Buying a condominium unit instead of a single-family home can offer you a lot of advantages. You do not need to worry about exterior maintenance and upkeep, and you often have access to amenities, such as a fitness center or pool.
Whatever your reasons for buying a condo, the process is different from buying a single-family home. You should understand these differences before you go too far down the path toward condo ownership. Money Crashers describes some of the most important things to find out before you make an offer on a unit.
1. Community rules
When you buy a condo, you must abide by the rules of the community. You should go over these carefully once you become serious about a particular unit. See if there are any rules that would prevent you from living the life you want to live. For example, if you have a dog or cat, you want to make sure that the community allows pets.
2. Extra fees
Every homeowner’s association charges extra monthly dues to community members to handle expenses such as upkeep and maintenance. Find out how much the fees are and where they go. Depending on the age of the complex, 10% to 50% of the dues should go to the Repair Fund.
3. Management team
Part of your monthly dues may go to pay the salary of a full-time property manager. You should meet this person beforehand for an interview and talk to current homeowners about their satisfaction level with the management.
Not all condominiums hire property management. Rather, the homeowners association also handles this aspect in some communities. There are pros and cons to an arrangement like this, but it is something you should find out about before deciding to buy.