Choosing a condo to buy is an exciting event. It can be so exciting, in fact, that it might be easy to make a snap decision in a moment of new-home buying euphoria, with feelings that are somewhat akin to falling head over heels the moment you meet someone. You may be so infatuated by the new place that you neglect to take the time to step back and consider the possible faults there may be with your object of instant adoration. To avoid making this kind of hasty decision, it’s a good idea to have an idea of what kinds of things to consider in order to make a rational, well-thought-out decision.
Keeping it short and sweet, let’s take a look at 7 quick points to help keep you level-headed when met with those invisible condo-cupids waiting to render you illogically “gah-gah” over a place.
- It’s a good idea to hire an agent to help in your search. First of all, it doesn’t cost the buyer anything since the agent is paid by the seller of the property. It’s very useful to have an agent as a facilitator for negotiating and writing your offer to purchase. Finally, an agent will keep you on time and informed about all the legalities involved.
- Don’t make a choice until you see a variety of styles: low-rise, high-rise, with or without amenities such as a doorman, swimming pool, or gym facilities. Don’t rule out any style until you’ve actually seen it. You might be surprised about what you think if you visit a style you didn’t think you’d fancy.
- About amenities: Don’t automatically assume that fewer amenities equates to lower condo fees and vice-versa. As a matter of fact, you might find that bigger condo developments, with many amenities, may have lower condo fees because the overall cost is spread among many residents.
- Location x 3 = Important. Consider how far you are from places you go on a daily basis; You know, that place you have to go every week day for 7-8 hours in order to pay for your new condo. Visit the neighborhood more than once, at different times of the day so you can get a feel for the environment. Also related to location, pay attention to the view and the direction of the sun. Both can affect resale value, so make sure your unit isn’t overlooking where the garbage is collected and picked up. Keep in mind that a southern exposure might be great for letting in an abundance of sunlight, it may also be a tad roasting in the summer.
- Size matters for re-sale value. When you’re considering what size condo to purchase, think beyond the immediate. Maybe you don’t feel like you really care to have a unit with bedrooms as opposed to a cozy little studio. Once you’ve decided on a community, it’s best to purchase the biggest condo you can afford in that community. When and if you decide to move, the smaller the unit, the more difficult time you’re likely to have selling it.
- You’ll want to check for restrictions to decorations, pet sizes, and renovations. You can count on there being fairly strict rules about these kinds of things. For example, it’s very common for condos to allow residents to only have white drapery facing the street in order to keep the building looking neat and uniform from the outside. You will always need to consult with the board before doing substantial renovations to your unit. Therefore, if you’re the highly individualistic, rebelious type who has ideas of hanging fuchsia curtains onto the window facing your neon-lit balcony where you spend time with your Great Dane, you might want to reconsider.
- So, you’ve considered all these points and more and you think you’ve found the condo of your dreams? Not so fast! Try to get access to the minutes of the last few condo meetings. This will give you information about how the association handles needed repairs or issues. It’s better to find out before committing, only to find out there are skeletons in the closet of your beloved.