Over the past year, many buyers have been picking up great deals on condos as the housing market has cooled and many great buying opportunities have become available. While this is of course a great time to find a bargain, some buyers find themselves jumping in to a contract in a hurry while forgetting to review some important aspects that should be understood before purchasing a condo.
With almost every condo purchase come association fees in one form or another. Be sure that you find out exactly how much this is going to cost you on a monthly basis, then factor that in to your mortgage payment to determine if you are, in fact, able to comfortably afford the condo. In exchange for paying these fees, be sure you understand what you will be getting in return. What amenities are included with your condo? If parking space is limited, how many parking spots are reserved for your use? Will you have to maintain the landscaping around your home or is this handled by the association? These are valid questions you should be sure to ask before purchasing any condo.
If the need should arise for you to lease out your condo to a tenant, are there any restrictions in doing so? If you want to leave this as a contingency plan for the future, be sure there will be no trouble if you ever decide to allow another tenant to occupy your condo. Similarly, find out what, if any, restrictions are in place should you want to make renovations to your home. What is the extent of construction you are allowed to perform on the condo? Are there any drapery or color requirements?
If you are a pet owner, find out if your building or complex allows your type of pet, and if it falls within any weight or size restrictions that may be in place. Be sure there are suitable and convenient provisions for you to take your pet outside when you like.
Be sure you understand what utilities you will have to pay. Is water and/or sewer included with your association fees, or will you have to pay those utilities yourself? Some buildings may provide WI-FI Internet access throughout the premises. Is this something included with your condo, or will you have to purchase your own Internet access?
It is imperative that you understand the underlying condition of not only your particular unit, but also the building in which your condo is located. How old is the building? What are the most recent renovations done to the building or unit? Why were they done- were they voluntary or was it due to some sort of accident, flooding or other unforeseen occurrence?
One of the most important aspects to consider before purchasing a condo is if there are any preexisting liens on the property; whether it is through a bank, county or contractor. If a lien exists on the condo, this may prevent the owner from legally selling the property, causing legal problems for you when you try to close on the unit.
There are many great deals to take advantage of due to the large amount of condos for sale and the relatively small amount of buyers purchasing these homes. Condo auctions and foreclosure sales are becoming more and more popular and these will continue to provide buyers with deals that have not been seen in years. It is simply to the buyer’s advantage to do their homework on a property before signing any definitive contracts. Doing your homework beforehand allows you to avoid making a potentially poor decision when caught up in the "heat of the moment" during the actual sale.
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