Featured News 2012 Buying a Condo? Things you Should Know

Buying a Condo? Things you Should Know

Are you looking into purchasing a condo? For some people, buying one of these small living spaces may be the best idea. This is especially true if you want a small home and do not plan on expanding your family any time soon. One of the first things that you will need to determine when looking at condos is if these small homes are right for you. Usually, condos are located in urban settings. You will share the walls with your neighbors and may have rowdy families above and below you. Are you willing to live close to your neighbors and work through any disputes about noise or privacy?

Whether you are looking at a house, condo, or apartment, location is key. Are you next to train tracks where locomotives will come rushing by at night? Are you in a high-traffic area with lots of honking horns and angry drivers? Are you near the freeway? Is there a close gas station, grocery store, or freeway onramp? How far is the home from your work? Are there bright lights flashing into your windows? All of these details can become a benefit or a serious trial later on in life. If you like noise, then you may do well in an urban area with condos. If you like the peace and quiet of back country roads, then chances are you should skip out on the condo option and save up for a home that is further removed from society.

If you decide a condo is right for you, then you will need to join the Homeowners Association (HOA.) As a condo owner, you will need to comply with all the conditions, covenants, and CC&Rs that are laid out by the HOA. Normally you will need to pay for master insurance, exterior and interior maintenance, landscaping, water, sewer, and garbage costs. The fees can be expensive, but in return you don't have to cover the costs of a mishap yourself. One of the nicest benefits of a condo is that they often come with low maintenance. Very busy individuals or elderly people may enjoy the fact that these condos are so easy to keep up.

HOA fees vary depending on the size and location of your condominium. Usually the costs are between $100 and $700 a month. The fees may be even higher in your complex if the location provides you with additional amenities like a pool, fitness center, or valet. If you fail to obey or pay the HOA, then you could be brought to court for violating important rules. In addition to the HOA insurance that you will need to pay for, your condo complex may require additional insurances. You will want to read your agreement very carefully to determine the costs that you will be paying out. Talk to an insurance agent if you are suspicious about any of the wording in your agreement.

When you are purchasing a condo you may run into problems. Sometimes condos aren't as easy to purchase as a typical home. Lenders have to be very careful when they give out loans, and may require that a certain percentage of the units in the condominium complex have people living in them before they will lend you the money. If you are purchasing a variety of condos as an investment, your lender may have a restriction on how many you can buy. Normally a buyer can't own more than 10 percent of the condos in a building.

Before picking a condo, research the complex board. You can find out if there are any lawsuits underway between buyers and the board, and find out if the board has ever been tempted to file for bankruptcy because they can't pay HOA dues. Also, you may want to make sure that the board has an emergency fund for any sort of needed repairs. By being cautious and careful, you can guarantee that your home or investment will be carefully calculated and you'll be at less risk to running into trouble.

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