If you're just setting out to buy a condo, you are likely looking forward to the lower costs and freedom from mowing the lawn and other maintenance tasks. A condo can be a smart purchase, but if this is the first such property you've bought, you need to use these tips to ensure that you're happy once you move in.
Secure Financing Right Away
One of the first things you've got to do to make this a simpler process is to get your mortgage loan pre-approved now instead of waiting until you see a condo you like. Condominium loans can sometimes be trickier to secure than a loan for a traditional single family house. Not only that, but at times, more downpayment is required. Some people save up more than the standard downpayment for a condo or ultimately choose to pay for a condo outright after years of saving. Start to talk with loan officers at various institutions to see what kind of financing makes the most sense for you.
Know About Fees
Many condos are located in developments where there is a governing Homeowner's Association, or HOA. The HOA is often responsible for the things that you'd go to a landlord for, such as maintenance, disputes and other issues. All condo owners in a development typically pay HOA fees in addition to their monthly mortgage, and are still responsible for those fees after the mortgage has been paid off. At times, the HOA fees may rise slightly if there is something happening that affects the entire condo development, such as a playground or new road.
Know About Rules
The HOA also dictates various rules about life in a development. You may own your own condo unit, but a particular HOA may put rules in place about how many visitors you can have at any given time, how many parking spaces you have and how late you can blast music. There may be guidelines about the types of windows you can use on your unit and other cosmetic rules. These rules are generally put in place to encourage harmony among all the condo owners in the area, so ensure that you read their bylines and any other policies before you purchase your own unit. That way, you'll know whether you'll be comfortable in a particular space.
Working through this information, you'll be happier with the condo you eventually choose. Talk through all these issues with your real estate agent to see if you can learn even more.