If you are in the market for a new condo you may be a first time buyer and are probably excited about the prospect of owning your own home, painting walls whatever color you wish and making the condo reflect your personal taste and style. But it is important to remember there are things to remember to look out for like repair issues and the size of condo fees. While the number of bedrooms, a stylish kitchen and amenities such as a pool or gym are key features to consider, watch for the important details after your home inspection in regard to required repairs. You don’t want your first real estate investment to turn into a costly venture.
The perfect fit
It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of buying and imagining the décor and the perfect layout of a condo, especially if you first view a fully decorated model. But there are other factors to take into account aside from aesthetic appeal. An upstairs unit may offer greater security, while a ground floor unit can provide easier access. An attached garage can be convenient in harsh climates, but if your unit abuts to several garages, consider the noise factor. Try to estimate the noise transmission from unit to unit, and be aware of how close your unit is to noisy common areas such as playgrounds, pools and parking areas.
There is peace of mind in buying new construction because of the warranty-protected deal you will probably receive. This means the builder will probably guarantee the quality and function of the condo’s major systems for a set period of time. But remember to take a critical look at the overall development and the neighborhood you are buying in. Buying in a new development may mean a period of time where you live with construction traffic and noise.
Existing Units and Repair Costs
You are not only buying an individual condo unit, but also a share of all common areas such as pools, clubs, streets, sidewalks, common grounds and the exterior walls and roofs of the units. Inspect these areas and gain an understanding of how well they are constructed. If repairs or early replacement of common areas are required, unit owners may be assessed one-time charges to fund the costs. These costs can be considerable. And do some research on the homeowner’s association (HOA) to discover if it is a party to any lawsuits or legal actions, as either a plaintiff or defendant.
Homeowner’s Association Budget
Ask if you can view the homeowner’s association financial budget and look at the reserves being accumulated for major repairs such as roofs, streets and exterior paint. All of these are expensive and have a predictable lifetime. Repair and replacement funds should be available when needed.
Special Deals and Extras
If you are looking at a “close-out”, where a builder may offer the last unsold units at a considerable discount or with added features to motivate a buyer. Think about why a particular unit remained unsold. It might be poorly located or have other undesirable aspects that other potential buyers avoided. Note this and decide if it is still the right home for you.
Ask about any promotions or incentives offered by the condo developer. Present yourself as a serious buyer, ready to make a purchase and with pre-approved financing and credit. A seller is more likely to negotiate when they believe a sale is imminent.
Finally don’t be afraid to ask for extras to close a sale, especially those condos under construction. Small additions and upgrades may be inexpensive for the builder to add, but can provide you with big savings versus adding them in the future. Some common examples are additional lighting, upgraded appliances or added features such as sound systems.
Condos can be the answer to for the homebuyer who does not want a lot of landscaping and outdoor upkeep work in their future. They offer many conveniences, but shop carefully and with a critical eye. Remember that you are not just buying a single unit, but also a share in the entire development.