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Michael Haigh's Blog

By Michael Haigh | Mortgage Broker
or Lender in Burlingame, CA

Is a Condominium Better than a Single Family Home?

The answer is it depends mostly on your needs. But, with condominiums, one must do more research and understand what is being bought (a community of multiple residences that share common area spaces) to determine if it really is better.

So, what's important to look at when it comes to a condominium? First and foremost is to make sure that the Home Owners' Association (HOA) is strong financially and management wise. The key is to read the HOA documents package from cover to cover and get some additional feedback from your real estate agent. Do a deep title search on the property to see if there are any liens or lawsuits.

Interview the property management company to see what they do, if there are many issues with late home owner dues, how much money is in the reserve fund, when was the last time they did a reserve study, and what kind of insurance they having including liability, workman's compensation, earthquake, etc.

Next, make sure you read the “Covenants and Conditions and Restrictions” package (CC+Rs) that is prepared and provided by law by the HOA. This package will reinforce your research. Additionally, it includes bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, the operating budget, reserve funding and schedule, insurance information, the minutes of the meetings and newsletters, memos, etc. You also might want to have an attorney that specializes in reviewing these documents read them and give you an opinion. It will be well worth the fee.

From first time homebuyers attracted to the affordability of a condo to the empty nester that is looking for hassle free living, a condominium is exactly the right answer. Additionally, some condominiums have amenities like 24-hour doorman service, pools, spas, gym facilities, etc. that provide extra benefits. Just make sure that you do your homework. You want to buy in a strong, well run, and adequately financed condominium.

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