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In Today's Real Estate Market, Condo Living is a Great Alternative

Mar 6, 2008
In today's real estate market, finding a condominium compatible with your lifestyle can be a task. There are many characteristics to consider when choosing a condo: you want to choose something that will appreciate in value and also provide you with a comfortable lifestyle.

Here are some of the steps prospective buyers should follow when contemplating buying a condo.

Condominiums, an alternative to buying a single family home, can be a great transition from renting to owning. In a condo community, individuals purchasing living space within a portion of a building which is shared by others. Residents share ownership of common areas.

For senior citizens and those without kids, condos can be a very practical investment. Most condominiums require minimum upkeep or property maintenance concerns compared to single family houses. Condos can be more affordable than single family houses however when it comes time to sell your condo, it can take a bit longer.

Do your research

When a prospective buyer looks to purchase a condo, they should conduct research via real estate websites, newspapers, magazines and books. Prospective buyers may want to find a real estate agent or a developer selling condos directly. When researching a condo, take notice of certain important characteristics which include:

* Location within the state, city and neighborhood
* Location within the building (penthouse versus ground floors)
* Parking spaces provided
* Number of bedrooms and square footage
* Proximity to basic amenities, such as grocery stores, banks, restaurants or malls.
* The percentage of units completed, sold and occupied.
* New construction versus a conversion of a building.
* Specific requirements of the homeowner association.

Costs Associated with Purchasing a Condo

Most buyers finance a condo or single family home by taking out a loan. There are additional expenses beyond the actual purchase price, which can include private mortgage insurance, and taxes. When purchasing real estate, it is important that you can pay all costs to avoid real estate foreclosure.

When purchasing a condominium specifically, buyers must also pay a mandatory monthly homeowner associate fee. In the condo by laws, the governing body outlines areas jointly owned by residents such as walkways, pools or lawns. The HOA fee pays for maintaining these jointly owned areas. All monthly dues are placed in the HOA account. If owners fail to pay the monthly fee, the homeowner association can enforce a lien and foreclose on the unit.

Find something you like? Investigate the Condominium Complex
Most condo communities have regular HOA meetings to discuss important issues affecting the community. Obtain a copy of the minutes from the homeowner association meetings to see if the residents cooperate. The minutes also can outline important issues affecting the complex.

Find out how much money remains in the HOA reserve funds, which funds regular maintenance and emergency repairs on the building. If the condo community contains a small reserve, residents have to cover the costs of unexpected bills in the future.

Determine how many projects or assessments by the HOA were conducted for the last ten years. How old is the roof? When was the last time the building was painted? If the homeowner association's board of directors functions properly, then the community may be a desirable place to live.

Once you have found the condo that you like and qualify for and talk with current owners to determine their likes and dislikes, you can finally start the financing process and eventually move into your dream condo.
About the Author
In Hendersonville, NC, real estate professionals are expert in the unique, local real estate market. For condos or single family homes, you want to work with someone you can trust and who is experienced in Historic Hendersonville, Asheville NC, and Flat Rock. Visit Preferred Real Estate Center online at http://www.preferredrealestatecenter.com/
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