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Questions to Ask about Condominiums

If you're looking into condominium sales in hopes of moving into one, you're probably aware already that this is a potentially life-changing decision. It's an important next step for many who decide they no longer wish to rent an apartment or lease their housing. Before you buy that attractive waterfront condo for sale, there are some vital questions you need to ask before you sign the dotted line.

  • How much money is in the reserve fund?
    The reserve fund is the money kept available for repairs and maintenance. As a general rule, the older the building, the more money should be in the fund. If the fund gets too low, you may face rising monthly fees.

  • What regular fees are assessed?
    Condos usually collect a monthly fee, called an assessment, from each unit to help with general upkeep. These can vary substantially, so make sure they will not pose a burden on you. But low fees can also cause problems because a luxury waterfront condo can fall into disrepair if there are no funds to maintain it.

  • Is the condo association run by the owners or an outside management company?
    Many condominiums are managed by the unit owners themselves. Others hire outsiders experienced in real estate management. Self-managed condos often have relatively low monthly fees, but they can run into problems when neighbors can't agree on housing regulations. If the condo is run by a professional management company, you should check their credentials.

  • What restrictions are in place?
    Because you will be sharing common elements, such as pools and laundry rooms, you need to check the rules and regulations governing these. Like apartment buildings, you may face restrictions on parking privileges and pet ownership, among other things. You may not be allowed to rent or lease your unit to others when and how you wish.
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    Condominiums are a great alternative to renting an apartment or townhouse because you will be the sole owner of the condo. Condominiums are basically apartments for sale or sometimes lease to own. Condominiums can have multiple bedrooms, be in high rise buildings downtown, and often times come with laundry facilities either in the condo itself or on the property. Newer luxury or contemporary condominiums sometimes come fully furnished and almost all of them have full kitchens.

    Condos often offer 24 hour security services for their residence so people can feel safe while they are at home or on vacation. Real estate agents play a very important role in condos for sale which is often different from when people lease property. Real estate agents will put listings online, in papers, and sometimes even magazines that appear in hotel lobbies. New condos are also featured in home magazines to show kitchen or bedroom styles and can also be featured in architecture magazines to debut new high rise designs.

    People who want to sell, do inspections, or appraisals on condominiums often need to be licensed by the state or county they work in and sometimes you need a realtor's license to sell a condo depending on the state you live in. Inspections and appraisals are often required or at least highly encouraged when buying a condo.

    Condominiums offer individuals and consumers various options for living and investing. They are a good alternative to renting or leasing because a person will own the property instead of paying monthly rent payments.