6 Important Questions to Ask When Buying a Condo

6 Important Questions to Ask When Buying a Condo

The condo market has been hot in recent years and has shown no signs of slowing down. People love the condo lifestyle for a variety of reasons. For many, it’s their first step into the real estate market; for others, it’s a great way to downsize, and for some people, it’s just about enjoying maintenance-free living so they can spend their time on things they enjoy.

Regardless of your reason for purchasing a condo, it’s likely still going to be one of the biggest investments of your life, and you want to go into the negotiation process armed with knowledge. Here are some important questions to ask when buying a condo.

6 Important Questions to Ask When Buying a Condo

While there are a lot more than six questions to ask about condos, this list will be a good start. It will also help you keep your eyes open for any red flags when buying a condo.

1. How Much Are My Condo Fees and What Do They Cover?

Condo fees are a big one, and usually, the older the building, the more expensive the fees will be. One of the perks of living in a condo is that you don’t have to do any of the maintenance yourself, but that also comes at a cost in the form of fees.

Condo fees are generally used for maintenance such as landscaping and snow removal but can also be used for bigger ticket items like major building repairs. With new buildings, the fees tend to be much lower since everything is in perfect condition and likely years away from any kind of significant repair.

But if you purchase a unit in an older building, the fees can escalate quite quickly. It’s important that you know exactly how much your fees are so that you can work into your budget on top of your mortgage. You also want to make sure you know exactly what the fees cover, so you aren’t dinged with any surprises down the road.

2. Can I Rent Out My Unit?

This is a really important question that you don’t want to overlook. While it’s easy to assume that since you own the unit, you can do what you want with it, that’s not always the case.

Some buildings have strict policies around renting your place out, and you want to be clear on the details before you sign the papers. While some people buy condos strictly as an investment and plan to rent it out from the start, others might just want to have the option of renting it out on Vrbo or Airbnb while they’re out of town.

Not having that option can be a deal-breaker for many people, so do your due diligence before purchasing.

3. What Is the Reserve Fund Like?

You may have heard horror stories from new condo owners who are suddenly stuck with an astronomical bill in the form of a “special assessment” to pay for damages even though they haven’t even lived in the building for very long.

The reserve funds should be healthy and support major damages to the building, such as roof replacement and other catastrophes. It’s also a good idea to look at the condo insurance policy to see exactly what it covers.

Is it just the building? Or will it cover your possessions as well in case of a disaster such as a flood?

4. What Are the Rules?

It can’t be stressed enough that you want to have a solid understanding of the rules of the building before you move in. It can be a rude awakening to think you’ve purchased your newfound freedom, only to find out that your building is run like a penitentiary.

There are many things to consider, from whether or not pets are allowed to if you’re allowed to decorate your balcony to whether you can have a grill on the deck, and more.

These are things that are easy to forget about before you sign on the dotted line, so it’s a great idea to make a condo-buying checklist before you make any decisions.

5. What Is the Noise Like?

No matter what kind of lifestyle you lead, you’ll likely want to know how noisy your building is. Is it a family building where the occupants are in bed by 10 p.m. on the weekends? Or is it a glorified frat house where the party never stops?

Try to get as much feedback as possible, including talking to the neighbors if possible. You also want to know what the soundproofing is like. If the walls are made of wood rather than concrete, you’re probably going to hear a lot more unwanted noise from your neighbors, whether they are party animals or not. However, some wood buildings can still be fairly quiet, depending on the occupants.

6. What Is the Management Team Like?

It’s extremely important to have a competent management team working for you when you purchase a condo. Not only will a good management team respond to inquiries and problems swiftly, but they’ll also likely save everyone money by staying on top of things and finding the right contractors for the different expenses that occur.

Inexperienced or absentee managers can be a nightmare and something that you want to avoid. If heaven forbid your shower pipes clog up, you want service, and you want it immediately. You can also get more info on this and other questions by contacting a professional.

Buy With Confidence

As we mentioned in the intro, buying a condo is a major investment. You don’t want to rush into anything that will leave you with buyers’ remorse down the road.

But as long as you do your homework and get clear about what you’re looking for and what you aren’t, the purchasing process doesn’t have to be stressful. Owning a new property should be exciting, and as long as you’re equipped with the right questions to ask when buying a condo, it will be.

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