Homebuyer's Advice - Buying a Condominium
Single-family homes and condominiums offer vastly different lifestyles, so it’s helpful if you know what’s in store when you buy a home with shared walls.
Condos are more common near urban centers where populations are dense. If you prefer being around people, you’ll love the access that urban living offers.
You’ll be close to work centers and public transportation and live in a walkable area that offers coffee shops and restaurants, shopping and much more. But density has its downside – the streets are busy and you may hear your neighbors playing music.
Lenders have certain requirements for condos that don’t apply to single-family homes. For example, FHA-approved lenders insist that 80% of the condo owners are owner-occupants. You’ll have to obtain the financial records of the homeowners’ association (HOA) to determine how many owners are delinquent in dues, how many units are rented out, and whether the HOA has enough in “reserves” or savings to perform necessary maintenance such as replacing a roof for the entire building.
Most condos offer shared amenities like dog parks, swimming pools, workout rooms and so on, giving you access to more luxuries than you’d otherwise have. But the key word is “share.” To keep things nice, there will be rules to follow, which are in place to protect residents and their investment.
You own the airspace in your unit while everything else is owned collectively, so expect to pay monthly dues proportionate to your building’s condition and its amenities.