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Top Tips for Condo Living

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There are so many options available to people when deciding on what kind of place to make your home.  You can purchase your own home, an apartment, townhouse, or a condominium.

Condos are a popular choice for people for a variety of different reasons.  The purchase of a condo can lead to a maintenance-free lifestyle with perks such as a swimming pool, fitness center, and tennis courts.  Along with that, however, comes additional condo fees and you share your property with the owner of the other unit.

It is very important that you do your research on the condo that you are interested in.  Condo communities are very different from one another. They have their own rules and association fees that vary from community to community.

Let’s look at what to consider when buying a condo.

Trust Your Gut

Putting aside the financial aspect of things, the first thing you need to do is feel comfortable with your condo decision.  You will want to check out the condo community first and get a sense of what life would be like in that particular community.

You need to be able to envision yourself living there and potentially growing a family.  You will live in close proximity to your neighbors, so you will have to think about if you are content with not having as much privacy as you may like.

If you are someone who enjoys taking care of the yard, a condo may not be the right place for you.  Most condo communities take care of mowing your lawn and shoveling your driveway during a snowstorm.  But, this may also be the perfect opportunity to take those extra responsibilities off your “things to do” list.

Understand What the Condo has to Offer

When you are making the decision to purchase a condo, you will want to consider what actually comes with living there.  For example, what is the parking situation? Living in close proximity to so many people could pose some space issues. Where should guests park their cars when they come for a visit?

This is a potential major issue that many people seem to overlook when purchasing their condo.  These are all questions that need to be addressed before signing any papers so that you don’t get stuck unexpectantly parking down the road.

Understand the Fees

Everybody loves additional fees, right?  Many times, we are paying money for things we didn’t even know that we were paying for in the first place.  In most condo communities, typically, there is a fee that goes along with living there. This could be a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee.  The bulks of these fees are used to pay for insurance and maintenance.

Throughout your negotiations, you will want to understand their finances as much as possible.  Make sure that bigger projects are covered in their fees so that you don’t get stuck paying for something that the fees don’t cover.  And, you need to make sure that you can financially afford the fees. Most communities will allow you to roll the fees right into your monthly payments, but you may see that you can afford the condo, but not the fees!

And, while you are dishing out the extra money, find out what you are getting in return for those fees.  As mentioned above, you could be paying for some of the fun amenities of a pool, tennis court, etc., as well as lawn care and snow removal.  But, does this include your water and sewer? What about trash pickup? If you are lucky, it may also include heating and electric. Be upfront with them about wanting to completely understand where the money is going.

Rules and Regulations

Along with the association fees, there are community rules that you will need to follow and understand.  This could be a major deal breaker depending on what the rules listed state. Know these rules before you make the purchase.

If you are a pet person, this would be something you would need to look into.  You might find restrictions on the type of pet you can have, or you may find out no pets are allowed at all.

How about dealing with a loud, obnoxious neighbor?  What are the rules for noise? What is the protocol for dealing with a difficult neighbor?  Ideally, you hope you become good friends with the neighbors, but we all know that it’s usually not that easy.

Financing

Trying to obtain financing for a condo can be a lot trickier than people think.  You will want to get pre-approved before looking into any condos. Many lenders will not finance condos, so you will need to do some digging to find something that works for you.  Many condos require a hefty down payment if you are looking into getting a private mortgage. Going in that direction can be a bit costly.

You will want to have an idea of how much you are willing to spend on purchasing your condo and really determine if it is your best option financially.  Living in a condo has many perks, but the challenge to obtain that condo can take some time. But, finding the right financial loan program could help speed up the process.

The Right Fit

When reviewing everything from above, you will know if you are the right fit for this kind of lifestyle.  In addition to understanding the above, understand 7 questions you need to ask before buying a condo.  You will see that a lot of what we discussed in this blog is included there, as well as some additional advice that you can take to the negotiating table with you.

Condos provide a unique living opportunity that you may not get from living in a house.  You will have the chance to be a part of a community and potentially meet new people that could become friends forever.  Just be sure to weigh the pros and cons depending on your situation. And, in the end, you could end up in your dream condo!

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