Market Overview

5 Things To Look For In A New Condo

5 Things To Look For In A New Condo

You might want to buy a new condo for the spectacular view; the prospect of ownership with little maintenance; a less expensive way to own a brand new home; or for many other reasons.

Before you fall helplessly in love with that spectacular view, take into consideration that a condo is a covenant controlled community, and one with rules that you may or may not agree with.

Besides the covenants, there are at least five other significant decision points to consider before making your purchase.

Condos Come In Different Styles

The size of the complex can mean living with and dealing with many other owners in a large complex or only a few others in a small complex.

Not only do these different condo styles affect how many people you live with, but also how many owners are sharing the costs for mutual amenities. This doesn’t only include the swimming pool and fitness room; there are more shared expenses for the entire building upkeep and associated security.

Again, this is a covenant controlled community — be sure to review the financial books along with the rules and regulations.

You may very well consider your money well spent because the condo life is free from unwanted chores like mowing the lawn and cleaning rain gutters.

Although there are many condo styles, you also want to consider condo living as a lifestyle choice rather than a style of construction.

The Condo Lifestyle Has Advantages

Many of the things to look for in a condo do involve the lifestyle. Consider creating a checklist to keep track of amenities when you are looking before deciding where to buy.

  • Upscale condos could have a business center, covered parking, a concierge service, and much more. You’ll share the cost for these items. 
  • Even upscale condos are more affordable than single-family homes in high-end and coveted neighborhoods.
  • Some condos focus on attracting owners with a common lifestyle. If you have your eye toward frequently using the community room for late-night parties, you probably shouldn’t buy in an over-55 community.
  • Others cater to urban professionals, families and many other lifestyles. Be sure you know who your neighbors will be.
  • But always understand the rules and finances of a covenant controlled community, because high-end amenities still come with a price tag.
  • Condo ownership does provide tax write-offs that are not available to renters.

Other Things To Know Before Buying A Condo

A covenant controlled community is a business. The documents are legally binding. You only have one ownership vote when it comes to deciding what maintenance or improvements should be paid for now or deferred into the future.

As a whole, the community can vote to raise fees, call for a special levy or decide to increase the reserve fund.

Other official documents you want to review are the history of financial assessments and board meeting minutes.

Talking about these issues with several current owners is another great way of both getting to know your future neighbors and getting the inside scoop about what might not be recorded in the official documents.

Shopping for condo insurance is also a good idea before taking the next step.

Photo by Averette/Wikimedia


Related Articles

View Comments and Join the Discussion!

Posted-In: CondosEducation Personal Finance General Real Estate Best of Benzinga