Is condo living for you?
When you want to build equity and still enjoy carefree living a condo may be for you! In many instances, homebuyers choose to live in condominium complexes instead of single family homes. A condominium, or condo for short, is a form of housing. It is the legal term used in the United States and in most provinces of Canada for a type of joint ownership of real property in which portions of the property are commonly owned and other portions are individually owned. Condominium living offers a somewhat different lifestyle and choosing to purchase a condo vs. a single family home is an important decision. There are several factors to consider when deciding to purchase a condo. First, you need to be able to work within a community. Each condominium complex has a Board of Directors, made up of a President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and sometimes several at large members. This board makes most of the financial decisions for the association. A condominium community can be thought of as a small town. The Board President is the equivalent of the Mayor, the Condominium Association is the equivalent of the law enforcement agency, and the Assessments can be thought of as taxes that pay for the maintenance, repairs, and improvements in the community. In any well run community, it is necessary to have Rules and Regulations to protect the quality of life of the residents. Each condo complex will have defined rules that govern living, as well as a set of Rules and Regulations that are specific to each complex (ex: grills are not allowed on decks, all move in and move out must happen on the weekends, etc.) Without clear guidelines for the behavior of its residents, a community is likely to deteriorate in safety, appearance, and property value
At the same time, successful community living depends on the willingness of the residents to be considerate of one another and to have the common good of the community as a primary concern. Communities that must continually call upon law enforcement agencies to enforce their Rules and Regulations are usually not good places to live. On the other hand, communities where residents cooperate and voluntarily observe the Rules and Regulations usually have an excellent quality of life as well as steadily increasing property value.
The second factor to consider is your maintenance responsibilities and monthly assessments (dues). Assessments are monthly payments, set by the condo board based on the monthly costs to run the association. This assessment covers many maintenance issues that you will not be responsible for taking care of including: exterior landscaping and maintenance, interior common area maintenance and any variety of other costs like paying your doorman or other staff or shared utilities like your water bill. Be sure to remember that this assessment will add to your monthly payment and should be accounted for when you are deciding your desired price range.
A portion of your assessment should also be allocated to pay for future costs and ongoing maintenance of the building. Each association has a Reserve fund to cover these costs. It is very important before buying any condo to find out how much the association has in their reserve fund. If an association’s reserve fund is not adequate, you will likely be hit with special assessments soon to fix big ticket problems like roof repair, water damage or any number of unexpected costs that will come up in the future. The Veenstra Team may be able to find out the financial condition of each association, so be sure to ask!
These are a few of the issues to think about when deciding to purchase a condominium. Condos are a great option if you have limited time to spend on home maintenance but still want to earn the equity that purchasing a home provides over renting!
Be sure to contact The Veenstra Team if you want to discover what the condo market is like in your community. The Veenstra Team will be able to give you a good feel for pricing of the condos that are currently on the market. If a condo is something you are seriously considering and you are ready to purchase in the next few months, be sure to let your agent know what you are looking for as well as the time frame in which you hope to be purchasing. There are often times when The Veenstra Team runs into people who make us aware that they will be selling at a certain point in the future. Making sure that The Veenstra Team is aware of your desires will allow him to keep your needs in mind if he sees something that would meet your requirements.