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20 Things to Consider When Buying a Condo

Buying a condo can be a smart, lucrative decision for anyone. The condo is yours, so you get the benefits of an investment in homeownership, yet you’ll also enjoy perks that don’t come with other more traditional properties. If you think the condo lifestyle might fit your idea of homeownership, here are a few considerations and benefits to factor into your condo shopping process.

  1. Investment: Each mortgage payment contributes to your equity in the property. A condo is an investment that you can renovate, improve to your tastes, sell later or perhaps rent to someone else.

  2. Allowable Uses: You may or may not be able to rent out your condo. Some complexes don’t allow short-term rentals—including popular consumer uses like Airbnb or Vrbo.

  3. Opportunity: Since condos are usually less expensive than single-family homes in the same area, condominiums offer more affordable housing options.

  4. Responsibility: You can purchase a condo with the features you want without having direct responsibilities for the upkeep of the home’s exterior, land and connected buildings.

  5. Onsite Amenities: Many condo complexes maintain fitness facilities, pools, saunas, tech centers, tennis courts, parks, walking trails and other recreational facilities. They may also host social community events or programs that you’ll have exclusive access to.

  6. Homeowners Associations: As a condo owner, you’ll usually be expected to pay HOA fees—monthly, quarterly or annually, for example. A strong, active HOA ensures that shared spaces receive the proper maintenance and upkeep needed. 

  7. Special Assessments: When complexes or buildings need major upgrades, HOAs may levy a special assessment in addition to the regular HOA membership fees to cover the cost. Inquire into any upcoming projects and how the complex intends to fund them.

  8. Parking: Parking may vary from no restrictions to permitted parking, assigned spaces, extra fees for covered spaces, or limitations on types and numbers of vehicles.

  9. Insurance: While condo association insurance should cover exterior and shared areas, you’ll need personal condo insurance to cover the interior of the condo and your personal belongings. A condo might be a good way of buying into a Southern waterfront community without having to carry personal flood insurance on the building, for example.

  10. Climate and Weather: Southern climates present extra challenges due to heat, humidity, moisture, and resulting mold and mildew. Being in the path of frequent coastal storms and hurricanes can put areas at or below sea level at particular risk, so consider this when looking at first-floor units.

  11. Urban, Suburban or Rural Location: In more urban settings, a condo may offer walkability and easy access to entertainment, public transportation, shopping and dining. In more removed suburban or rural settings, you may need a car for every trip.

  12. Location Within the Multi-Family Complex: Will you have neighbors above or below you? How close is your potential condo to the stairs or elevator, trash depositories and dumpsters, or the pool and fitness facilities, for example? Location within the building is just as important as its location within the city.

  13. Security: How secure is the condo from outside guests? Many complexes restrict access through the use of passcards, automated gates, attendants and approved guest lists. Security measures help bar intruders and add clearance checks for visitors.

  14. Financing: Lenders may require that a certain percentage of the building or complex be owner-occupied or limit the number of investor-owned units. Condo loan interest rates may be slightly higher than rates for single-family dwellings, and loan programs may be more limited.

  15. Pets: If pets are permitted, the condo complex may restrict how many pets you can have as well as a pet’s type, breed or size. Inquire what the allowances are if you plan to have any furry friends with you.

Get Started on Your Search

When you find the place that's right for you, a condo lifestyle can be as social and rewarding as you want it to be. It’s a great way to own a home, limit your responsibilities and yet still enjoy onsite amenities. If you’re ready to buy a condo, contact one of our mortgage loan originators or learn more about the home buying process on our site.


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