The Pros/Cons of condo living

Condo living can have its perks. However, when contemplating the purchase of a condo instead of a house, it's important to weigh both the pros and cons. Here are some factors to consider.

Close quarters. If privacy is important to you, maybe condo living isn't for you. Neighbors are often right across the hall or on the other side of a wall. Unlike a single-family dwelling that may offer trees and a perimeter fence for privacy, expect to share space with others.

Association fees. A monthly fee, independent of your mortgage, goes towards the upkeep of the property. When considering a purchase, it is crucial to factor these fees into your overall budget.
Resale value. When it comes time to move, if there are a lot of units available in your building, expect fierce competition.

Rules and regulations. Unlike a home, condo owners are subject to rules and regulations, and suffer financial or legal consequences for violations. Frequently there are restrictions on renovations, noise and even the size of pets that are permitted.

Repairs. Any maintenance or repairs in your building are not your responsibility. Don't worry about the torn shingles, leaking roof or broken furnace, your association fees will cover it.

Security. Many condos offer extra security, such as a doorman and gated entries. Also, with so many neighbors, help is never far away.

Added perks. Some complexes offer amenities that are out of reach to many homeowners, such as a clubhouse, fitness center or a community pool.

Key areas to focus when viewing a home

The necessity of a home inspection cannot be stressed enough. Even in new homes, an inspection is essential to protect the buyer and make them aware of any issues with the home. After the inspection the buyer has the opportunity to negotiate with the seller and reach an agreement to either repair the property or to lower the sales price to compensate the buyer for the cost of the repairs. Alternatively, the seller can decide to sell the home as-is, in which case he or she is declining to make repairs or lower the sales price, and the buyer must decide whether or not to buy the home at the original agreed-upon sales price.
  • Essentially, the inspection evaluates and discloses the condition of the structure to the buyers. Three major areas to pay particular attention to in your inspection report are the property's foundation, plumbing and attic.
  • Solid foundation. Significant cracks, shifting or sinking of the foundation are serious and often quite costly to repair. Consider hiring a structural engineer to perform a second inspection if you have serious concerns about the inspector or condition of the foundation.
  • It's all in the pipes. Leaks, even previous leaks that have been fixed can be problematic. Inspectors will look for signs of mold, mildew or fungus that are the result of water damage.
  • Hit the roof. An attic will alert the inspector to rodent damage, previous fire damage, inadequate insulation, leaks, and water damage or structure faults.