintenance condos allow for peace of mind and more time to do what you love. While most of the process of buying condo is the same as buying a regular home, there are a few unique items you need to be aware of.
Here are 5 important things unique to buying a condo:
When looking for an attached residence, remember, neighbors make noise. Try to schedule a showing during times when neighbors are likely to be home, such as dinner time, to get a feel for the noise levels. Ask residents about general noise in the complex including neighbors, traffic and the surrounding area. Moving in under someone with feet seemingly made of concrete is no fun for anyone.
HOA Rules and Regulations
While many homes are part of a homeowners association, condos are always in an HOA. Each HOA will have unique rules and regulations (also known as covenants, conditions and restrictions or CC&Rs). Once under contract, request access to these documents. Review them carefully to understand rules regarding renovation, maintenance and payments. Ask if there have been special assessments in the last three years or if there are any major renovation projects planned as these can all be a sign of increased HOA fees in the near future.
HOA dues usually cover exterior insurance to protect the siding, roof and more. Much like renters insurance, condo owners usually only need insurance for the interior of the condo. Talk to a trusted insurance agent about the best insurance for condo owners. Also, check with the HOA to see what is covered by their insurance.
Condos are considered low maintenance because the exterior of the building is maintained by the HOA. No mowing lawns, no painting the siding and no replacing roofs. However, condo owners don’t have much say in the maintenance schedule. Walk around the common areas to ensure they are well cared for. Ask other residents if they are happy with the maintenance.
Many condo associations aren’t approved for FHA and VA loans, making it harder for some first time buyers. Owner occupant rates and pending lawsuits are a few reasons associations won’t be approved. Get prequalified for a mortgage before going on the hunt for a condo.. Check to see if condo associations are approved for FHA and VA loans here.
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