Condominiums, townhomes, and properties located within a homeowner association offer certain perks, but it’s important to consider them in your decision process.
1) How much storage is available?
Some properties include storage lockers, but there may not be attics or basements to hold extra belongings.
2) How’s the outdoor space?
Your yard may be smaller than you’d find in a traditional single-family home, so if you like to garden or entertain outdoors, this may not be a good fit. But if you dread yard work, it may be the perfect option.
3) Are amenities important?
Many properties offer swimming pools, fitness centers, and other facilities that would cost much more in a single-family setting.
4) Who handles maintenance and security?
Property managers often hire professionals to care for common areas and perform in-unit repairs. Keyed entries and doormen may regulate access to your home when you’re not there (good news if you travel).
5) Are there required reserve funds and association fees? How much are they?
Although fees generally help pay for amenities and provide savings for future repairs, the HOA or condo board determines these fees, and you’ll have to pay them even if you’re not in favor of the improvements.
6) What are the association rules? Although you have a vote on future changes, association rules can dictate how you use your property. Some condos prohibit home-based businesses; others prohibit pets or don’t allow owners to rent out their units. Read the covenants, restrictions, and bylaws carefully before you make an offer.
7) What’s the average vacancy rate?
It’s never too early to be thinking about resale. The ease of selling your unit may depend on what else is for sale in your building, since units are similar.
8) How many units are owned by investors?
Some lenders require a certain percentage of the building to be owner-occupied and may not be able to offer you financing if the ratio is too low.
9) Can I meet other residents before making an offer?
You will share space and decision-making duties with your neighbors when part of a homeowner association, so it’s important to make sure you can work together. If possible, try to meet your closest prospective neighbors before you decide on a place.