Also, make sure you know exactly what the HOA dues cover. Exterior maintenance including roof and siding repair/replacement is not always covered by your HOA dues, suprisingly enough. Termite bond may or may not be included. Low HOA dues are not always a good thing, you must investigate to find out what you are getting, and your agent can help you with that. Also make sure you read the Restrictive Covenants carefully. Some developments prohibit rentals, which can be a benefit to the community but can also be a stumbling block for resale since it eliminates all investor-buyers. You will want to know what restricitons are put on how you can use your property before you go under contract.
The last piece of advice I would give you is to talk to your lender about whether going VA is actually the best route for you. You have a great down payment, and you may be able to go conventional and avoid that big Funding Fee.
Good luck, welcome to Raleigh, and most importantly, thank you for your service! Please feel free to email me if you still have questions!
Check to see if the community is approved for FHA financing at https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/condlook.cfm even if you are not planning to get an FHA loan. Condo associations must qualify annually now for FHA financing and marginal communities will not qualify. Obviously, the ability to qualify for FHA financing will also affect your resale potential.
Your agent can also be a valuable resource in helping you to evaluate condos. Look for an agent with experience in listing and selling condos in the area where you wish to live.
There are different considerations for new condo developments, depending on how much longer the developer will be running the association and when it will transition to full homeowner control. It is definitely advisable to have a buyer's agent to help you evaluate condo communities.
Good luck and welcome to the Triangle!
You pay your HOA fees and the HOA is responsible for maintenance of the exterior of the building and landscaping. You have a great downpayment though and if you are putting more than 20% down you will not have to pay PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance), so that can offset your HOA fees. There are also financial incentives for the first time home buyer when it comes to borrowing money and your lender can discuss these with you.
Please feel free to contact me if I can help you.
Look out for street signs in a subdivision that have a small yellow imprint that says "Private road". It means you as a homeowner own that road, along with the others. When ice or snow needs to be removed, DOT won't be doing it - your association will pay a private person/company to do it.
Before writing a contract on a condo, check with your lender. Some lenders will not provide financing for condos that have a high percentage of renters. Also with your HOA, if roofs on townhomes haven't been replaced in 15-20 years, your dues may increase - because the HOA leadership hasn't budgeted well for repairs. http://www.GreaterRaleighRealEstate.com
I would make sure to look at the HOA fees. They can range from $60-$200+ dollars in Raleigh. These are monthly fees that are not a part of your monthly payment. Also ask to see what those HOA fees cover i.e amenities, water etc.
Best of luck!