For some reason people tend to believe that purchasing a condominium (condo) is harder than buying a traditional home. This isn’t true. For some first time homebuyers, a home may be easier to get into versus buying a condo – but that is more of a lending issue and it is one that seldom arises. This said, I wanted to provide my audience with 3 free tips to know when considering purchasing a condo in Northern California.
Here we go;
- You may or may not need added insurance. Before you can insure your unit and belongings with a condo policy (known as an HO6), you need to know what the homeowner association’s master policy for the building actually provides. The association’s bylaws will tell you and your insurance agent whether it covers everything (an “all-in” policy) or everything except the interior of your unit.
- Can you afford to keep up with the homeowner’s association’s required maintenance rules? Many HOAs require unit owners to keep up a certain appearance at the owner’s expense. For example, if you get a dent in your garage door as a homeowner, you can repair the cosmetic issue when you’re financially ready. If you have an attached garage with your condo and the same thing happens, you usually have to fix it immediately or pay a fine. When buying a condo, make sure you are prepared for these immediate expenses should they arise.
- Before buying, check to see that the other condo owners are friendly and seem likely to be people with whom you would get along. You will be living in very close proximity to other residents, much like an apartment, and you should get a feel as to who lives where and in which units. For example, if you buy based only on a model unit- you can be moving in next to a unit where the residents behave as if they are in a fraternity. Make sure you look at both the model unit and then meet the people who will be your actual neighbors.