What to Know Before You Buy a Condo

First time homebuyers or homeowners that want to downsize may decide that buying a condo is the right fit for them. Since a condominium is a mix of an apartment and a house, condo living may be the perfect choice for those looking to buy their first home or wanting to downsize! You can get the best of both worlds with a condo.

Buying a condo means that you own your home, but share the land or property with others. Sometimes you will have a shared complex and other times the units are free standing. Condos are a good stepping stone from the familiarity of renting an apartment to taking on some of the responsibilities of owning a home.

Of course, buying a condo like anything else will have its fair share of benefits and drawbacks. There are a lot of things to consider when deciding whether or not you should buy a condo. We are going to cover the pros and cons of owning a condo to see if condominium living is right for you!

Cons of Buying a Condominium

I always like to end on a positive note, so let’s start with some of the cons of owning a condo first. Keep in mind that if any of these things stand out as pros to you, then buying a condo is probably your best bet!

Every condominium complex is different, but most condos share walls with other condos, just like apartments do. Which means you will have close neighbors and just like with buying a home or renting an apartment, you don’t get to choose who those neighbors are.

You may not have a lot of privacy depending on which type of condo complex you choose to live in. Deciding on whether or not this is a make or break factor is a big decision in whether or not buying a condo is right for you. If you are leaving an apartment complex because you want more privacy, then make sure you choose a condominium complex that is free standing.

When buying a condo, you also have no control over the outside of your condo or landscape, so curb appeal is out of your hands! Management handles all of the outdoor work, so this will be covered in your home association fees (HOA) or condo association fees. However, these fees do not cover any maintenance or repairs inside your condo. This will be the owners responsibility, including all of the appliances.

Condominium fees also include shared fees like water and utilities. If by any chance anyone goes over the budgeted amount, then everyone will need to pitch in to cover the costs. So make sure you know what the condo association fees are on average and everything they cover.

Also try to find out if the condo association fees have stayed steady in the past few years or if they tend to increase every year. The more you know, the less surprises there will be. Find out any rules for the community. Some condominium complexes have rules about parking, outdoor fixtures, and pets. Make sure you know everything, including any hidden costs, before you make a decision.

Since condos are typically smaller than houses, you can also have an issue with storage. There is no garage, so just like living in an apartment, you only have a set amount of space. However, this can end up being a good thing since you won’t keep as many items that you don’t need!

Also like an apartment, you will have to take your garbage out to the dumpster. This could be right across from you or far, far away. Find out. Lastly, appreciation can sometimes be an issue when buying a condominium. Condo purchases don’t tend to be as big as an investment as buying a house. Just remember though, there is always a buyer for every home!

Pros of Buying a Condominium

There are a lot of pros to buying a condo. The first one is that it’s cheaper than buying a house! So you can enjoy some of the homeownership perks without paying for it! There’s no yard to mow, so you won’t have to worry about taking care of this yourself. No yard work for you!

Condo living is also great for those who want a community around them. Living in a condo means you have security around you, and if you travel a lot then you won’t have to worry about your home being left alone or about any lawn needs.

Most condominium complexes offer amenities such as a gym or pool. And some condo complexes are even gated so you have extra security. There are usually a lot of activities or social events planned as well so that everyone in the condominium community can interact. This is ideal for people who love engaging with their neighbors.

Another perk is that any roof damage will be covered in your condo association fees that are shared. So you won’t be paying for an entire roof out of your pocket. You also won’t have to clean your gutters!

Condos are also smaller than most houses, so there isn’t as much to clean inside. Your chore list won’t be as long compared to owning your own home, which is a plus for people who are busy or travel a lot.

Plus you have the freedom to change the inside of your condo just like you could in a house. You can renovate your condo, paint the walls, add new floors, whatever you want. So you have more freedom when you buy a condo than you do when renting an apartment.

Most condominium complexes are usually close to the city so transportation is easier. You’ll have a closer drive into the city and all that city life offers: restaurants, shopping, and shows, without paying to live downtown!

Before You Buy

Have your real estate agent help you understand what purchasing a condo can involve. They have experience in this market and can tell you things you need to consider or look into. You will also need to find the right insurance for a condo.

Some other things that we covered before are also important to consider before making a decision. Find out where the dumpster and mail area are in relation to the condominium you want to buy.

Get a list of all the rules and regulations so you know everything including what your condo association fees cover and what they don’t so you know what you’re responsible for. This way you can roughly calculate how much you’ll be paying each month.

When buying any property, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Gather as much information as you can so you can make a calculated decision. Whatever you decide, you will be making a decision for your future home, and that’s a big decision that you want to spend some time thinking about.

Understand that you will still need a home inspection before you buy your condo. Read this post to find out why.

What do You Think?

So is a condo for you? Like anything, some people love condo living and some people hate it. Weigh the pros and cons and decide if buying a condo is a good fit for you. Talk to your family and friends, and discuss your options with your realtor.

As you go through the homebuying process, make sure you consider all of your options. Be sure to check out this post on what homebuyers need to know to help you with you during the buying process. If you want to downsize, but need more to think about, read our post on how to downsize a home here.