Condo living isn’t for everyone. That's why it's important to do a good bit of soul searching before you buy. Being honest with yourself about the type of person you are and whether you’d fit into condo life can save a lot of heartache in the long run.
Amenities and Convenience
One of the biggest advantages of condo living is the ability to share costs and enjoy amenities you might not be able to afford in a single-family residence. You can reap the benefits of luxurious swimming pools, on-site security, recreational facilities, cable television service, lawn care and building maintenance. These are just a few of the items a condo association might include in their monthly fees and they can be extremely convenient for an owner who does not have the time or desire to maintain a private home.
One of the potential downsides of condo living is a perceived lack of privacy. Although amenities and costs are shared, this also means you might give up a bit of privacy by living in close proximity to your neighbors and sharing common grounds or facilities. Yet, if you enjoy social interaction, condo living could be the perfect choice for your lifestyle.
If maintaining full control over your environment is important to you, then condo living might not be your best housing option. Living in a condo means living by rules and by-laws which you hope are adopted to serve the community as a whole. This means you might not have control over the decor, maintenance, noise levels or other issues that come with shared living. However, you can have a voice in what's going on around you through the voting process. In any case, it is wise to determine whether the majority of the residents have interests similar to yours to help you decide if a given condo is right for you.
For the most part, purchasing a condo is usually less expensive than purchasing a traditional home. This makes condo living an attractive option for first-time buyers and folks with limited budgets. However, you'll need to research some hidden costs before making a purchase.
At a minimum, condo associations charge monthly fees to cover the costs of shared common grounds, amenities, taxes and insurance. These fees are in addition to your personal mortgage note, taxes, insurance or utilities. Also, some associations can levy special assessments to cover the costs of capital improvements or unexpected expenses. Make sure you inquire about all monthly costs, including whether the association is planning any special assessments in the future. In the end, you'll be happiest with your new condo only if it fits both your lifestyle and your budget.
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