3 Questions To Ask Before You Buy Your First Condo

Posted on: 30 January 2017

Even if you're an experienced home buyer, buying a condo is a different kind of purchase. There are different rules for everything from the loan process to the living situation. If you're considering the condominium life, then there are some things that you need to know before you decide to go ahead and make a purchase. Take a look at the most important questions that you should ask before you go ahead and buy your condo.

Can You Get a Loan?

The first thing that you need to find out is whether or not you can afford a condo. Many loan products designed for homebuyers don't include condominium purchases. That doesn't mean that you won't be able to find a lender, but it does mean that the process will be a little different. For example, in order to get approved for a loan, you may need to make a larger down payment than you would have to make to get a loan for a single-family home.

If you're planning on using an FHA loan to buy your condo, you should know that there are certain restrictions that apply to condominium loans. For example, in order to qualify for FHA assistance to buy a condominium that was converted from an apartment, the conversion must have happened more than a year before you applied for the FHA assistance, or you may need to have been a tenant of the rental apartments.

What Are the Ongoing Costs?

When you move into a condominium, you not only have to pay your mortgage and utilities, you usually also have to pay fees to the community association. These fees can cover a number of different things. They usually pay for insurance and maintenance fees for the building, for starters. These fees also pay for things like landscaping and snow removal, as well as for community amenities like swimming pools or fitness centers. It's important to know how much the fees are and what you're getting in exchange for paying them.

You also want to know about special assessment fees. These are fees levied outside of the normal community association fees, usually to cover a large project. For example, if the parking lot needed to be replaced, and the association didn't have enough money left over from the ordinary fees to pay for it, then the remaining cost would be divided among the condo owners. Ask for a history of special assessment fees over the last several years so that you can get an idea of how often you'll be asked to pay extra for repairs or upgrades.

What Are the Rules?

If you're used to living in a single-family home, some aspects of living in a condo might take some getting used to. You'll be living in very close proximity to your neighbors, and because of this, condominium communities generally have strict rules to make sure that everyone can enjoy their space. Pets may be prohibited or restricted, there may be noise ordinances that you have to abide be, and you may even be limited in how many guests you can invite over and how long they can stay.

It's important to take a good look at the rules of the community and decide whether you can live with them. Condominium living isn't for everyone – if you can't stand living without pets or you need to practice the drums in the middle of the night, it may not be for you. It's important to make that decision before you decide to buy.

Working with a real estate agent who is experienced in condo sales can help ensure that you know which questions to ask and get all the answers you need. With a good agent, you'll find a home you love and the financing to buy it.


Saving Money On Real Estate

After I got promoted at work, I realized that there were a few things I wanted to do with all of the extra money. One of the biggest goals that I had was investing in local real estate, because I wanted to experience what it would be like to own multiple properties. It was really overwhelming at first to put in the offers, but after awhile I got really good at saving money on real estate and seeing the rewards. This blog is all about knowing which properties to invest in and focusing more carefully on the art of getting a great deal.