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By: Jonathan Chatfield
First Things First
Are you interested in buying a Condo? Buying any type of home is a major purchase and always requires research and planning. Buying your first Condo carries its very own set of special considerations. We will take a look at some of the most important things you should consider before moving in.
Location, Location, Location…
When buying any residential property, you always want to think about what is most important to you. Do you have children? If so, you may want to take a look into the local Schools District and make sure it is a good fit. Are you close to the things you love to do? Is your favorite grocery store around the corner? It is important to be sure the location will suit your needs for the foreseeable future.
It takes a village
Condos are not typically stand-alone units. If you enjoy the idea of having great neighbors that do things together, a Condo could be a great fit for you! Many Condos plan fun activities for residents and really build a sense of community. This can be especially great if you have kids!
Being part of a community also means there will be rules set forth by the Condo Association. These guidelines govern what is and what is not allowed by residents. Be sure you read through the association handbook and ensure these are all rules you can live with.
When you own your Condo, you are invested in your neighbors as well as your property. It is also wise to make sure that most of the residents are Owners and not renters.
Many Condos have amenities like a gym on property. Some even have clubhouses that are usable by residents to host parties and to entertain. Many luxury condos in Palm Beach will have all of these things and a great pool as well. There is nothing better than an evening dip with your friends and neighbors!
Financial Considerations When Buying a Condo
Your monthly costs are likely to be less than a traditional single-family home. The lower price for a Condo usually means a lower Monthly Mortgage, but often times will often include an Association fee. These fees typically cover things like property maintenance, upkeep of amenities and insurance. It also means when things need to be fixed, you are not alone to foot the bill! That can translate into peace of mind you wouldn’t have when purchasing a single-family home.
Insurance is likely to be cheaper than a single-family home. Most of the time, the Association’s Master Policy will cover some of the structural components so your overall Insurance costs will be less than if you had an entire home to cover.
Other costs to consider are called ‘Special Assessments’. These are fees that the Condo or Home Owners association may charge in addition to standard association fees. These fees could be assessed if a repair or maintenance project exceeds what has been budgeted for by the association.
One recommendation is to request the meeting minutes for Condo Board meetings. Reading through these is a great way to get a feel for the financial health of the Association and to get an idea of the issues residents are concerned with.
The Property Itself
When buying a Condo, it is always a great idea to get into a brand new unit. There are many new luxury condos in Palm Beach available to choose from. If you do decide to purchase a resale property, there are a few additional things to check before buying. What is the overall condition of the unit? Was it well maintained? Be sure and check the appliances are all in working order and there are no obvious structural issues. It is an excellent idea when buying a previously owned unit to have a full interior inspection done by a qualified individual. You want to ensure you aren’t buying a maintenance liability.
A very important thing to consider and one that many home buyers don’t think about is Resale Value. This is especially true when it comes to purchasing a Condo. It is a great idea to buy the largest unit you can afford. Often times studio or one-bedroom units have a lower resale value. As I mentioned earlier, location is super important when it comes to resale value.
If it is a previously owned unit be sure to check if there are other units for sale in the complex. A larger than normal amount of available units may indicate there are issues with the property not obvious at first glance.
Laying Down the Welcome Mat
Buying a Condo can be a rewarding experience. There really is nothing like owning your very own home. With proper preparation and adequate research, you can avoid many of the pitfalls of buying a condo. And remember, the experts know best how to navigate the choppy waters. Always enlist the help of a qualified realtor!