Is Buying a Condo Right for You?

Condo living appeals to all ages, income levels and lifestyles throughout the greater Cincinnati real estate market. ButCincinnati condo living is buying a condo right for you?

Owning a home without having to worry about cleaning gutters, cutting grass or anything else outside your front (and back) door has its advantages.  And according to the Multiple Listing Service of Greater Cincinnati buyers have approximately 733 condos to shop ranging in price from $20,000. all the way to $2,220,000.

And also according to the MLS, the condo listings are available in just about every area:
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The first thing just about every potential condo buyer asks about is “how much are the condo fees”?  And usually when buyers hear high dollar amount- they move on to the next listing. That may be a huge mistake.

What the condo fees cover combined with reserves and budget information is really what potential condo owners should be concerned about. If you’re serious about buying a condo-ask to see the association’s financials. You want to see a good size “reserve fund” to handle updating, roads, maintenance and so on. If the reserves are minimal- you may be facing special assessments to handle future issues- in short the units with the lowest fees may end up costing you more when major repairs are required.

If you buy- please have a “whole house inspection” – remember as an owner you’re still responsible for the interior of the unit. So if a water heater, dishwasher, or shower wall is about to break -potential buyers would want to address the problems with the current homeowner.  In my experience any exterior repairs that would require the HOA to fix or repair- get a letter from the HOA affirming they will fix the problem and a date the fix should be completed.  So if the front steps to your unit are falling apart -the HOA and not the seller are usually responsible for repairs.  Don’t settle for “verbal” agreements covering repairs.

And finally many complexes restrict or prohibit rentals. If the plan is to live in the unit for a few years then use it as rental income- make sure you’re allowed to use as rental property.

Remember most purchase contracts include clauses requiring the seller to provide a copy of the “condo docs” which the buyer has a few days to review. Honestly most buyers just glance at them- I strongly suggest you take the time to read the document and question any items you don’t understand.

For many of today’s buyers purchasing a condo makes great sense but take a few extra minutes to read the fine print and understand the do’s and don’ts of the your next home.

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