Buying a Condo

Many buy-and-hold investors choose to purchase a condo for many reasons, but mainly because they are usually cheap enough to buy with cash or own outright within a few short years. Another advantage of owning a condo is yard work and exterior maintenance is handled by the condo association. Make sure you pick a competent real estate agent who can guide you over the many pitfalls that can come with purchasing condo.

Let’s start with the basics: A condominium, or condo, is a unit that privately owned, while common areas are collectively owned by all condo owners in a complex. In other words, a condo owner usually owns their individual units, but not the building or land it is on.

  • What are the monthly condo fees? Even if you pay cash for a condo, you will still be charged a monthly fee that covers trash removal, exterior maintenance, and sometimes certain utilities. There is a wide range of how much this fee could be and a good real estate agent supplies the buyer with this information, as it can greatly impact the decision to purchase.
  • Are there any outstanding condo fees or liens on the property? If there liens on the property, you may have to pay them before being able to purchase. A good real estate agent will order a preliminary title search in order to uncover this information for their buyer agent.
  • Purchase and review the condo documents. There is usually a limited time period the buyer has after entering into a ratified contract to purchase and read the condo documents (which are the condominium association bylaws). If the buyer dislikes any detail of how the community is setup, the buyer can exit the contract without penalty.
  • Consider the building, the condo community, and the neighborhood. These are things that you have little control over, but affect your living condition and the value of the condo greatly. Let these factors be as big of deciding factors as the condo unit itself.

Sellers: Do You Need a Realtor?

Many individuals calculate how much they will have to pay a real estate agent in commission to sell their home and decide to sell their home themselves, becoming part of a category dubbed FSBOs (For Sale By Owner). If you are thinking about selling your home and are considering marketing and processing the transaction yourself, pump the brakes and read this post before you decide.

Finding a buyer of your proerty is just one task for a listing agent, but it isn’t nearly as easy as it seems. A listing agent assist a seller with staging a home for photographs and open houses in order to draw attention to features of the home that buyers will find most attractive. After a listing agent has attracted a buyer to make an offer by placing the listing on the MRIS, placing a yard sign on the property, and hosting an open house on the premises, the listing agent works with the buyer’s agent to make sure the buyers have all disclosures, the home inspector has access to the property, and the title work is done. The listing agent puts a buffer between the seller and the buyer, helping you to evaluate the buyer’s proposal with compromising your market postion.

Many questions and issues can arise from contract to closing, from required repairs to obtain financing to a cloud on the title. Your listing agent has the knowledge, experience, and resources to guide you through the closing process and make sure everything flows smoothly.

Buyers: Do You Really Need a Real Estate Agent?

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“Do I need a real estate agent? I found the property I want to buy online, myself.” If I had a dollar for the number of times I’ve heard this said, I probably would be on vacation in the Bahamas instead of writing this post from my home in Washington, DC. Only licensed real estate agents have access to the multiple listing system, a real-time database of properties listed for sale. Hence, online search engines of properties for sale may not include every listing or may include listings that are no longer available.

Finding the home of your dreams is just the beginning stage of my job. Actually, the beginning, or warm-up, is getting my clients pre-approved with one of my mortgage partners who can best meet their needs. Once my buyer client is clear on how much buying power they have, we go “house hunting.” Fast forward, my client finds the property they want to find purchase and I help them submit an offer. Having a buyer’s agent comes in handy if you are unfamiliar with drafting contracts and the legal statutes surrounding them. Fast forward past negotiation (another task for your agent) and the buyer’s agent helps to coordinate appointments with appraisers and home inspectors. A good buyer’s agent will aid you in selecting a title company and will keep their ear to the ground for any issues that surface concerning chain of title or any liens.

There are numerous procedures, research steps, and processes involved in a real estate traction. A real estate agent has the skill, knowledge, experience, and network to guide you through to closing smoothly.

 

PG’s New Downtown Hub

Lately, there have been discussions of PG County getting a “downtown”. Surprisingly, the usual suspects, Bowie and Laurel, are not in the running due to their lack of metro stations. PG Plaza Mall’s already existing metro station, restaurants, shops, and movie theater make it the perfect location. Not to mention the increase in property value for residents of Hyattsville, in the surrounding areas. I think with a little sprucing up, PG’s downtown hub will be able to compete to destinations in DC any weekend. We will just have to wait and see.

Fort Washington Park in Fort Washington, MD

ft wash3I spent some time in Fort Washington on Saturday morning while showing a buyer a townhouse-style condo in a cozy development. The community, Founder’s Woods, had several outdoor common areas with park tables and benches. There was also a jungle gym and swing set. I would definitely recommend this community to new families or investors looking for property in a quiet condo community in prestigious Fort Washington, MD. Growing up in Prince George’s County, I was fortunate to visit Fort Washington Park on various school field trips. The fort was built over 200 years ago on the Potomac River to defend Washington. The park is perfect if you enjoy jogging or walking and would like to explore 341 acres. Now is an excellent time to visit if you have never been!

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Allen’s Pond in Bowie, MD

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Allen Pond, a 10-acre stocked pond, is actually part of a major park in Bowie, Allen Pond Park. You can find an ice skating rink, an amphitheater, ball fields, horseshoe pits, and plenty of jungle gyms. The park allows individuals over the age of 16 to fish from the shoe of Allen Pond. Families could allow choose to rent a paddle boat or enjoy walking or biking one of the parks trails. Thinking of hosting a picnic or cookout? Allen Pond offers picnic facilities and grills for rent. Allen Pond is just one more reason why I love the city of Bowie, the family-oriented atmosphere. I spent my formative years in Bowie, Maryland and I can atest that it is a great place to raise a family!

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