Buying a Condo? Things to Consider

Buying an Orange County CondoAttached homes like condos and townhomes can be less expensive than detached single family homes which makes them more affordable for more people. That is one of the things that makes them very attractive to first time buyers, investors, etc. If you are considering purchasing a condo, and especially if this will be your first home purchase, take the time to consider the following as you go home shopping:

  • A condo as a first home is not usually a long-term investment, but you should still think long-term when purchasing. This means you will want to consider its re-sale value to insure your ability to move up in the future.
  • Do you want an upper or lower level unit? Lower level units may have easier access/no stairs but you may be able to hear your upstairs neighbors. The upper unit may have high ceilings where the lower level may not.
  • Almost all condo communities have common amenities and association fees to cover their maintenance. These costs usually go up slightly each year.
  • You and your guests will need a place to park your car. Do you need a garage? Will a carport suffice? Is there convenient guest parking? Homes with carports only can be less expensive.
  • If the community is older, is it well-maintained? Normally older communities are less dense, the buildings are not so close together and there may be more parking. However you may be more attracted to the floor plans and interiors of the newer condo complexes.
  • Gated communities can be more secure, but the association fees are usually higher.
  • ladera Ranch CondosIs the complex surrounded by other condo complexes or are there more single family homes nearby? A condo complex with fewer other condo complexes around will usually hold its value longer and the value may be higher.
  • Does the condo and its location suit your lifestyle? Can you see yourself living there, coming and going to work as well as shopping, dining, etc? Is it close to your favorite places? Do you need easy freeway access?
  • Do you need a patio or yard space for you, your kids or your pets? If you have pets, the community may have rules and restrictions about pets.
  • Can you afford a two-bedroom condo? If you can afford the second bedroom or den, it may be easier to sell in the future PLUS I am sure you will find a use for it once you move in.
  • There may be rules, restrictions or guidelines that may not be attractive or practical to you, the future homeowner. Do your best to investigate any rules before you fall in love with the condo.
  • Employ the help of a seasoned real estate agent like myself to assist you and guide yo through the process!

This is not a complete list, and once you begin narrowing your search, I am sure there will be other points to consider. Call me today 949.525.5905.

Moving to a Condo

Choosing Your Home or CondoA condominium can be a great choice if you are considering downsizing your home. There are special rules that apply to condos, though, so be sure you know exactly what they are before you buy your condo. A good real estate agent should be able to show you the rules before you get too deep in your property search.

Pay Attention to the Details in Your Home Search

One of the real benefits of living in a condo is that upkeep and maintenance are taken care of by the property management or condo association. Residents in the complex pay monthly fees for these costs, a portion of which is placed into a savings account for future repairs.

Be sure to check the financial records of the condo association to ensure that they are putting some of the monthly fees into savings for big repairs like a roof replacement. This is especially important in an older complex, where rules may be a bit more lax. You’ll also want to review the complex’s insurance policy, too. Actual buildings and exterior walls are usually covered, but you’ll want to know if the belongings in your condo are, too, or if you need an additional policy.

Find out what exterior maintenance jobs are covered by your condo association and if there are rules about exterior decorations. Some places are very strict, and you don’t want an unhappy surprise if you love to decorate for holidays. Read all community rules very carefully.

Two things that can make or break living in your condo are the manager (if applicable) and the homeowners association (HOA). A professional, on-site manager is a must in a large condo complex. You want to be sure that repairs will be done quickly and well and you will also want to do a little digging if it’s a new development. Find out and research the developer. Talk to potential neighbors about the HOA, too. It should be a resource for keeping the complex running smoothly. If not, move on.

If you do your research and find a quality condo complex, you’ll be sure to enjoy your home for as long as you choose to live in it.