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Choosing a Condo

Written by Carla Hill on Tuesday, 11 October 2011 7:00 pm
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Not all home buyers have dreams of spacious lawns, rambling rooms, and secluded properties. Many buyers, rather, are on the search for a home that will be easy to care for and will give them plenty of chances to be active and social.

From first-time buyers to down-sizing retirees, condos offer a wealth of opportunity. Many come equipped with clubhouses, gamerooms, gyms, and common outdoor meeting areas. Others go above and beyond with organized mixers, dances, movie nights, and more!

Condos can be a great choice for single homeowners looking to socialize. They can be a wonderful choice for older adults who are fully capable of caring for themselves, but wish to cut back on home maintenance.

Typically, owning a condo means you no longer have to worry about mowing your yard, maintaining landscaping, cleaning or scooping sidewalks, or making large-scale repairs. You pay a small fee each month that pays for your portion of this upkeep. Your condo association should also have a reserve fund that is held for large repairs, such as roof replacement, when the time comes.

The operative word is "should." Not all condo associations are the same. Before you buy, be sure to check into how diligent the association is. Are they up-to-date on reserve studies? How often in the last 10 years have they raised fees? Do they have an lawsuits pending?

Additionally, not all condo communities are equal when it comes to amenities. When you set up a showing, be sure to visit all that will be available.

This next upside has a catch. Condos generally come with an extensive set of rules. This means the condo government says what you can do to your home and what you can't. They can prohibit improvements, pets, home-based businesses, and subletting. The positive side of these rules is that your condo community should stay uniform, updated, and in good order. If you have an issue with a neighbor, you can easily lodge a complaint, for they are liable to the condo rules.

As every up has it downs, there are some drawbacks to owning a condo. One primary negative is the overall lack of storage. Generally, you have no garage, attic, basement, or backyard storage shed to house those Christmas decorations and other treasures.

Another hefty downside is the monthly HOA fees. For the entire time you own the condo, you will be expected to pay fees. While these go towards upkeep and amenities, it is an added financial burden that one must consider on top of purchase prices. Additionally, you are still responsible to pay your monthly fees even if your condo is entirely paid off.

Finally, while owning a condo means you have many comparable homes on hand for pricing comparison, it also means you have lots of competition on hand for units that are just like yours.

Condos can make ideal and happy homes. Be sure to do your due diligence when researching what community is right for you!

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Individual news stories are based upon the opinions of the writer and does not reflect the opinion of Realty Times.
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