Buying a condo is a great way to dive into homeownership without having to worry about the upkeeps that come with single-family homes and townhouses. Condo dwellers take advantage of the shared amenities and the condo association takes care of its maintenance.
But, condos aren’t for everyone. It will be best to figure out what fits your lifestyle and budget and then take a call.
Top realtors in San Antonio have shared all the information related to condos, the pros and cons, and tips for purchasing them.
What do you mean by a condo?
Short form for the word “condominium”, a condo is a single unit within the multi-unit property. It is an apartment-style building or a community. They are in a shared structure just like the high-rise buildings. You are the owner of your unit and share common areas and amenities with your neighbor. This includes parks, pools, playgrounds, gyms, and other public spaces.
A San Antonio real estate agent says that generally, shared areas of condos are usually managed by a condo association.
A condo owner has the title of ownership of their units. But they share the ownership of the common areas. Because they are part of the condo association, the owners pay an established monthly fee to cover their budget and expenses that are set by the association.
Condo associations usually differ based on the requirements of each property. Some may impose an extra fee to cover the shared expenses like unexpected building repair work or any new amenities that are approved by the condo board.
Here are a few tips for buying a condo –
What is your lifestyle?
Do you hate to mow the lawn and trim the hedges? Do you dislike pressure washing your driveway? Will it be a burden to lay $5000 or more to have a new HVAC unit or a roof? If the answer to all of these questions is a YES, then condo living may be the option for you.
However, if the desire of having a large backyard outweighs the time you will need for its maintenance, then you can choose for other types of properties like a townhouse or a single-family home. Similarly, if you do not like sharing walls, ceilings, or floors with your neighbor, then a condo may not be the answer for you. Condos work the best for those who are comfortable with apartment living. You can check out San Antonio condos for sale here.
Work with San Antonio realtor with experience in Condos –
If you have decided that buying a condo is the right choice for you, you will want to work with a real estate agent who has your best interests in mind. Ideally, you need to hire somebody who has extensive experience in condos. They will be the right person to address any concerns that you may have and guide you through crucial steps like reviewing the condo association documents.
Your San Antonio real estate agent should know the development of condos in your area and what issues they may be facing. Things that can harm your life when living in a condo can be community finance issues or structure and infrastructure problems within the building community. Your real estate agent will tell you about the acrimonies over the community issues and will tell you which developments have fared the best resale value so far.
Decide on the type of amenities you want –
Condos have a variety of amenities. When working with your San Antonio realtor, be sure to address the type of amenities you want in addition to location and budget, this way you can find your perfect place. If you are a budding investor, here’s your guide to buying an investment property. You are also buying access to these amenities when you are buying your unit. So do not shy away and put them on your wish list
Consider the amenities that you will not be using. Like a pool, for example. It can be worth having a pool if you plan on reselling your condo in the future. A condo that lacks the amenities of others in the area will be sold at a lower sale price.
Find FHA approved condos –
Getting a loan for the condo is more involved than getting g a loan for other types of properties. That is because the condo itself will come under scrutiny, in addition to your personal finance.
You can view the list of FHA-approved condos on their website. Conventional lenders generally have similar requirements to those of FHA. But it will be better to take the assistance of your San Antonio real estate agent and a mortgage professional to find the right financing for your purchase.
Research about the property management company –
Understanding who will be in charge of the upkeep of your property is very crucial to keep your condo well-maintained. It becomes quite frustrating to pay the association dues only to have the amenities fall into disrepair. Poor maintenance and management often affect the property’s value and push the HOA dues higher.
When you are out touring condos, you must ask the concerned authority who is in charge of the maintenance of day-to-day operations. You can question them directly as to who is handling the residents’ requests and community rules to the property management company itself. You must do your due diligence on the company’s reputation too.
Review the association fees, rules, and regulations –
Apart from the mortgage, you will also need to pay the condo association fees for the upkeep of the property and the amenities that come with it. That is why you must review those fees and ask for what is included and what isn’t. The common services included are snow removal, lawn care, and cleaning of common areas.
It is also a good idea to ask regarding the house rules of the community. Whether there are any noise restrictions or guidelines about the rules for booking the common areas in advance. Understanding these rules beforehand will help in figuring out whether the community you are looking at is a good fit for you.
Enquire about the special assessments –
The extra charges imposed to fund a significant project by the condo association are known as special assessments. It is usually voted on by the HOA Board, if not all the community’s residents. They are imposed for a limited amount of time but a good thing to be aware of as it will affect your monthly budget when they are in place.
A well-run association usually avoids special assessments, except for extraordinary cases. You can keep a copy of the association’s financial reports and make sure that your lawyer or accountant will review them and ensure that the community’s finances are sound.
Pros and Cons of buying a condo
If you plan on buying a condo, it is important to know the pros and cons associated with it. Here are some of the top things you should consider.
Depending on the type of market, a condo can be less expensive when you want to buy a house for sale in San Antonio, TX. This makes it ideal for first-time homebuyers or those with limited down payment savings.
Lesser maintenance cost
Exterior maintenance of the condo communities with an exception of windows is handled by the HOA. These include lawn and shrub care, driveways, walkaway roofs, exterior siding, etc. condos are generally more compact and they need less attention than a single-family home. That is why it is an affordable way to own a property. The property taxes for condos are low as well.
Opportunities of getting social
Some condo associations keep organizing social events like pool parties, doggy play dates, barbecues. Since you are close to your neighbors, you can get a chance to meet them in person.
Depending on the condo community, you get access to various amenities like a grilling area, business center, pool, Dog Park, clubhouse and so much more. The cost of enjoying these perks is shared by all the condo residents.
Since the condos share common areas like lobby, hallways, and other such amenities, it may not be the right choice for you if you value your privacy. You are also sharing walls, ceilings, and floors with the adjoining owners, so noise may become an issue. Some complexes tend to have many renters. So, the constant stream of moving vans and tenants will not be so considerate.
Since you and your neighbors own the common property together, and if one of them fails to pay their dues on time, you all could suffer financially. And if the condo owner goes into foreclosure, the unit can change hands at a steep discount. This will affect everybody’s property value.
Parking and storage problems
Some condos do not have assigned parking. So, you might have to travel far to get to your door. Storage too is limited to a small closet or two and there could be no outdoor storage space at all.
The final word
Condo living is best suited for people who do not want a lot of upkeep on their own and want the use of shared amenities. If it suits your current needs it can be a pretty stress-free lifestyle. No matter what your preferences are, you should consider your financial situation and housing needs.
Reyes Signature Properties, a top realtor in San Antonio is here to guide you in your home search and protect your needs and interests during the condo-buying process.