When it comes to investing in real estate, it's only natural that buyers have many questions. They often deliberate over what to buy, where to buy and how much to pay for it. For those who decide to purchase condos, there may be even more to consider.
A condominium is a type of property that is owned by more than one person. Typically, a condominium property consists of a large complex of apartment-like units or townhouses. Each of these units is owned by a different condo owner. In such a situation, a unit owner owns everything inside his unit, including the walls. However, the individual owners typically share rights to the property's other areas, such as elevators, pool houses, lounges and hallways.
One of the advantages of a condo is that the individual owners don't have to handle exterior maintenance and repairs. For example, there is typically a management association that is responsible for making sure that the grounds of a condominium are kept in good repair. If there is snow to shovel and grass to cut, the association typically takes care of it. Things that need repairing inside a unit, such as a broken washing machine or an overflowing toilet, are usually handled by the owner of that particular unit.
With condo ownership, some of the advantages can also be looked at as disadvantages. For example, though a unit owner is not responsible for exterior maintenance and repairs, she does help to pay for them. This is because she typically pays condominium association fees, which cover the costs of such maintenance and repairs. Additionally, she may be responsible for special assessment fees, which are sometimes charged to each unit owner. For example, a special assessment fee may be charged on a one-time basis when the entire condominium property needs roof work.
Some people consider condominiums good buys because they offer perks that a person may not be able to afford on his own. For example, if you buy a condo, you may get use of a pool, recreational center, tennis court, basketball court and clubhouse as part of the deal. On the flip side, however, you may not have as much privacy as you would in another type of property. Typically, each unit is very close to its neighboring unit.
Location can have much to do with whether or not a condo is a good buy. Many condos are built in urban areas, making it possible for people to get to work easily. Others are built in suburban areas within close proximity to highways and public transportation. It's a good idea to consider the surrounding area and whether or not a condo property is likely to appreciate in value or go down, based on expectations for the area in which it was built.
According to LendingTree, condos may be less expensive than single-family homes. However, this depends on the particular condominium property. While a lower price for buying a condo may sound like a good deal, it's also important to consider the potential for having to sell it later. In some cases, it may be more difficult to sell a condo than a single property, as people have to consider association fees and the fact that they will only own the unit's interior instead of the entire property. Likewise, if the association has done a poor job of managing the property, it may be difficult to entice a buyer.