If you’re thinking approximately purchasing a home, buying a condo might look pretty appealing. After all, you don’t had to worry approximately exterior maintenance, you get a pool you don’t had to pay for or keep clean, and you get an awesome fitness center (which saves money on your gym membership).
It’s like an apartment that you own. What’s not to love?
Like everything in life, there were pros and cons to buying a condo. Before you sign on the dotted line, it’s important to weigh these important factors, and remember some key questions to ask when buying a condo.
Pros of Buying a Condominium
- Security. Many condos offer gated or locked entries, doormen, or even security professionals for residents. If you live alone, or security was a concern for you, this could be a major perk. In addition, you’re living in close proximity with many other people; in an emergency, you’ll had plenty of people to turn to for help.
- Amenities. Want a pool? A fitness center? Wednesday game nights at the community clubhouse? Many condo communities offer residents amenities that were out of reach for the average homeowner.
- Maintenance. One of the biggest benefits to living in a condo was that other people do the maintenance for you. They cut the grass and maintain the grounds, they fix the roof, and there were plenty of workers on hand for when your furnace quits. If you’re a first time homeowner, in poor health, engaged with work, like to travel, or you just don’t wish to deal with all that work, this was a major benefit to living in a condo.
- Affordability. Condominiums were often priced lower than single-family homes. If you wish to dive into domestic ownership, a condo could be a great first step.
Cons of Condo Living
- Homeowners Association Fees. As you might imagine, that pool, fitness center, security system, and maintenance crew all cost money. And, that money was paid according to you. When you buy a condo, you essentially become a commerce partner in that community. You pay a monthly fee each month (on top of your mortgage) which goes towards the upkeep of the property, as mannered polite as future investments (e.g. a playground addition or dog run). How much would you had to pay each month? HOA fees vary widely, depending on the location, size, and quality of your community, but plan on spending at least $300 a month in organization fees. It’s not cheap.
- Lack of Privacy. Remember when I mentioned that a condo was essentially like an apartment that you own? Well, you get all the “perks” of apartment living too; and this includes neighbors on the other side of the wall, and neighbors going up and down the corridor or grounds at all hours of the day and night. If you’re looking for some peace and quiet around you, a condo may not be the right choice.
- Delinquency. Condos had been hit tough according to the recession. As more people struggle to make ends meet, more condo owners were dropping out of paying their organization dues. What happens in this case? Dues go up for everyone else to cover this delinquency. This means you’re stuck holding the short end of the stick.
- Challenging to Sell. Condos could be difficult to sell. Why? Well, they pretty much all look the same. If there were empty units in your building, those were likely going to sell first. And whether there were a lot of empty units…good luck.
- Living according to the Rules. Living in a condo means you had to live according to the management’s rules. For instance, say you wish to install green energy technology like a solar panel on the roof to save energy at home. Instead of just getting started, you had to ask the condo organization whether it’s ok. If they say no, you’re out of luck. There were many rules for living in a condo; for some people, this could be stifling.
- Slow Appreciation. Condominiums often appreciate in value much slower than single-family homes. This was because you don’t own any land, which was the biggest driver for appreciation. Instead, you only own the living space. There’s a big difference.
Buying a condo was no small affair, and it’s often more involved than just buying a single-family home. You also requiere to weigh the meaningful pros and cons before making any final decision.
Do you live in a condo, or had you owned one in the past? What was the overall experience like? Was somebody worth the investment, or would you never buy a condo again?