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Lynn Holley's Blog

By Lynn Holley | Agent in Madison, WI

3 Things Not to Overlook When Buying a Condo

When it comes to buying a condo there are some aspects of the sale that might be overlooked. Today we'll focus on more than just getting the right price, good resale prognosis, location and more than one bathroom as a must-have. After all, this is a buyer’s market so the only thing that is left to do here is to find the truly very best. For you, that is. So if you want to save some money on headache medicine and enjoy carefree living in your fabulous condo/townhouse, try to find out as much as possible on these topics in advance.

The financial condition of the Homeowner Association.

Is there a reserve? A healthy cash reserve available makes the homeowners better protected in case an expensive repair becomes necessary. Is there any special assessment being anticipated? How about a foreclosure or short sale pending? Usually, if homeowners fall behind on a mortgage payment they also stop paying the association dues which might have to be made up by the other owners.

Percentage of owner occupancy.

Are you one of a few owners who live in their unit when everybody else rents? If so, you might have a hard time to enforce any improvements and updates to the common areas. Tenants may be lacking the pride of ownership ingredient since they live there only temporarily. The absent owners are typically interested in the best return on investment and avoiding any additional expenses. In addition, some lenders refuse to issue a loan for the new buyer if more than 25% of the units are rented out. Now, on the flip side, do you really want to buy your condo if there is a rental restriction? Perhaps you too in a couple of years would like to move and keep your unit as an investment condo.

Who manages the property?

It costs more to hire a professional management company to run the complex but it might save money in the long run. Professional managers negotiate better for services because they usually represent a large number of complexes. Keep in mind that your unit’s resale value depends a lot on the way the complex has been managed.

In the end, buying a condo is like buying any other property. There will be some things you’ll love about it and some things that you can live without. I hope that you’ll find these few tips helpful.

If you have a question or come across a condo related issue you'd like more information about, do not hesitate to contact me at (608) 662-9662 or lholley@kw.com.

Thanks for reading!


By Sadie Ream,  Sat Jan 12 2013, 17:18
Great read! Thanks for the post!
By Edyta Gryc - Broker Associate,  Sat Jan 12 2013, 18:41
Great tips.
By Chad Gray,  Mon Jan 14 2013, 04:27
Terrific advice for potential condo buyers.

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