Are you ready to own your own home but aren't convinced that a single-family home is right for you? If so, then you may want to consider buying a condo. A condominium can give you many of the benefits of traditional homeownership but with additional amenities and less maintenance. Before you make an offer on a condo, however, there are some common mistakes you'll want to be aware of so you can avoid them yourself!
Overlooking Owner/Renter Percentages
When looking at a condo, don't hesitate to ask about owner-to-renter ratios and percentages. In some condominium buildings, you might have a large percentage of units being occupied by tenants who are actually renting from a real estate investor. You may want to avoid these kinds of properties, as this can affect your ability to secure financing.
Not Thinking About the Future
In general, condos are smaller in square footage than single-family homes. They also tend to range anywhere from one to two bedrooms, which may or may not be large enough for your future needs (especially if you're thinking about starting a family). When buying a condo, be sure to look to the future to ensure that you'll have enough space to grow, particularly if you plan on staying in your condo for more than a few years.
Failing to Budget for HOA Fees
Condominiums are typically part of a homeowners' association (or similar governing board). These associations charge fees to residents in exchange for services like landscaping and general upkeep. Make sure to find out how much your HOA fees will be, as they can vary greatly. You'll want to make sure you can comfortably afford these fees. You may also want to find out whether you'll be expected to pay them monthly, quarterly, or annually.
Not Asking for a Copy of the HOA's By-Laws
Speaking of HOAs, be sure to ask for a copy of a condo's HOA by-laws and regulations before you make an offer. You'll want to make sure that there are no "deal-breakers" in the by-laws, such as restrictions on the breed of pet that you already have. Take some time to review these by-laws with your real estate agent before moving forward.
Overlooking Parking Restrictions
Parking can be limited in condominium buildings, so be sure to ask whether you'll have a dedicated parking space and what parking is available for visitors. If you'll need more than one parking space, ask how much it will cost to purchase an additional permit so you can be prepared ahead of time.