Is Condo Living Right for You? Here’s What You Should Know
If you’re thinking about buying a home, then chances are you’ve thought about buying a condo (if you haven’t thought about buying a condo, then now is the time to consider it). There are a lot of benefits that come alongside owning a condo, although many people don’t spend as much time as they should when considering condos.
For many people, it’s hard to shake the idea of a standalone house, or a white picket fence, or a suburban neighborhood. But, when it comes to property ownership, condos are an excellent choice for a wide variety of family sizes and lifestyles. It comes down to making sure that you fully consider all of your options.
Take an honest look at the pros and cons of buying a traditional home before you just decide that’s what you want. Also, take an honest look at the pros and cons of renting an apartment or a home before you decide you’re ready to make the leap into buying.
And don’t forget to add condos into your careful consideration. When you’re thinking about purchasing a new place, condos can be a great option. But there are some things to look into when deciding if condo living could be the right fit for you.
Condos come with a community
When you buy a condo, you step into a pre-existing community of other condo owners. Depending on the set up of the community, these other owners may be in the same building as you, or you may simply be in close quarters within the same compound. Either way, you will have much more interaction with your condo community than you would have had with your neighbors in a traditional neighborhood of standalone homes.
Because of this, it’s extremely important to make sure that you get along well with the other members of the condo community. Different condo communities have different atmospheres, so you should make sure that your lifestyle aligns well with the lifestyle desired by the majority of the community.
For instance, there are some condo communities that are filled mostly with young people who like to stay up late and play loud music, and then there are communities that are filled mostly with older couples who like to chat but also go to bed early. And, of course, there are family-oriented
condo communities that are typically calm, but that also like to throw events such as barbecues. There is no one type of condo community, but it’s important to make sure that your desired lifestyle fits in well with the rest of the community. Otherwise, you may find yourself being grumpy about being woken up late at night by the music of the neighbors.
Keep in mind also that buying a condo means that you will be expected to interact with the rest of the community, at least from time to time. There are shared spaces in a condo complex, and you will need to be prepared to share these spaces and to help take care of these spaces.
Having shared spaces does mean that it’s easier for you to meet new people, which may be particularly desirable for single adults, or for older couples who are feeling the effects of an empty nest. Any time you put many people in a shared space, though, there is a chance for conflict, and you should be prepared to deal with these conflicts in a mature, respectful manner.
Condos also come with community fees
When you’re looking at condos, don’t forget to ask about the monthly fees that come along with living there. Don’t assume that the fees will be high if the shared facilities are nice — sometimes, a high number of tenants can even out with the cost of maintaining high-end facilities.
When you’re looking at the facilities that your monthly fees will help fund, try to be realistic about which facilities you’ll actually use. If you don’t regularly exercise now, then chances are you won’t regularly use a gym in your building — and perhaps you should look for a condo without a gym and with lower monthly fees. However, if you do workout regularly, or if you like to lounge by a pool, then make sure that any condo you look at checks these boxes, too.
Because of the monthly fees, many condo associations also have regular meetings where residents can bring up problems and complaints. You can request a copy of the minutes of the past several meetings, to get a feeling for what types of problems the building or the community has.
If you think you can live with those problems, then maybe you’ve found the right place. But if those specific problems are going to be too much for you to handle, then go ahead and keep looking.
The rules of buying a traditional home also apply to buying a condo
All of the rules of real estate that you’ve probably learned do still apply when you’re looking for a condo. For instance, location is key. Make sure that you’re looking at condos that are near to the places you go to regularly.
For some people, that means looking at condos that are near to their workplaces. For other people, they prefer being near to their favorite bars and restaurants. Whatever it is that you’d like to be near, don’t sacrifice that location for other amenities. Location is also key.
In addition, don’t forget that you are still buying a property and that you might want to resell that property at some point. Talk to your realtor about how quickly condos in the building usually sell, and for how much. If you do decide to sell your condo at some point, you want the reassurance that it will be relatively easy and straightforward to sell.
Beyond these tips about condo living, it’s always important to follow your gut when it comes to real estate. If something seems not quite right about the condo itself or the building as a whole, then listen to that feeling. And, if something just feels right, do your research first and confirm that feeling — and then go for it! Part of finding the perfect home is listening to the way that you feel when you’re in the home, and condos are no different.