Condominiums, many "garden style", which simply means like apartments, many units under one shared roof, sharing common areas like hallways, clubhouses, outdoor areas and sometimes laundry rooms, have been around for many decades in the United States. They see there peaks and valleys in value which reflect mainly with the economy. They are appealing to many for various reasons, but what are you really getting into when you buy one? What are the key factors to look for when picking out a particular complex?...and what makes them more or less desirable than single family home living?
Condominium living is particularly attractive to the person(s) who may work many hours at a job, travels a lot for work or may be getting up in age and can't maintain a yard or house projects or simply doesn't want the headaches of repairs and maintenance. Many of these people don't want to be constricted or tied down to yard work, snow removal or even outside painting. There is however a trade off. Its called HOA(Home Owners Association) fees. This is a monthly fee that all owners pay into a pool, if you will, that goes towards Master Insurance, maintenance of the grounds and common areas as well as sometimes Public Sewage and Water.
When investigating a complex, a potential buyer should not only look into its ease of commute to work and shopping, etc, but they should do their due diligence into the complex itself. How often are the fees increased and by how much? Is there any pending litigation against the association or management co? How quickly do repairs get remedied/completed? How is the snow removal in the winter months? How strong is the funds on a monthly basis? Is the management co, or if the complex is self managed, the association, always behind on paying the bills? How well are common areas like a clubhouse, gym or swimming pool maintained? Asking these questions are a good barometer for a potential buyer. If a buyer uses a real estate agent, which we always recommend, then a good agent will cover these concerns for you.
Another thing to consider when looking into a complex is their CCR(conditions, covenants and restrictions). Are you allowed to have a garden? A shed? A grill on your patio? Can you have pets? Are there restrictions to certain sizes and breeds of animals? How many parking spaces are you allowed? We have seen some restrictions to go as far as not allowing any hanging towels over an outside railing as well as keeping company cars that have lettering on it in a completely different parking lot. A copy of the associations condominium documents or Declarations of Conditions is always warranted.
We are at a time now, Spring of 2016, that condos are slowly increasing in value...especially if they are well managed. They tend to not stay on the market too long. Younger generations won't typically see being employed by the same company for decades, starting a family is second to establishing a solid career to many and as much as the internet is suppose to make our lives easier, it seems like we all have less and less free time. Condo living isn't for everyone, but before you buy, ask yourself some questions first. Its worth the extra effort.