Many people believe owning a condo is easier than owning a single family home. However, there are issues to consider when purchasing a condo. Owning a condo means owning a percentage interest in the common areas such as the roofs, lobby, grounds and building exterior, all of which require need to be maintained. To make the best decision, understand the advantages and disadvantages of buying a condo.
Advantages of Condo Living
• Condos tend to be more affordable with lower prices, especially for first-time buyers and single individuals who would prefer a cozier place that perfectly fits their budget.
• Condos are often conveniently located near office buildings, shopping and entertainment.
• Amenities may include 24-hour concierge, courtesy patrol, activities director, pool, tennis courts and fitness facilities plus the convenience of no yard work.
• Exterior maintenance is the responsibility of the condominium association.
• A size, typically smaller than a single-family home, means less upkeep.
• Pride of ownership from being an owner rather than a renter.
Disadvantages of Condo Living
• Owners are responsible for payment of monthly condominium association fees and assessments.
• Condo owners may pay for amenities, such as a swimming pool, fitness center or clubhouse, that they may not use.
• Monthly fees and special assessments may increase unexpectedly because of sudden and unanticipated maintenance needs. Poor-quality maintenance or administration may detrimentally affect enjoyment and resale values.
• Poor soundproofing. Multi-family living is not always desirable for some people because of the noise level that may be generated by living with shared walls, ceilings and floors.
• Parking is normally limited and often is in an area not attached to or near the unit.
• No yard in which to putter or garden.
• Some condo buildings may not have elevators, leaving owners to climb and descend stairs.
• Condos are governed by a set of rules called the Condominium Declaration and Rules and Regulations. These may include restrictions on noise levels, outdoor barbeques, pet ownership, renovations and even the curtains/blinds you can put in your windows.
• There may be less privacy than with a detached single-family home.
• Owners vs. Tenants – Because many condominiums are purchased as investments, there could be a high percentage of renters in the building. The downside of living in an association with a high number of rental units is that renters may not take care of a property the same way an owner occupant would. In addition, some lenders will not loan money to a buyer if more than 25 percent of the units in a complex are rented.
Owning a condominium is quite different from owning a single-family home and comes with its own issues. Make sure the condominium lifestyle is right for you.
|Reprinted with permission of Association Times|