Austin Condos Real Estate Blog

Questions You Need to Ask When Buying a Condo

Buying a condo is just like buying a home-- it has its pros and cons. Condos are cheaper, rarely requires you to do "the dirty work" (thanks to shared maintenance), and provides you with great amenities such as gym membership, pool use, and other facilities that are available in the property. However, the downside of living in a condo is that monthly dues are expensive (you don't do your landscaping but you're paying someone to do it for you) and you have to strictly comply with the rules of the condo board that regulates condo living.

To prepare yourself for the condo life ahead of you, you have to ask these important questions to your condo board to know what to expect before you actually purchase or move in: 

How much is the monthly fee?

Condos charge a monthly fee that pays for the entire upkeep of the residential building. Ranging from $200 to $400, this monthly fee covers costs OUTSIDE your condo such as pool maintenance, landscaping, security, etc. Since you're going to pay this every month for the next X number of years that you're going to live in the condo, you have to ask the board exactly what your monthly fee covers. A general rule of thumb is that anything outside your condo should be taken care of by the board. The maintenance INSIDE your condo, on the other hand, should be taken care of by you.

Can I see the financial statements?

Condo owners are entitled to see the condo's financials, and you as a [future] condo owner should check this out. The financial statements will tell a story about your chosen residence: too much money going out compared to what is coming in almost always means "mismanagement" and headache for you as a future condo owner.

Are there assessments scheduled in the near future?

Assessments are one-time payments that cover capital improvements and repairs. If you are going to buy a condo, you have to...

REALTOR® NEWS-- FHA Condo Relief Coming: President Signs Bill

Good news for all condo buyers-- the H.R. 3700 or "Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act"-- was finally signed into law by President Obama. Hailed as a "significant step" by the National Association of REALTORS®, the new law will eliminate barriers that prevent buyers from acquiring safe and affordable mortgage credit for condos. NAR has been a staunch supporter of the bill and has lobbied in Congress for its passage. Realtors believe that the passage of the bill will help buyers across the country who look into buying a condo as a cheaper option for their first home or investment.

The newly-passed law will make the Federal Housing Administration’s recertification process “substantially less burdensome”. NAR also reports that the law will lower FHA’s owner-occupancy requirement from 50% to 35%. Lastly, the law requires the FHA to replace an existing policy on transfer fees with a less-restrictive model that has been previously adapted by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Ultimately, the law will help qualified potential home buyers to buy their own home in spite of tight housing inventories, fast-rising home prices, and strict mortgage credit underwriting guidelines, among others.

To know more about this newly-passed law, you can access the original article from which this post was based at the official REALTOR® website.