What is a condo?
Short for condominium, a condominium is a single unit of measurement within a multiple-unit place, typically an apartment-style building, freestanding homes or townhomes. It can be one of many units in a divided structure like a high-rise construction, or it can be in a much smaller walk-up build with two or three units. If you ’ re thinking about buying a condominium, it ’ south significant to understand what your purchase includes. No matter how big the build or property is, you own your individual unit. You besides own a pro-rata share of park areas and amenities of the community with your neighbors, which can include parks, pools, playgrounds, gymnasium, dog-walking areas and early populace spaces. This besides includes the domain underneath the structure.
Shared areas of condos are normally managed by a condominium association. The association typically acts as a supervisory display panel and hires a property management party to handle alimony, communication with residents and other duties. “ A condominium owner has the title to their individual whole but shares ownership of the coarse areas, ” explains David Lee, Realtor and team leader of the David Lee Group with Keller Williams Realty in Orange County, California. “ Being a part of an association, condominium owners typically pay an established monthly fee to cover their budget and expenses set by the association. ” condominium owners besides pay for their own property taxes, utilities and sustenance, and sometimes for outside care, ampere well, depending on the community. Condo associations can differ based on the requirements of the individual property. Some may impose extra fees, much called particular assessments, to cover shared expenses, such as unexpected build repairs or new amenities approved by the condominium board .
Condo vs. house
One of the key points of differentiation between a condominium versus a house is price. The median price for a preowned condominium was $ 297,900 as of September 2021, according to the National Association of Realtors — a ample savings versus the medial price of a preowned single-family dwelling, which was $ 359,700. however, the saying “ you get what you pay for ” rings true when comparing a condominium versus a house. Condos are generally more low-cost because they come with less space — you likely won ’ t have your own backyard, for model, and the interior tends to be smaller than the square footage of a single-family home. A mortgage for a condominium can besides come with a slightly higher pastime pace than a mortgage for a single-family home, angstrom well as a larger down payment prerequisite of 25 percentage if you want to avoid paying for private mortgage indemnity with your monthly mortgage requital. ( With a house, that human body is 20 percentage. ) Why ? With the association ’ second financials and other factors to consider, mortgage lenders typically view condos as a slightly hazardous investment .
7 tips for buying a condo in 2022
1. Consider your lifestyle
Hate to mow the lawn and trim the hedges ? What about pressure washing your driveway ? Are your finances such that having to lay out $ 5,000 or more for a new roof will be a burden ? If you answered yes to these questions, condominium living might be for you. however, if the desire to have a large backyard outweighs the meter you ’ ll necessitate to spend maintaining it, then another type of property could be a better option. similarly, if sharing walls, ceilings or floors with a neighbor seems unappealing, a condominium — which comes with literally living on top of your neighbors — might not be the answer. Condos tend to work good for those comfortable with most of the aspects of apartment be, minus the built-in maintenance .
2. Find a Realtor who knows the condo landscape
If you ’ ve decided that buying a condominium is for you, you ’ ll want to find a real estate agentive role who will have your best interests in mind. ideally, you ’ ll want person with a racetrack record in condos so they can address any concerns you might have and guide you through crucial steps, like reviewing the condominium association documents. Your agent should know the condominium developments in your area and what issues they might have. Things that could negatively affect your life in a condominium might include community finance issues and structure or infrastructure problems within the residential district ’ randomness build or buildings, or rules you can ’ triiodothyronine digest by. A good agentive role will be able to tell you if there ’ s been bitterness over community issues. They will besides know which developments have fared best in resale values, which is specially crucial. If the condominium international relations and security network ’ t your everlastingly home, you ’ re going to want to maximize its rate when you sell it. While an have agentive role is invaluable, it can besides be worthwhile to visit the community yourself ( and at unlike times of day and night ) and talk to some of the residents. This can help you get a better sense of what it ’ five hundred be like to live there .
3. Decide what amenities you want to be included
A condominium can offer a wide-eyed kind of amenities. Some might be barebones offerings that plainly cover snow removal and other sustenance in the common areas, while others include a gymnasium, outdoor grills and other luxury-level perks.
When working with your Realtor, address the amenities you want in accession to factors like location and budget. You ’ re buy access to these amenities when you buy your unit of measurement, so don ’ metric ton be shy about putting them on your regard list. Keep in mind, besides, that amenities you don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate plan to use — a pool, for example — might even be worth having because when you go to resell, a condominium that lacks the amenities of others in the area might net a lower sale price .
4. Find an FHA-approved condo
Getting a mortgage for a condominium might be more involved than it is for other types of properties. That ’ randomness because the condominium development itself will come under examination, in addition to your personal finances, when you apply for a loan. It ’ second best to seek the aid of a mortgage professional with condominium experience to find the right finance for your leverage. The Federal Housing Administration ( FHA ), which insures FHA mortgages, has a list of FHA-approved condominium on its web site. conventional lenders might have similar requirements to those of the FHA, but If the condominium international relations and security network ’ t FHA-approved, you might not be able to get a conventional loan, either .
5. Research the property management company
Understanding who will be in consign of doing the care for the property is crucial, since you want the condominium you purchase to be well-maintained. It can be frustrating to pay association dues only to have the amenities fall into disrepair, and poor management can potentially affect your property ’ s value or push your HOA dues higher. When touring condominium, ask who is in charge of maintaining the daily operations. You can direct questions such as who handles resident requests and residential district rules to the property management party itself. Consider doing your own inquiry on the company ’ south reputation, a well — find out what early projects they manage, and talk to board members to see if they are satisfied with the company ’ south services .
6. Review association fees and regulations
apart from your mortgage, you ’ ll need to pay condominium association fees for the care of the property and its amenities. Review those fees and ask what ’ south included versus what you ’ ll distillery need to handle outside that monthly price tag. Ask how frequently — and by how much — the fees increase each year, excessively, to get a smell of how that amount might continue to grow once you move in. It ’ second besides a good idea to ask about the community ’ south house rules. Are there any noise restrictions, or rules about booking common areas in advance ? Understanding these rules ahead of prison term will help you figure out whether the community you ’ ra looking at is truly a well fit for you. In summation, ask the display panel and the property management company how they handle issues or complaints — how responsive they are on weekends and holidays, for model. Pay attention to how they respond tied when you first make contact — this can be an indicator of how much support you can expect to receive when an topic crops up .
7. Ask about special assessments
special assessments are extra charges the condominium association imposes to fund a significant project. An assessment is normally voted on by the HOA board, if not all of the community ’ mho residents. They are normally imposed for a restrict sum of time, but they ’ re a commodity thing to be mindful of because they ’ ll affect your budget while they ’ re in place. For example, if the association is planning to require everyone to install new windows within the next 12 months, you ’ ll want to use this as a bargaining chip with the seller. otherwise, you ’ ll pass over your money for a toss off payment and close costs, only to immediately fork over another large summarize of cash for that assessment. A well-run association can normally avoid special assessments, except in extraordinary cases. Ask for copies of at least the three previous years ’ fiscal reports, and make sure your lawyer or accountant reviews them and signs off that the community ’ s finances are sound. Pay close attention to whether the budget has adequate reserves — is it being funded now in training of a future or unanticipated project ? Having these funds is specially authoritative if the building is older, since age much comes with the need for more extensive repairs .
Pros and cons of buying a condo
If you ’ re remember of buying a condominium, it ’ mho important to weigh the benefits and challenges. here are some top things to consider :
- Potentially lower price – Depending on what market you’re in, a condo can be a much less expensive way to buy a home than purchasing a single-family property, making it ideal for first-time homebuyers or those with limited down payment savings.
- Lower maintenance costs – Exterior maintenance in condo communities (often with the exception of windows) is generally handled by the HOA. This includes lawn and shrub care, driveways and walkways, roofs and exterior siding. Because condos tend to be more compact and require less attention than single-family homes, they can be a more affordable way to own property. Property taxes tend to be lower, as well.
- Opportunities to be social – Some condo associations organize social events like pool parties, barbecues and doggy playdates, and you might be in closer proximity to neighbors and more likely to meet them in person. (Of course, this will only be a draw if you’re interested in socializing.)
- Amenities – Depending on the condo community, you might have access to top-notch amenities like a grilling area, business center, pool, dog park, covered parking, clubhouse and more, and the cost of enjoying these perks is shared among all residents.
- HOA rules, fees – One of the biggest complaints about living in a condo community is that HOA rules can be restrictive, regulating everything from trash pickup to what types of items can be stored on your patio, how many pets you can have and whether you can rent out your unit. Breaking the rules can result in fines or even foreclosure, in severe cases. Condo association fees tend to increase over time, too.
- Investment risk – You and your neighbors all own the common property together, so if one or many owners fail to pay their dues, the entire community could suffer financially. Likewise, if one or more of your fellow condo owners go into foreclosure, the units could change hands at a steep discount, affecting everyone’s property values. (Some associations have rules and the funds to buy back these units, so be sure to ask how this situation is typically handled.)
- Less privacy, possibly many renters – Because condos share common areas like the lobby, hallways and amenities, a condo unit might not be for you if you value your privacy. You’ll also be sharing walls, ceilings and floors with adjoining owners, so noise can become an issue. Keep in mind some complexes can have many renters moving in and out, meaning moving vans and tenants who might not have as great an interest in maintaining the community as owners.
- Parking and storage issues – Many condo buildings don’t have assigned parking, so you might have to travel farther to get to your door. Storage is often limited to a small closet or two, and there could be no outdoor storage space at all.
Are condos good for first-time buyers and investors?
If you ’ re a first-time homebuyer, a condominium can be an specially sympathetic option. The lower price is the obvious perk up, but you might already be accustomed to condo-style life if you ’ ve been renting, besides, so you can continue to have that type of feel while building fairness.
Condos aren ’ metric ton equitable for those with smaller budgets or plans to sell in the cheeseparing future, though ; they can be ideal long-run investment opportunities. A condominium can serve as a rental place, where you find tenants to sign a annual lease, or you can consider renting out a condominium via short-run arrangements like Airbnb or VRBO. While a rental property can help you earn passive income, it comes with quite a few considerations : how easy it is to find a long-run tenant or how a lot you can make on a nightly basis with out-of-town guests, for exercise, along with the monetary value to keep the property in effective shape for tenants and visitors. The dear newsworthiness is, there are tax benefits available for lease properties to help offset some of that expense. No topic what your goal is with buying a condominium, it will likely cost a morsel more in 2022 as family prices overall continue to increase. In certain areas, buying a condominium will feel merely angstrom competitive as trying to find a single-family home. Compare multiple properties and be flexible about your must-haves and nice-to-haves. consult with a real estate professional who specializes in condominium to guide you in your home search and protect your interests during the process .