Home Buying in 20171>Question Details

Neesha, Home Buyer in Herndon, VA

What are the Pros and Cons of buying a Condominium in Northern Virginia area? Specifically Ashburn, VA Appreciate detailed points.

Asked by Neesha, Herndon, VA Mon May 23, 2011

Help the community by answering this question:


Hello Neesha,

The benefits and drawbacks of condo living need to be weighed against your own criteria. Is security more important to you than distance from your neighbors? Are you comfortable with community living? Don't want yard work? Here is a list of the basic pros and cons of condo living to help you make your decision.


Low maintenance: Someone else takes care of the shoveling the snow, cutting the grass, and roof maintenance for you.

Affordability: While condominiums have a wide price range, the lower range is often within the budget of first-time buyers and individuals who may find single-family houses unaffordable.

Amenities: Most condominium developments offer a range of amenities in the common areas. This means that you may have access to a swimming pool, gym or tennis courts.

Condominium association: Every unit owner is a member of the condo association, which also has an elected board. The association serves to enforce bylaws, handles maintenance and repair issues, and deals with disputes with developers or between unit owners. So it's important that owners get involved with the association.


Fees: Monthly condo fees go toward maintenance and repair of the common areas. There are occasionally additional assessment fees to handle larger repair jobs. Your fees may also be paying for amenities, such as a swimming pool, that you may not use.

Resale: Condominiums are more sensitive to trends in the real estate market than single-family homes. If the market takes a downturn, condos are usually the first to suffer and the last to recover. In addition, new lending rules have made it pretty hard for some condo owners to sell there units if 15% or more of the total number of condo owners are 30 days or more delinquent on their condo dues, a new buyer WILL NOT be able to get a FHA or any government backed loan to purchase your unit. This is VERY important!

Rules: Condos are governed by a set of rules called Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs). This can include restrictions on noise levels, pet ownership, renovations, and even what kind of curtains you can put in your windows.

Condominium association: Because the condo association is made up of homeowners rather than property-management professionals, the association may be weak and inefficient. If the association is not active on collecting outstanding dues, this could cause the delinquency rate to exceed 15%, and then no one will be able to sell to a buyer with a FHA loan, and in the condo market, that's about 20 to 50% of the buyers. ALSO...you must find out if the association is "financially" ok. Some associations have gone bankrupt.

Overall, buying a condo is an affordable way to transition from being a renter to home owner. The average sales price for a condo in the Ashburn area is $177,000.

Below is a article that will shed a little more light, and give you a checklist of what to watch for.

I hope this was helpful to you, and if I can answer any more questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Martin H. Thomas
Avalar Smart Choice Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 25, 2011
Martin did a great job outlining some of the pros and cons. One thing I will add is that condos can also be a great place for people that travel a lot. When you have a house and you leave for part of the week, it is more obvious that you are gone, and if you have an issue like a frozen pipe, nobody will know. With a condo, there are a lot more neighbors around.

If you are considering a condo, check out the link below for some tips on what to look for in the condo docs.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 26, 2011
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