Buying a condo may be both exciting and stressful. This is a significant expenditure, but it is also a happy occasion for many. Condominium units are often less expensive than detached homes, which is why first-time homeowners may prefer them. Condos, on the other hand, offer various advantages like proximity to office buildings and restaurants, building amenities, and security.
Because condos house a large number of people in a single structure, owners are subject to more rules and restrictions than owners of other types of dwellings. Buyers must take this into account. Before making a purchase, prospective purchasers should undertake extensive research and ask numerous questions.
Where do my unit’s limits begin and end?
Find out exactly where the limits for your unit are when inspecting the condo for sale. The borders of some condos only include the inner regions. In some, though, the borders are extended to the outer walls or even the pipes hidden beneath the drywall. This information is important because it helps you understand what you will be accountable for maintaining and repairing.
What are my legal rights and responsibilities under the condo laws?
As a prospective buyer, you can (and should) request a copy of the condo’s bylaws and other governing documents, which can help you understand what owners are required to do and what rights they have. If you have any questions regarding the rules, ask a current board member or a real estate attorney.
What are the condo fees used for?
In addition to learning how much your monthly condo costs would be, inquire about what those payments would cover. This will assist you in determining whether you will be required to pay additional fees for specific services or expenses.
What expenses will be incurred prior to or during the closing?
If you applied for a mortgage, you may be required to have an appraisal performed. If applicable, a land transfer tax must be paid at the time of closure. There will almost certainly be legal fees, warranty fees, inspection fees, and other costs. So that you are not taken off guard, an attorney should be able to provide a clear breakdown of costs.
Is there a healthy reserve fund?
A condominium community’s finances will make or ruin it. You want to invest in a building that has the finances to cover big repairs and renewal initiatives if they arise. Otherwise, the organization may be forced to charge a special assessment, which is never a good thing. Find out what is in the reserve fund, what it has been used for in the past, and how frequently the fund is drained.
Inquire whether there are any pending assessments or big repair projects that are now costing more than what is available in the reserve fund. Check to see if the association has gotten research on the reserve fund’s adequacy. Maintaining a condo requires a significant amount of time and money, which is one of the reasons condo fees are required. Higher condo fees are never popular, but they aren’t necessarily bad. They contribute to ensuring that the reserve fund has enough money to handle major repairs. If the condo fees are too high and the reserve fund is still insufficient, you may wish to consider purchasing a unit in another condo complex.
What are the rental policies?
It is fairly uncommon for someone buying a condo unit with the purpose of turning it into an investment property. Most condo complexes are fine with this, but it’s always a good idea to double-check that there are no limits on renting out your unit ahead of time. To avoid complications that may arise from very short-term leases, several locales impose a minimum rental length of 6 months or a whole year. If Airbnb is allowed, you should also inquire whether the building accepts key lock boxes or if it has its own key management system. Knowing this information ahead of time will assist you in determining whether it makes sense to purchase an investment property in a specific building.
Are pets allowed?
Pet owners must ensure that there are no pet-related rules that would preclude them from legally residing in the apartment. Certain breeds, sizes, or species are prohibited in some condos. The board of directors or the property manager may furnish you with this information. You can also learn more about pet policies by reading the condo statement and bylaws.
Where is it legal to smoke?
Smoking regulations, like those for pets, differ from one condo to the next. A few buildings are completely smoke-free, although many will require smokers to do so in their flats or on their balconies. If you do not smoke, it is worthwhile to find out if your neighbors do. This may change your willingness to buy a particular unit.
Is there a parking space?
If there aren’t enough parking spaces in the condo’s parking garage, parking can be a hassle. If you intend to park your car on the premises, inquire about parking availability and pricing. Don’t forget to inquire about visitor parking.
Can home-based business be run from the condo complex?
More of us will continue to work part-time from home, while some entrepreneurs will manage their entire business from home. If this is you, make sure that conducting a home-based business is legal. Certain business methods may be prohibited owing to excessive noise, depending on local and condo restrictions.
These restrictions may also hinder you from using your condo unit for quieter practices like consulting. It’s often because the building doesn’t want so many outsiders coming in and out.
Will there be future developments in the condo community?
Perhaps one condo unit sticks out among the others you’ve seen because of its spectacular view. From your living room, you can see the city skyline or the waterfront. But, before you spend, consider what’s in front of and next to your unit. If there is a large open lot or a few tiny stores, there is always the possibility of a new condo complex being built in the next several years. You can always request that your real estate agent investigate the ownership of neighboring, undeveloped properties to assist you in making a better-educated selection. City planning agencies can also provide information on building permits that have been requested and accepted.
One approach to avoid having your view obstructed is to look for a condo building near other condo buildings that have already been constructed. Another option is to select a location that overlooks an area that cannot be built on, such as a park or a body of water.
Is it possible to speak with a condo owner of the building?
You won’t know what surprises await you once you are buying a condo unit and until you move in. Getting honest input from a possible neighbor, on the other hand, is a terrific method to learn about what it’s truly like to live in the building.
A current owner can tell you how well maintenance concerns are handled, how well the building’s financial condition is, whether other owners frequently have loud parties and whether there is a low or high turnover rate. Obtaining this type of honest information can be really beneficial.
Buying a condo is a significant achievement. Take the time to ask probing questions and gather the data you need to make an informed conclusion.