Today I want to offer a few basic tips for buying a condo in the Walnut Creek area. As a real estate broker, I’ve seen condos in Walnut Creek, CA (and the surrounding areas) become the number one type of home to sell and be bought. New families are seeking out condos and seniors looking to downsize their living situation are seeking out condos. While I can provide you with more detailed insight on what you should consider when buying (or selling) a condo, these basic tips will get you started in the right direction!
1. Obtaining financing for a condo is a bit trickier than purchasing a single-family home. The Federal Housing Administration in particular has a number of regulations before it will back a loan on a condo unit.
2. Condos come with strings.. and by strings attached I mean rules. Condo buildings may not allow pets. You have to ask a lot of questions when considering purchasing too, such as; can you rent out your unit in the future if you want? Are there quiet hours? Are there rules about shared spaces like a yard or pool? Next, are you willing to live within the rules and what are the penalties for breaking the rules?
3. Do you know where the association money is going every month? Many people fail to check into this. Most people want to know how much the monthly fees are but they don’t seem to care where the money is going. You should ASK! A well-run condo building will set aside a third of the money for major structural repairs or an emergency fund. The books should be open because you don’t want to buy a condo only to discover the association has no money for major and needed repairs!
4. Do you have a choice of your view? Most of the time the unit for sale is the unit for sale. But, if you like the the complex – ask if there are other units within the complex with a good view. Yes, a great view will increase the resale value at a later date. Always ask to see if the same complex and floor-plan are available but with a better view. Tip: Facing a pool isn’t always the best view for your lifestyle or for resale purposes. And you never want a view that faces a trash-bin or recycling area.
5. Parking pays! You have to consider if you are being assigned a parking spot or if it is open parking. If the complex only offers open parking, drive around during the morning and evening rush-hours. What is the real parking situation? Looking at parking lots during the day is very different than trying to find one when you come home from work or are trying to leave on the weekend.
Have more questions? Contact me. I’m always available to sit down and have a cup of local coffee with you while discussing your specific needs!