conditions when buying a condo

Condo Buying Checklist: What to Look Out for When Buying a Condo

Condo Buying Checklist: What to Look Out for When Buying a Condo

Apartment Complex Floor Plan - ID 69901 - Building Plans by Maramani

So, you've saved up enough money to purchase your apartment, transitioning you from being a tenant to an actual homeowner.

But you feel you won't have enough time to deal with the maintenance issues that come with owning a house. Issues like lawn mowing, environmental sanitization, and waste management among others.

If this is the case, then buying a condo can just be the right thing to do.

Condominium (or condo for short) is very popular in large harbor cities. In simple formal terms, a condo is simply a single residential unit of a high-rising or multifamily building owned by an individual.

While it's quite similar to most rental apartments, the major difference is that condos are usually bought and not rented.

Owning a condo can be a nice compromise between renting an apartment and owning one. You don’t only get the relief and benefits of being a homeowner, but you also ease yourself of having much burden when it comes to maintenance.

As a condo owner, you generally share a building with other residents. That is, the cost of maintaining the building is shared by all condo owners in the building, which can save you a lot of money in most cases.

While it's easy to get carried away by the benefits that come with owning a condo, it is important to keep in mind that it's quite different from buying a house.

Unlike a house where you’re free to do and make changes to your building as you see fit, the ownership of a condo is mostly restricted to the walls of the apartment. There are stipulated rules and guidelines that residents are required to comply with.

As a condo owner, you’re required to pay a regular maintenance fee (monthly or yearly) for the upkeep of the building.


What to Look Out for When Buying a Condo

In this section, we shall be discussing the complete condo buying checklist that contains things to consider when buying a condo. This will help you to adequately decide if the condo you plan to buy is worth paying for.


1. Make Enquiries about the Rules

    questions to ask when buying a condo

    This is a very important thing to do because, as a condo owner, you’re one of the multi residents of a particular building. There are going to be rules and restrictions set in place to allow all residents to live in harmony.

    You need to make inquiries from your real estate agent about such rules to know if they’re okay with you.

    Before purchasing the apartment, you are likely to be presented with documents containing all the policies that govern every activity in the building, which each resident is expected to abide by.

    Endeavor to go through those documents thoroughly because there might not be room for changes after you append your signature.


    2. Consider the Environment and Location

      Unlike renting an apartment, which can be a short term agreement, purchasing a condo is normally a long term decision. So, you need to be sure that you are picking the right location and environment to reside in.

      This is important when it's a new location or you’re planning to move in from another state or neighborhood. You need to make inquiries about the environment, security, climate, and proximity to your workplace, among other factors.

      Regardless of how adorable or well-built the building is, not considering this can make life in the condo unpleasant.


      3. Enquire About Things that Are Allowed in the Apartment

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        While, as a condo owner, you’re free to do whatever you like within the realm of your apartment (as long as it doesn't violate your residential agreement), some buildings can have restrictions on things that can be brought into the apartment.

        This can be in the form of restrictions on certain electronic gadgets, the kinds and number of pets allowed in an apartment, or the number of people that can be in an apartment at a specific point in time.

        You’ll usually be informed about this before moving into the apartment, but it's still something to consider when searching for a condo that fits your current possession.


        4. Enquire About the Fees

          Most condo complexes require each owner to pay a regular monthly or yearly fee for the maintenance of the building through the Homeowner Association (HOA). These fees are used to pay for the general upkeep of the building with excess fees being kept for major repairs.

          It's advisable to make inquiries about such fees to be sure that they’re within your monthly or annual budget before paying for the apartment.

          As explained earlier, this is one of the things that make owning a condo different from owning a house.

          But it can be worth the pay after considering the ease of maintenance that comes with owning a condo and the fact that in most cases, condos are more affordable when compared to a house.


          5. Seek Financial Approval

            conditions when buying a condo

            When you decide to make a huge financial investment like buying a condo, you must seek financial advice and approval from your financial manager before proceeding, especially if you’re planning to buy the apartment with a loan.

            If you intend to purchase the condo on a loan or mortgage, you might be required to clear any outstanding deficit you have on your record.

            When you consider applying for an FHA loan, it’s also important to check if the condo is approved by FHA and eligible for FHA financing.


            6. Enquire About the Basic Amenities

              All condos are different. And depending on your needs, some condo complexes feature basic amenities like swimming pools, gyms, laundry, garage, and so on.

              When looking for a condo to buy, you must let your real estate agent be aware of the type of basic amenities you want in your condo.

              It's always advisable to consider buildings with more basic amenities regardless of whether you plan to utilize them or not. This is because it can add a lot of value to the apartment if you ever decide to sell it in the future.


              7. Check for Policies Regarding Rental

                how to buy a condo for the first time

                It’s not everyone that purchases a condo that plans to live in it. In the same vein, it is not every condo complex that supports the leasing of condo apartments to other individuals.

                So, if your main plan for purchasing a condo is to be able to rent it out to someone else, you should speak to your agent or whoever is in charge of the complex to confirm if it's allowed before proceeding with the purchase.


                8. Watch Out For Any Hidden Cost

                  Apart from the obvious payment of the Homeowners Association (HOA) fee (which all condo owners are expected to pay), it's important to look out for any hidden cost. These hidden charges might exist in the form of long-term leases on fixtures passed along to owners, or necessary maintenance and general renovation cost.

                  While you will be informed of this in person or documentation during the purchase process, it is important to put this into consideration when searching for an ideal condo, especially if you’re on a strict budget.


                  9. Personal Inspection

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                    Doing a personal inspection before paying for anything can go a long way because you can see things yourself and then decide if it's ideal for you or not.

                    When it comes to purchasing a condo, personal inspection is also quite important. It helps to answer a series of questions like: is the apartment in good shape? Is it spacious enough to fit personal stuff? Does it exist on a very high floor that might feel too uncomfortable for me?

                    These are the types of questions a single visitation can answer.

                    Also, an inspection allows you to know and meet those who are going to be your prospective neighbors. This opens the opportunity to ask general questions about life in the building.


                    10. Condos Are Not for Everybody

                      It might be advisable to seek other house ownership options within your budget before you consider settling for a condo. This is because it is not everyone that can handle the politics that exist in sharing a building with residents that have almost the same rights as you.

                      There's going to be trouble, particularly when it comes to financial matters. If home maintenance is the reason for your wanting to purchase a condo, it is advisable that you simply buy a house (if it's within your budget). Then, opt for appropriate home cleaning services like residential cleaning services, waste management services, and lawn mowing services to help you to effectively maintain your home.



                      When it comes to purchasing a condo (or any property in general), one key thing that can enable you to successfully purchase one is proper communication. Endeavor to speak with your agent and communicate your budget and needs.

                      Also, communicating with the residents or neighbors of the property you’re willing to buy can go a long way. This can reveal a lot of things that won't be documented or explained at the time of purchase.

                      With all that has been said, we hope that you’re now aware of the things to look out for before purchasing a condo. And you’re now able to make the best decision for yourself concerning that.

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