There are a lot of things you need to know if you are planning to buy a condo. Here are some of the most important questions you should ask yourself and things you should know like the background info on the condo.
What is the difference between a condo and an apartment?
This is probably the most common question asked and maybe one that causes some confusion too. Apartments and condos are both self contained units in a larger building but there are some distinctive differences.
Apartments are in a building run by a private management company and you rent or lease a unit from them. They are responsible for maintenance and any problems and you will have no chance to buy your unit.
Condos are part of a larger building too but it will be owned by an individual. If the owner allows it, you can take ownership of one of the units and it is recognised as real estate. This only gives you ownership of your unit and not the exterior or any communal amenities or land. You and other condo owners have shared ownership of these. When it comes to maintenance you will have to pay monthly fees to cover this.
Is it better to buy a condo than to rent?
This would depend on your circumstance and needs really. How much money you have for a deposit or purchase etc. To help you make that decision here are some of the benefits of renting an apartment and some for buying a condo.
Benefits of renting an apartment
- Maintenance is taken care of. If a major problem arises it is the owners that have to sort it out.
- You are able to move out easily with few ties. If you find a new job or like to move around, shorter term leases might suit you better.
- You may find it more affordable to rent short term than buy.
Benefits of buying a condo
- If you need to move out because of job opportunities elsewhere you can rent your apartment to cover the mortgage and more.
- Owning a condo lets you build equity. If the property market goes up your home is worth more.
- If you are a first time buyer then condos are accessible as they are usually lower priced than houses.
What is the lifestyle of someone living in a condo?
There are many benefits here too. Living in an apartment means you are surrounded by people who may leave at any time once their lease is up. They are to a degree transient. The owner of a condo will often decorate the units in their brown style and put in quality appliances. Condos are more likely to consist of homeowners so there is more likely to be a sense of community.
Condos have communal areas and facilities for residents to use. These often include sauna, gym, swimming pools and a communal lounge.
The location could also be appealing. Buying a home in the center of a city or fashionable area might not be possible but with condos it could be. They could be in a central location and convenient.
Checklist for when you buy a condo
Here are a few things to consider and note as you head towards buying your condo:
1) Find an experienced real estate agent
You want an agent who is experienced in condos and can guide you towards a successful purchase. You can find some info at Richard Morrison Vancouver Homes which lists some of the benefits of using a real estate agent.
2) Check the amenities
You might not find it so important to have a gym for instance, but when you go to sell your condo later on you might wish there was. A lack of amenities might make your condo less sellable down the line.
3) Make sure that the condo is FHA approved
When you look for a mortgage for a condo the lenders will not just look at the unit you are purchasing but the building as a whole. It is important to look for a FHA (Federal Housing Approved) condo to make the mortgage process smoother.
4) Check the fees associated with the condo
As a condo owner you will be responsible for maintenance fees and you need to know what they are and what they will be used for. Look to see if anything isn’t included that might cost you later.
5) Check the regulations
There should be a list of regulations and restrictions that residents have to follow. You will want to know that excessive noise is not allowed but also you want to check that the rules aren’t too restrictive.
6) Lastly, check for special assessments
Special assessments is the name given to funds that will be used for a large project. Say re-roofing or something costly. You should find out if anything is happening as you don’t want to find yourself responsible for paying for things that happened before you moved in.