In looking to buy a condo, you’ll reap the benefits of shared amenities as well as professional maintenance that’ll decrease the hassle of upkeep. When looking to buy a condo, there can be hidden strings attached, so it’s important to understand the condo association, potential fees, and the characteristics of the specific condo. Below, we’ll cover the top things to look for in purchasing your new condo!
Understand the Association
The condo association can come with hidden fees as well as tenant politics that could influence your decision. You’ll want to learn about any and every fee that could come up over the course of the year, as well as how the communal spaces are managed. Sharing exterior spaces isn’t for everyone, so you’ll want to make sure you understand how the garages, mailboxes, hallways, and exercise areas are handled. It’s also a good idea to talk with the neighbors to get their take on how the association is run and ask about issues they’ve encountered in the past.
Ask about upcoming projects
Whereas if you own a home you can begin renovations whenever you’d like, a condo is at the mercy of the association for renovations and upgrades. Make sure to ask about what renovations are in the near future, as well as how those renovations could potentially disrupt your living.
Carefully inspect the common areas
The interior of your particular condo is, of course, very important, but paying attention to how the common areas are managed and cleaned is a great indicator as to how the association is managed. Outdated, dirty, or unsightly common spaces are likely a sign of trouble in paradise.
Look into the Foundation
If the foundation has any cracks, gaps, or other damages, costly repairs could be in the near future. In many cases, the condo association will ask the condo owner to front the bill for that repair. So, in addition to asking about the condition of the foundation and when it was last repaired, asking who bears the cost of repair is necessary. You’ll also want to ask about what the actual structure is made from; insulated structural panels versus ICF systems come with their own hosts of pros and cons.
Appliances & Countertops
Whether a condo comes with appliances or not can depend upon whether you’re renting or buying. This is an important question to ask, particularly for amenities such as a washer and dryer that you may be used to having in your current home. If there are appliances already in the home, ask about their energy efficiency and when they were last installed. When it comes to countertops, laminate white countertops can be less favorable than other options such as marble or granite, so it’s a good idea to ask how recently these have been updated as well.
Is it handicap accessible? This could look like everything from a first-floor suite to a lowes stair handrail to a bench in the shower. Ensuring that the unit has these amenities as well as elevator access can be an important consideration, even if you yourself don’t have mobility concerns.
Buying a condo is an exciting step that’ll give you tons of benefits without the costly burden of homeownership. By asking the proper questions, you’ll ensure that you land the perfect unit!
Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.