Not every homebuyer is looking for a single-family house. In fact, many buyers are more interested in buying a condo, since these are less expensive and do not require as much maintenance. Although the process of buying a home and a condo are the same, there are certain things you should keep in mind when you are buying a condo that you don’t need to consider when you buy a home. Here are some tips for you to follow:
Whether you’re buying a house or a condo, it’s important to get pre-approved for a mortgage. But, it becomes much trickier when you have your heart set on a condo, since many lenders will not approve loans to purchase these residences. That’s why it’s so important to start early—before you begin searching for a condo—so you can make sure you have the financing you need to go through with the sale.
Get to know the HOA.
Perhaps the biggest difference between buying a condo and buying a home is the homeowners’ association (HOA). Condos typically have monthly or quarterly HOA fees that each owner is required to pay, but this is not as common when you are buying a home. Besides finding out exactly how much you will have to pay, you should also figure out what this money is used for in the community. You want to make sure you are moving into a community that is using your money appropriately to maintain amenities and keep the area clean and beautiful.
Buyers who are interested in a condo should also ask for a copy of the HOA rules. These rules will govern what you are and are not allowed to do within the community, so you must be comfortable with them before you buy. If you were looking forward to nighttime swims in the community pool but the HOA doesn’t allow you to do this, do you still want the property? Review the HOA rules thoroughly with your real estate agent before you make a decision.
Condo communities are also allowed to charge their residents special assessment fees if the need arises. These are large fees separate from the monthly HOA payments that are required if the community requires a large repair or improvement project. For example, if the roof was badly damaged during a hurricane, but the HOA does not have enough money to pay for the repairs, the community could issue a special assessment fee to all residents. Talk to your real estate agent to determine whether there are any planned special assessment fees coming up so you can take this into consideration before you make a decision.
Find out who maintains the condos.
Condo communities typically have a management company that handles the day-to-day operations, and then a maintenance company that is called for any repairs. Before you buy, find out who is responsible for managing and maintaining the property so you can research each company online to see if they have any negative reviews.
Want more real estate advice? Get the honest answers that you deserve. Contact our team of real estate experts at Coast 2 Coast Realty who have years of experience helping people buy and sell homes in the Tampa area.