Before every Realtor in the State of Wisconsin chimes in offering to help you buy this year instead of rent...let me answer your question with candor not usually found on this forum.
Short Answer: Yes, you can ask Sellers if they are willing to rent instead of sell.
Long Answer: Don't bother. You will have to wait in line behind all the people who want to buy. The real estate market pulled a U-turn sometime in March and it is a whole different ballgame now. Multiple offers, bidding wars, short days on market, mobbed open houses, difficulty scheduling inspections and closings, lenders are out of their mind...sort of like 2006.
In real life, anybody with a house to sell is likely buying another house...and needs the equity from the sale for the down payment on the new one, not a stream of rental income for a year.
I advertise on and use realtytrac, trulia and zillow for Monona. Some agents may not respond anymore because the leads don't respond back. Also, home owners that are in trouble tend not to respond right away if at all.
Call or email if you have any questions,
It would be best to talk to an agent in the area where you are considering purchasing because all real estate is local. It's also a good idea to speak with an agent who will be representing you and your interests in a transaction for an unbiased opinion.
Generally speaking, anytime you place limits on who can buy in an area, your prospects for a sale will be less than if the playing field is open to anyone. That said, there are people who prefer to be in a community that reflects their age demographic and they would welcome the opportunity to be a part of such an association. Normally in an age restricted community, it is still a requirement that 20% of the units are available to people of all ages.
A few things to keep in mind when purchasing a condominium include financing and number of units sold. In some areas, financing will be limited especially when a development is new. Many lenders will restrict the type of loan being available when there is fewer than 80% of the total project sold. The restriction could be that they may only offer an adjustable rate mortgage or they may expect a greater downpayment, etc. In areas where condominiums have been overbuilt and are just sitting on the market without being completed, you may see the developer offering units at a lower cost than those which were sold earlier in the project. This is a tough pill to swallow for a current owner who may have paid a higher price and could not compete with the builder should they need to sell in this market.
Another issue when considering a condominium is the association fees. Be sure to compare apples to apples in regards to what you're getting for your money. Review balance sheets from the association to get a clear snapshot of how financially solvent the entity is, and their history of added costs to the owners as well as outstanding and anticipated overhead. When buying into a development which is new and still in the hands of the builder, it may be difficult to get a true comparison because the development will lack a financial history.