If you’re in the market for a new home in Seattle, a condominium can be a charming and convenient option. Condos are often less expensive to buy than houses or townhouses, and they can offer conveniences you might not otherwise be able to afford. Yet there are caveats to condo ownership, as well.
A condo is a building made up of multiple apartments that are individually owned. Each owner contributes to the cost and upkeep of the exterior structure and any common areas and amenities. Condo owners do not hold title to the land on which the building rests.
For the homebuyer, the advantages of condos are numerous. In some built-up neighborhoods, condos may be the only available option for home buyers, or the most practical because of their proximity to shopping centers and work.
Condo communities may also feature amenities that you may not otherwise be able to afford if purchasing a townhouse or single-family house, such as pools, play areas, or tennis courts.
Another nice perk to condo ownership is that condos can save you from the need to manage the building maintenance and any amenities. That’s right…no mowing lawns! Some interior issues, such as plumbing and electricity, may be managed by the complex’s community association as well.
Related Post: Should We Buy a Condo to Rent Out?
As far as connecting socially, condos can be great for singles, couples, and families. You’re elbow to elbow with your neighbors and shared access areas mean greater opportunities for you to meet new people.
What is the downside? Less privacy. With neighbors in close proximity, sharing walls and building access, neighbors might be able to hear your conversations or the music you play, while watching the movements you and others make to and from your condo unit.
Before buying, it’s recommended to check to see that the other condo owners are friendly and seem likely to be people you’d get along with.
Condos are known to be cheaper than townhouses or single-family houses, as the use of the available space has been maximized, with many condos built on a piece of land. However, in a declining market, condos can be more difficult to sell if the condominium community association is a pain or the association fees are astronomical.
Most associations will impose fees for building maintenance, whereas in another type of home, you pay for expensive renovations or maintenance projects at a time when you can afford them.
Read more: 3 Things to Know Before Buying a Condo
Be sure to check out the minutes of the community association’s meetings to see if there are outstanding maintenance issues that are likely to be expensive on the unit you’re considering. Additionally, obtain a copy of the building’s certificate of insurance and see if building development costs will be covered.
When considering a condo purchase, take your time to look at the building, all contracts, rules, and paperwork. Do you like its size? Is it in the right neighborhood? Is the building properly maintained and are the amenities all you’d hoped for?
Be leery if there are a lot of condos for sale in the building. This could mean that there is a high level of unhappiness with the building and living conditions.
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