The Condo Buying Checklist – Check the checklist
Whether you are a first-time buyer in the real estate market, or a homeowner interested in scaling down after retirement, shopping for a condo is a good option if you want a lower-cost place to live and the added security of a gated community. When you look at condominiums, you’ll know right away no two are the same – some will have nicer amenities than others, or more. All communities, however, will want to include you in the neighborhood, so it’s important to have a handy checklist to take with you as your search for the right home.
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As you browse condos, either in gated complexes or more spacious environs, keep the following in mind and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
1) Fees. What fees are associated with the condo, and what amenities or services does the money cover? You may find the dues go to paying for security personnel, pool maintenance, upkeep of the clubhouse, trash collection, TV/Internet, and other things.
How many parking spaces are allotted to you? Where will guests park, and are stickers or passes required? Are there security cameras on the lot, and are there options for covered and garage spaces?
3) Ownership. Has anyone else, if the complex is not new, owned the condo before you? If so, if you should decide to sell one day will you have to seek approval/assistance from the community? If you are buying a previously owned unit, take care to note any wear in the rooms, especially if the previous tenant was a smoker.
4) Covenants. Many condo communities have covenants that outline what is permitted and what isn’t as far as landscaping, decor, entertainment, and other issues that may affect the security and safety of other homeowners. If you work from home, for example, you should definitely pay attention to the do’s and don’ts before you commit to buy.
5) Neighbors. In complexes in particular, you’re going to be very close to your neighbors. You’re going to share common walls most likely, so before you sign anything you want to know if anybody likes to blast his stereo at two in the morning or practice nude yoga on his balcony! An agent or owner eager to sell may not always be forthcoming about problems with other tenants, but do ask anyway. You may find you get an honest opinion.
6) Pets. Pet owners should definitely ask about restrictions and extra fees involved with having a canine or feline companion come live you.
The more you know about your potential new home, the better prepared you’ll be when it comes time to place your bid on the condo you want.