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Common Questions When Buying A Condo

Monday, August 15, 2016   /   by Teresa Dipeso

Common Questions When Buying A Condo

Owning a single-family style home offers the most amount of freedom when it comes to what you can and can't do to your property.  However, not everyone wants to deal with the common headaches such as upkeep and repair, especially if you're only using the property for the summer season.  If you live an hour or two from your summer home, you very possibly don't want to have to worry about constant check-ins.  Thus, many opt for condos, since they require less work and vigilance.  However, there are some drawbacks and concerns.  It's always a trade off of pros and cons.  

Here are some common questions that you may have or probably should have when buying a condominium:

---What are the fees?  Typical condo fees will run between $175-$400, unless you are buying a more upscale unit with tons of amenities.  As a Realtor, I can quickly get you the fees for the units in which you're interested.  What's typically covered in your fees are things OUTSIDE your unit, such as landscaping, pool upkeep, minor repairs, insurance and liability.  Sometimes but certainly not always, utilities might be included.  Generally, what's INSIDE is your responsibility, and what's external is managed for you and paid for in your fees.

---Can I see the financial statements?  You will definitely want to know whether the condo association is in the red or in the black.  A solvent association is very important, for obvious reasons.  You want your association to have the capital to be able to make repairs and pay its obligations when they are needed and due.  Also, many people will rent their condo unit when they aren't using it themselves.  Has the unit been a money-maker?  How much can you get in season?  How much you can rent it out for will help you determine if you can afford it.

---Are there any upcoming assessments?  Ask ahead of time, and avoid being blindsided.  Assessments are one-time, upfront payments provided by unit owners for MAJOR repairs, such as replacing all the windows, the roof, etc.  A structurally sound building is in your best interest, not least of all for resale value, so don't get spooked by the concept of assessments.  However, you'll want to know if one is coming once you get the keys.  

---What are the rules?  Every condo association sets its own rules and uses.  These can vary pretty dramatically, which is a good thing as it lets you find a unit that suits your needs, one that you aren't paying for privileges that you don't need or want.  For instance, are pets allowed?  Is the unit all-year usable?  Can you decorate your front door?  What's the deal with the parking?  As you can imagine, this as a very important thing to look into!  

---Who is the caretaker?  Most condos have an on-site manager.  But, are they year-round?  Is there a front desk to handle your rentals for you, or are you going to be responsible for that?  

These are all important questions to ask, and I can help you answer all of them.  While it may seem like a lot to consider, don't worry.  There is a reason so many people own condos: they are convenient and easy to own.  Whether you want to use it as an investment property and collect rent, or use it yourself as a low-maintenance shore getaway, or some mix of the two, condos are a great way to go!  I've represented MANY buyers of condominiums, and would be very happy to help you navigate the process.  


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Teresa M DiPeso & The DiPeso Group Jersey Shore Real Estate Experts
Teresa M. DiPeso
Long & Foster
Avalon/Stone Harbor/Cape May/Sea Isle/Wildwoods, NJ 08202
609-780-1434

The data relating to real estate for sale on this web site comes in part from the Broker Reciprocity program of the Cape May County Multiple Listing Service. Real estate listings held by brokerage are marked with the Broker Reciprocity logo or the Broker Reciprocity thumbnail logo (a little black house) and detailed information about them includes the name of the listing brokers.
The data relating to real estate for sale on this web site comes in part from the Broker Reciprocity program of the South Jersey Shore Regional MLS. Real estate listings held by brokerage are marked with the Broker Reciprocity logo or the Broker Reciprocity thumbnail logo (a little black house) and detailed information about them includes the name of the listing brokers.
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