People will jump on me for this, and there are always a few exceptions to any rule, but I wouldnt buy a condo. I might not even help you buy one unless it made sense.They are the first to drop value and the last to increase. Many HOA (Home Owners Associations) are in trouble eithewr because so many people lost the places to foreclosure and are no longer paying the dues, or there are lawsuits against the property for improper construction, etc. This is especially true of many condos just quickly thrown up in the ealry 2000s.
If one totally fit your lifestyle, you could steal the thing and the HOA was really solid----MAYBE. Otherwise, why do you want to own something? What is your long term goal? Buying isnt always the best thing! (Im ducking now)
Regarding fees---different at each complex. Depends on how many owners are paying, what figure has been voted on to establish reserves for repairs, etc. They can go up or down according to the HOA agreement but also there may be riders to do large emergency increases. Ive seen HOA fee more than double to cover problems. Anyone selling a condo should have all the info at hand that you need. All the pet rules, rental rules, etc. Usually they dont want rentals. Why? As the percentage of renters vs owners increases, lenders will not loan onthe units. Renters usually dont care as much about upkeep as an owner.
Also, the marketis not at its bottom. It may be near it now in certain categories. The world of real estate values is changhing rapidly. The future hold surprises depending on whats going to happen to the millions of homes now held by or being taken by banks.