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.