If you’re thinking about becoming a homeowner, you’ll realize that you have a staggering number of choices when it comes to choosing your dream house. One of the best options for buyers is a condominium, or an individual unit that is part of a series of a complex of buildings. When you own a condo, you have exclusive access to all rooms in your individually owned unit, the interior walls dividing the rooms, storage areas, patios, and balconies. Parts of the building that are generally considered to be common areas include elevators, the basement, lobbies, floors, roof, ceilings, among others. Installations for common amenities such as electricity, gas, and water, and community facilities such as swimming pools, playgrounds, and gardens are also common for condo owners, as well as access to parking areas and the land on which the building complex is built.
Making the decision to buy a condominium is the easy part. The practical portion of it, on the other hand, is filled with complexities and considerations that you need to take into account to make sure that you end up with a spectacular condo for a great price. Here is a step-by-step guide to purchasing the perfect condo.
Making The Decision To Buy
The very first step is, of course, making the definite decision to purchase a condo. Base your decision to make a purchase on whether you can afford to make the necessary payments, whether the timing is right for you, and if you are ready to compromise the benefits of living in the more traditional family home.
Buying any form of property requires substantial finances. Many first-time buyers often find it daunting to make such a major financial commitment, but it is important to keep in mind that this is a profitable investment, especially when you make the right choices. Some crucial steps to take when financing a condo include:
- Choosing a qualified loan officer or mortgage specialist who will facilitate the financing process.
- Applying for the loan and getting pre-approved. Learn the difference between pre-approval and pre-qualification.
- Determine what you are willing to spend on your condo and select a loan option. A pre-approved loan comes in handy especially during the negotiation stage of securing your condo, and it also determines what you can afford, effectively helping you stay within your budget.
With a particular location in mind, carry out extensive research on features and facilities available in the area. Depending on your needs, some factors you might want to look out for include how close the area is to places like schools, hospitals, grocery stores, and transport systems, as well as the general security of the area. If you choose to forego the service of a realtor, consider finding potential listings via subscribing to a real estate magazine or looking up condos on a real estate website. However, this option may prove to be time-consuming and frustrating, especially if you have a hard time determining the right fit. An important reminder is to have all your long-term and short-term goals and criteria in mind as you carry out your research on both the area and style of the condo that you desire.
Attend Open Houses
Once you come up with a short list of condos that suit you best, the next reasonable step is to find out which condominiums on your list are open for viewing. This is the best time to thoroughly inspect the condo’s features to determine whether it truly is the right fit. Based on these viewings, create a pros and cons list to help you weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each condo. This is also a great opportunity to explore what is going on in the immediate surroundings of your building.
Ask About Home Owner Associations (HOAs)
Homeowner Associations (HOAs) refer to community organizations that require fee payments for the maintenance of the condominium building common areas, exterior, and shared structures. Being a member of such an association also means that you are required to adhere to the set covenants, conditions, and restrictions.
Fees range depending on factors such as the state in which the condominium is situated, and the number and size of amenities in the building complex. The fees charged may also vary from tenant to tenant, depending on variations in square footage, and orientation since such factors have an impact on the upkeep required. Another important fact is that these fees may increase to accommodate the changing cost of utilities and maintenance.
However, in situations where new units could potentially be added to the complex and there are more homeowners, the HOA fees may reduce. The covenants, conditions, and restrictions may also vary from one condo to another, so it might not serve you well to rely on secondhand information from individuals living in similar developments. One of the most common rules included in many HOAs is the complete restriction of pets or limiting the number of animals you can keep in your condo. Carefully go over these set rules to determine whether you will be able to remain compliant upon living there.
You can look up these rules and regulations online, and if they are not available, seek the help of your real estate agent since they possess the particular know-how on how to contact the HOA directly to obtain the covenants, conditions, and restrictions. Another important issue to inquire about regarding HOAs is staffing and reputation. Many HOAs are usually run by community residents who are elected by the association members. It is also not unheard of to have these associations run by private companies. It is wise to find out how such a company works in relation to your building development and how it impacts you. Talk to the current condo occupants in the building complex who are not part of the HOA to find out how they view the association, so you’ll have a better idea about the group’s overall reputation.
Find A Qualified and Reliable Realtor
A realtor is paramount in helping you find and secure the perfect condominium, so finding a highly qualified and reliable one cannot be overemphasized. Inquire about the quality of services of a potential realtor from previous clients. Do not hold back when it comes to inquiring about the licensing of your realtor. Check whether there have been disciplinary actions or complaints made against your potential real estate professional. You could go even a step further by evaluating your realtor's certifications for more assurance. If you find a realtor that you see yourself potentially working with amidst your research, check their current listings to get an idea of what to expect. Some of the qualities you should seek in a realtor include:
- Willingness to explain the finer details of the real estate market, in regards to purchasing a condo
- Ability to work with all of your criteria in a home/condo
- Cooperative with other professionals involved in purchasing your condo
- Skilled at negotiating the asking price on your behalf
- Attention to detail when it comes to assessing the necessary paperwork
- Problem-solving skills
A good realtor is essential to the process when they are wholly dedicated to investing their time, effort, and expertise into finding you the condo of your dreams at a great price.
Is The Building Covered By Insurance?
Often overlooked, insurance is a very important factor to consider. Insurance responsibilities in a building development can be divided among you and other homeowners in the building and is expected to cover some areas while the HOA take responsibility for others. However, insurance requirements vary from state to state, so what may fly in Nashville, TN may not be what is acceptable in Miami, FL. Check to see if there is any additional protection, or catastrophe insurance, especially if the condominium you fancy is in a disaster-prone area. This coverage may be provided by the HOA, and if it is available, make sure you confirm the extent of the insurance.
Place A Reasonable Initial Offer
If a particular condo checks all your boxes, do not hesitate to make an initial offer. Make sure that it is a reasonable one--not too low to make the seller lose interest yet not too high for you to afford. Find that sweet spot that will allow you to bargain with the seller favorably. Remember that the seller will always set a listing price that will obviously be subject to negotiation, so do not shy away from bargaining. When you are presented with the counteroffer, carefully review it. It will help you determine whether the seller is flexible on the asking price or simply won't budge. If the latter is the case, make inquiries on other areas where the seller might be willing to give you a reasonable discount, such as the processing fees, or the closing costs.
Contract Signing and Attorney Review
Once you come to an agreement with the seller, the next step is to sign all the necessary paperwork. There should be an attorney present to oversee the whole process and review any necessary changes that might need to be made to the contract. You may also be required to make a non-refundable deposit shortly afterward, which will be included in your down payment
Finalizing The Sale and Closing On Your Condo
During the final phase of acquiring your condo, the lender is usually tasked with confirming the value of your condo, as well as your creditworthiness. The process also involves conducting a survey, title search, appraisal, and a general assessment of your financial status. By this stage, all you have to do is to maintain communication with your agent regarding the necessary paperwork and have your finances in order.
On the closing day, you will be expected to make payments to the seller as well as pay the closing costs. This will facilitate the transfer of the condo title from the seller to you. Once the transaction has been made part of the public record and the necessary information disseminated to all the involved parties, you will have closed on your condo, and you can finally move in!
Inquire About Any Future Special Assessments
A special assessment refers to a substantial fee that is usually charged to homeowners to cover important projects within the community--such as major structural repairs. It is important to inquire about special assessments since they affect the amount of HOA fees you are obligated to pay. Any special assessments slated for the future should be fully disclosed to you as a potential buyer.
Familiarize Yourself With The Maintenance + Management Companies
It doesn't hurt to familiarize yourself with the maintenance and management company that takes care of your condo building or complex. Assessment of the reputation and consistency of the company can be a determining factor in picking out a condominium.
Learn How Nashville, TN Expert Amy Jackson Smith Can Help You Choose The Perfect Condo!
Do you need assistance finding the ideal condo that perfectly complements your lifestyle in Nashville? Opt to seek the services of Amy Jackson Smith, a real estate expert based in Nashville, TN. She is associated with Worth Properties, where her achievements have continued to transcend expectations. With over a decade in the business, Amy has amassed an impressive list of achievements and solid relationships with her clients, which can be attributed to her proven ability to close deals paired with a willingness to enlighten her clients, so that they are able to make educated real estate investments She has also earned a reputation as a tough negotiator, always putting the needs of her clients first, as evidenced by the glowing reviews she continues to receive.
Amy Jackson Smith works with a team of competent experts who are equally professional, with specialties in different fields such as finance and photography. Over the years, she has built strong connections throughout Nashville with notable real estate firms and other key markets in the real estate industry. Amy is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to finding the perfect Nashville condo, and some of her current local listings include:
Contact Amy Jackson Smith at 1-615-300-1025 to find your dream condo today! You can also email her at email@example.com with any Nashville real estate inquiries.