What should I know before buying a condo?

All condos are in developments that have a homeowner's association so when you put a condo under contract you will have time to review those HOA documents and the covenants conditions and restrictions, often called the CC&RS.

Condo Repairs

You want to be sure the condo association is healthy and has money in reserves should any repairs or upgrades be needed for the building. Having a realtor who specializes in condos is really helpful with this because they know what to look for in the hundreds of pages of documents that the HOA is going to send you during the disclosure period.

Once you're under contract you'll also want to get the condo inspected by a licensed inspector just like you would a house. You don't have to worry about things like the roof and the foundation because the HOA covers all that but you do want to be sure everything's working in the condo like it should.

For example, you will want to check out the air conditioning and the heat, the appliances and all the electrical outlets. Those are your responsibility to maintain so you want to be sure that everything's in working order when you buy it. Another positive of purchasing a condominium is since the inspector doesn't have to crawl into the house or get up on a roof, you can generally get a condo inspection for less than what a typical home inspection costs.

Buying a Brand New Condo

If you buy a brand new condo that would probably have a builder's warranty that would cover some of your appliances if they stop working but if you're buying a used condo the only thing that's covered is the structural stuff by the HOA. In some buildings each unit will have their own heating and ac system and you're responsible for that too. In some of the older buildings condos may have a big boiler room for heat and that the HOA would covered.

We bought a condo one time for an investment and the AC went out. We soon found out that the actual AC unit was on the roof of the building, so in order to fix it we had to have a big crane come out to get on top of the building and get the new unit in, so knowing that kind of stuff ahead of time is very helpful and will save you money in the long run.

How do I find the perfect condo?

Thanks to the internet it is easier than ever to identify condos you like in areas where you want to live but it is still really important to work with an agent who specializes in condos to help you narrow down the list and find the ones that are right for you.

Pictures and descriptions online are great but they don't tell the whole story. You need to know what condition the homeowners association is in, if there are any pending assessments, if there are quality or noise issues in that particular building and if there is a development coming that might block your view.

If there is a field across the street when you move in and you are unaware of plans for a 20-story tower to be built there instead, then that may not be the best surprise. Make sure you talk to your agent to find all of that out before you buy. These are items that a knowledgeable agent can help you with so you can be sure you're finding the perfect condo for you.

What should I look for in a condo?

My best advice on what to look for in a condo is to decide what the unchangeable factors are that are most important to you. What I mean by that is, things like the view, the building location and the amenities.

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17 Properties Found.
Photo of Listing #54321
  • Active
  • $1,750,000
  • The 88
  • MLS® #: 54321
  • 88 E San Fernando St
  • San Jose, California 95113
  • 4 Bed, 3 Bath, 2,400 SqFt
Photo of Listing #6791133
  • Active
  • $574,900
  • 1010 Midtown
  • MLS® #: 6791133
  • 1080 Peachtree Street NE Unit # 1412
  • Atlanta, Georgia 30309
  • 2 Bed, 2 Bath, 1,196 SqFt
Photo of Listing #6767264
  • Active
  • $449,900
  • Mayfair Renaissance
  • MLS® #: 6767264
  • 195 14th Street NW Unit # 1902
  • Atlanta, Georgia 30309
  • 2 Bed, 2 Bath, 1,345 SqFt

Everything within the condo is changeable with enough time and money but if you don't have a view that you love then you'll never have one in that location. So buy the condo with the view you want or the one that's next to your favorite park because even if you hate the kitchen cabinets or you don't like the tile that's in the bathroom, you can change those over time.

When you're deciding on which condo to buy just remember, you never want to sacrifice something you love (like the view or included amenities such as a pool or a gym room) for a condo with better kitchen cabinets but no pool, or view or lacking other amenities you can't change after the close.

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