Category Title > Sam's Condo Buying Tips
New homeowners are often surprised... perhaps even a bit overwhelmed by the complexity and expense of buying a home
Are you considering home ownership?
New homeowners are often surprised... perhaps even a bit overwhelmed by the complexity and expense of buying a home. Are you new to the market and thinking to buy a home, your first home? A condo may be the right choice for you! After all, it's a great way to own a home without the extra complexity and expense of a single family house.
these tips to help guide you as you look for your condo:
1) Consider Location
Location, location, location... As with any real estate purchase, location is a key factor in your decision to buy. Begin your search by narrowing down the area/neighborhood where you’ll start looking. Consider factors important to you: schools, parks, shopping, restaurants, grocery stores, public transportation, health clubs, coffee shops, parking accessibility, access to major streets/highways, and consider any other amenities that are located close by. Chicago is full of many great neighborhoods, if your search is in Chicago or Chicago area, call me (I’d love to help).
2) Attend an Open House
One of the best ways to get a feel for a condo/home is to attend an open house, or you may consider scheduling a separate viewing (i.e., showing). Don't be shy, now is the time to ask questions, take notes and some of your own pics (Note: keep in mind, you may need to ask permission from the seller/tenant first if you want to take pics and should always be respectful of their property). Take a look around the building, look at storage areas (is the storage area organized, well lit, clean, and accessible?), parking locations (do you have assigned parking, garage parking, space for guests?), landscaping (is it well maintained?),common areas (security cameras, well lit, elevators, controlled access?), and amenities (is there a party room, weight room, laundry room, pool, doorman, valet?). Take a moment and chat with any neighbors you meet, are they friendly, what do they like or perhaps dislike about the building/neighbors/association?
3) Review Condo Agreements and HOA fees
Condos are different than apartments or single family houses. A couple major differences to consider are that condos involve communal property and HOA fees. What is communal property and what will it mean for you? You do own your living space, however, you’re also a part-owner of the communal property (e.g., the pool, party room, halls, parking lot/garage, etc...). Know what kinds of agreements are in force regarding common property and what the associations' reserve funds for building upkeep and maintenance are. Be sure to thoroughly review the condo’s homeowners’ association (i.e., HOA) agreement and covenant, conditions, and restrictions (i.e., CC&Rs) document. HOAs require condo owners to pay monthly fees for building maintenance and repair (Note: some HOA fees may even cover your heating, gas, and cable TV costs). However, HOA fees do not cover the repair and/or maintenance of the inside of your condo. CC&Rs contain rules on what you may or not do in your condo building and often include policies on pets, satellite dishes, and the color of a front door or perhaps even what paint colors you may use on your interior walls.
4) Budget for your purchase
Shop around for the best rates, keep in mind, first time buyers may qualify for down payment assistance. Down payment assistance is money, if you qualify for, that will help you with the down payment. This is money that, if you meet the requirements, you don’t have to pay back. Many people think you need 20% down to buy a home, you don’t, with as little as 3.5% you can own your own home (perhaps even less). Also, be sure you factor monthly fees into your condo purchase, after all, HOA fees affect your debt-to-income ratio and mortgage lenders factor it into how much you can afford.
This is where I come in, don't go it alone, contact me today (or if you are not in the Chicago area) a real estate professional familiar with your community to start your search.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff
2301 N. Clark St. Suite 202
Chicago, IL 60614
312-264-1261 / email@example.com