In many respects, buying a condo is similar to buying a single-family home. However, there are a few considerations that are unique. In light of that, I asked real estate experts to share there best advice for someone who’s looking to buy a condo. Here’s what they had to say:
Research the building to make sure it fits your needs
When looking to buy a condo, do your research first. Explore target areas and narrow down what suits your lifestyle best. What is the most important to you? Accessibility to work and transportation, school districts, amenities, etc. Do you prefer a garage or parking space? Do you want a pet?
Buying a condo is different than buying a single-family home. You may be subject to different rules and regulations. You’ll want to do your research into the building to make sure it suits your needs before you make an offer on a unit.
Rose Sklar of The Sklar Team with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate in Weston, FL
Keep an eye on the fees
“Don’t just consider the price but also consider the association fees. Keep in mind that, most likely, the association fees will go up eventually. Beyond that, be sure to look for hidden living fees, as well. In some high-rise condos, there are additional monthly charges – like an “elevator fee” – that are not always transparent.”
Susan Bozinovic. an agent and a Certified Relocation Specialist with Century 21 Town and Country in Troy, MI
Ask about special assessments
“A condo‘s association may impose additional monthly fees called ‘special assessments’ in order to fund property improvements like repaving the road, repairing the roof or resurfacing the pool. Ask about any existing or upcoming special assessments when you’re considering buying a unit and keep them in mind when budgeting.”
Donovan Reynolds with Intown Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Atlanta, GA
Check into the condo association’s financials
“Once a condo is selected, it is necessary to review the financial health of the condo association, including the current reserves, operating budget, and, if possible, a reserve study to understand the cost to maintain the building going forward. It is also advisable to read at least 12 most recent months of association minutes, to learn of pending or planned special assessments, and ongoing and potential lawsuits.”
Linda Shaughnessy, an agent with Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty in Chicago, IL.
Don’t forget to get condo insurance
“A common mistake I see among clients is the assumption that they do not need home insurance if they’re buying a condo. Even though most condos provide standard fire insurance coverage, they do not cover the contents and liability of the homeowner. Without this coverage, the condo owner could be responsible for covering costs for damages to other units incurred by their unit.”
Angat Saini, Principal Real Estate Lawyer and Founder at Accord Law in Toronto, ON.