Whether you’re just starting out, looking to downsize, or searching for the perfect vacation home, condos have a lot of potential. Searching for the ideal condominium is slightly different than searching for a single-family home. Make sure you are well-prepared for the task. There are a few tips that can help you make the right choice.
Talk With an Agent
A real estate agent can be your number one resource when you’re looking to make a move. Before falling in love with an available listing on SRN Real Estate Pros, find an agent you can trust. Your Realtor will be able to help you zone in on what you’re looking for, walk you through the process, offer tips and tricks, find the best condo complexes, and help you tour potential properties. The majority of agents earn their commission from the seller, so there’s no reason not to have one on your side.
Read the Covenants
Living in condos usually means you are subject to covenants, conditions, and restrictions. There is a lot of variation from community to community, so it’s vital to read through carefully. If you’re not 100% in agreement with the guidelines, you may be better off living elsewhere. Common rules that are dealbreakers include pet restrictions, leasing bans, and parking limitations. Be sure to think about the future. Will your ability to comply with the covenants change? You will only have a certain amount of time after writing your offer to agree to the covenants, so don’t dawdle with your reading.
Meet a Resident
The best way to understand a community is to speak with a resident. You will be in close quarters with your neighbors, so it’s important to get along. Residents will also be able to give you all the details about the neighborhood. Ask questions about noise levels, kids in the area, safety, nearby entertainment, condo upkeep, and compliance to covenants.
Spend Time There
If you find a condo you like, spend some time in the community before you make your decision. Instead of just viewing the unit that’s for sale, walk through the entire community. The feel of a complex can vary a lot depending on what time of day you visit. Consider driving through in the morning, afternoon, and at night. You can truly understand noise levels and residents’ comings and goings.
Discuss the HOA
Homeowner’s association fees are one of the biggest downfalls of owning a condo. On rare occasions, you may find a unit without a monthly fee. However, some communities charge a few hundred dollars or more in HOA fees. Sometimes HOA costs can almost double your monthly housing budget. Make sure you are comfortable footing the bill when it adds nothing to your equity. Extremely high monthly dues can also make resale difficult.
Look at Amenities
Take a good look at the amenities that a community offers. This is where the bulk of your homeowner’s association payments are going. Do they look as nice in person as they do in photographs? Make sure the amenities are well-kept and that you will use them. If you don’t plan on using amenities like pools, spas, gyms, and dog parks, you can save money by selecting a community that doesn’t have them.
You can have your Realtor research the amount of turnover in the community. Not only does high turnover mean that you may have to deal with more moving trucks, but it can also be a sign that people don’t enjoy living there.
Taking your time and doing your research can help you find a great condo. You can be happy living there for years to come.