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Should You Buy a Condo?

It’s been challenging for buyers in the housing market over the last couple of years. And even though demand for homes has eased and more homes are now available, the housing supply continues to remain low. If you’ve been having trouble finding a home, then it might be time to expand your search to include condos. Condos can be a great alternative to traditional single-family homes, but there can be disadvantages as well depending on your needs. Here’s what you should take into consideration if you’re thinking about buying a condo.

You’ll only own your unit

Unlike a single-family home where you own the home itself and the property surrounding it, when you buy a condo you only own your unit. The unit is usually part of a larger building or a development. The building and the land around it will belong to another party, usually the Homeowners Association (HOA). For some homebuyers, this can be an attractive feature of condo life. It means you’re only responsible for the maintenance and repairs of your unit. The building itself and the land surrounding it will be maintained by someone else hired by the HOA.

Condos may be more affordable

Condos can be a more affordable option than a sing-family home. This can be a great way for first-time buyers to finally make their dreams of homeownership a reality. And there are often additional amenities available to you that you may not have in a single-family home such as a pool or a gym. However, you need to also consider the monthly costs you’ll incur as a condo owner that you wouldn’t have if you purchased a single-family home. This includes HOA fees and building insurance fees. You’ll want to factor those costs in when determining whether a condo is right – or more affordable – for you.

Be aware of possible assessments

If your condo’s HOA is run well, then it has a reserve of money saved up to pay for expensive repairs, such as the replacement of the roof or HVAC system. But if the HOA is poorly managed and does not have sufficient cash for these repairs, then all condo owners may suddenly get a huge and unexpected bill in the mail. When you purchase a condo, you will be given the opportunity to look at the HOA’s books. This will let you know of any large assessments that may be coming down the line and whether or not the HOA is in a good position to handle them.

You’ll have to abide by the HOA rules

When you purchase a condo, you’ll be given a copy of your HOA’s CC&Rs, or Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. This tells you explicitly what belongs to the HOA and what belongs to you. This makes it clear who would be responsible for repairs and maintenance of those items. It will also tell you the rules of the HOA. This can include restrictions for parking, laundry, noise, pets, or improvements you want to make to your unit. If you’re seriously considering buying a condo, then make sure you’re comfortable with these rules.

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