Condominium homes are a great, low-maintenance choice for a primary residence, second home, or investment property. This alternative to the traditional single-family home has unique issues to consider before buying, as well as unique benefits.
Increasingly, condos are not just for first-time homebuyers looking for a less expensive entry into the housing market. Empty-nesters and retirees are happy to give up mowing the lawn and painting the house. Busy professionals can experience luxury living knowing their home is safe and well-maintained while they are away on business.
If you are considering buying a condominium for a home, here are a few things you should know:
With condominiums, you own everything in your unit on your side of the walls. Individual owners hold title to the condominium unit only, not the land beneath the unit. All owners share title to the common areas: the grounds, lobby, halls, parking areas and other amenities. A homeowners’ association (HOA) usually manages the complex and collects a monthly fee from all condominium owners to pay for the operation and maintenance of the property. These fees may include such items as insurance, landscape, and grounds up-keep, pool maintenance, security, and administrative costs.
The owners of the units in a condominium are all automatic members of the condo association. The association is run by a volunteer Board of Directors, who manage the operations and upkeep of the property. A professional management company may also be involved in assisting the board in their decisions. The condo association also administers rules and regulations designed to ensure safety and maintain the value of your investment. Examples include whether or not pets are allowed and the hours of use for condominium facilities, such as pools and work-out rooms. Should a major expense occur, all owners are responsible for paying their fair share of the expense.
The pros and cons of condominium living:
The condominium lifestyle has many benefits, but condominium ownership isn’t for everyone. Whether living in a condominium works for you depends on your current and planned future lifestyle. By necessity, condominium associations have a number of standardized rules. You need to decide whether these regulations work for you or not. Here are some points to keep in mind if you’re considering condominium living.
Convenience: People who love living in condominiums always cite the convenience factor. It’s nice to have someone else take care of landscaping, upkeep, and security. Condominium homes are often located in urban areas where restaurants, groceries, and entertainment are just a short walk away.
Luxury amenities: May condominiums offer an array of amenities that most homeowners couldn’t afford on their own, such as fitness centers, clubhouses, wine cellars, roof-top decks, and swimming pools. Lobbies of upscale condominiums can rival those of four-star hotels, making a great impression on residents.
Privacy: Since you share common walls and floors with other condominium owners, there is less privacy than what you’d expect in a single-family home. While condominiums are built with noise abatement features, you may still occasionally hear your neighbors.
Space: Except for very high-end units, condominiums are generally smaller than single-family homes. That means less storage space and often, smaller rooms. The patios and balconies of individual units are usually much smaller as well.
Autonomy: As a condominium owner, you are required to follow the laws of the associations. That means giving up a certain amount of control and getting involved in the group decision-making process. HOA bylaws vary greatly from property to property, and some people may find certain rules too restrictive.
Things to consider when you decide to buy:
Condominium homes vary from intimate studios to eclectic lofts and luxury penthouses. The right condominium is the one that best fits your lifestyle. Here are a few questions to ask to determine which condominium is right for you.
How will you use it?
Will your condominium be your primary residence? A second home? An investment property? While a studio may be too small for a primary residence, it might be a perfect getaway. Also, consider how your lifestyle may change over the next five to seven years. If you are close to retirement, you may want to have the option of turning a vacation condominium into your permanent home.
What amenities are most important to you?
Amenities vary location to location. Decide what you want, and you can be assured of finding it. Most urban and resort condominiums have an enticing array of extras, from spas to movie screening rooms to tennis courts.
What are your specific needs?
Do you have a pet? Some associations don’t allow them; others have limitations on their size. Most buildings will have a rental cap, so be sure to know what that cap is if you’re buying as an investment. Parking can also be a major issue, especially in dense, urban areas. How many spaces do you get per unit? Do you pay extra if you have more vehicles?
Cost: Condominium homes typically cost less than houses, so they’re a great choice for first-time buyers. However, because condominiums are concentrated in more expensive locations, and sizes are generally smaller than a comparable single-family home, the price per square foot for a condominium is usually higher.
Finally, once you’ve found a property you like, examine the association’s declaration, rules, and bylaws to make sure they fit your needs. The association will provide you with an outline of their monthly fees and exactly what they cover so you can accurately budget your expenses.
Ask to review the association board’s meeting minutes from the past year to get an idea of any issues the association is working on. An analysis of sales demand and property appreciation compared to like units may help ensure that you make the best possible investment.
Downsizing is on the minds of many homeowners today. Some are ready to retire, others want to live more simply, and many want to save money and say goodbye to home maintenance. If you can relate to any of those sentiments, ask yourself these five questions:
Have you done the math?
The financial savings that can be generated by downsizing can be significant – especially as they add up over time. When doing the math, make sure the move will save money, rather than spend unnecessarily.
Have you researched elder-care options?
Many homeowners hold on to their current home longer than they should because their parents / parents-in-law may need to come live with them in the future. While a noble gesture, there are many excellent elder care living options available today. Often, all it takes is a tour of those facilities to realize that your loved one may actually be happier, and far better served, in a place devoted to their care and happiness.
Have you considered off-site storage?
You don’t need to immediately discard a big chunk of your belongings in order to downsize. In fact, trying to do so in one fell swoop only creates needless stress. Most people find it works much better to move some of their belongings into off-site storage for six months. During that time, you can gradually incorporate some of those items into your new living arrangement, and slowly figure out what to do with the others.
How do you feel about sharing costs and decision-making?
Townhomes and condominiums are popular downsizing options. But both require that you share the decision-making and expenses associated with any maintenance and improvement projects with your neighbors and potentially an HOA. If you’re a people-person and agree that two heads are better than one, and you like the idea of sharing the cost/responsibility for expensive repairs, you’ll enjoy condo living. If not, this may not be the best option for you.
Have you consulted with a real estate agent?
Many homeowners don’t think to consult with a real estate agent until they’ve made the decision to downsize. This leads to guesstimating about some of the most important factors. The truth is, your real estate agent is someone you want to talk with very early in the decision-making process.
Central Fort Collins for $200,000! 2717 Harvard St unit B4 offers quick access to the Max, Foothills Mall, Old Town, and the Harmony corridor. Need to be within 10 minutes of CSU? This would be perfect. Investment potential abounds because of the location and convenient layout or live in a well-maintained townhome style condo with a wonderful location! Contact Paul Hunter for your private showing at (970) 673-7285 for more information or click the link below for more details.
Attention first time homeowners and investors! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to own this very nice 2 bed, 2 bath, second level condo at 1225 W Prospect Rd. This unit features new black stainless steel appliances and a newer water heater. Contact Greg Rittner for your private showing at (970) 682-3050 for more information or click the link below for more details.
You can’t beat the location either being just a few blocks from the heart of the CSU campus. This one won’t last, schedule your showing today!
Here are some interesting stats from our friends at Metro Study who study new home activity along the Front Range.
• New home starts are up 14% compared to last year – this is really good news and is helping to relieve the shortage of housing inventory
• Every product type saw an increase in starts compared to last year (single family, town-home and condominium)
• Condominiums saw the largest increase in starts by a long shot, up 112% over last year- this is excellent news for first time buyers and those looking for product in lower price ranges.
Attention first time homeowners and investors! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to own this recently updated 2 bed, 1 bath, second level condo at 705 E Drake Rd. This unit features brand new floors throughout, fresh coat of paint, new front door, newer windows and sliding door, updated light fixtures, and new appliances. Don’t forget the little library and fruit trees out front! HOA includes heat, water/sewer, pool with freshly remodeled clubhouse & tennis courts. This one won’t last, schedule your showing today! Contact Greg Rittner for more information or click below to view the photos and details, including price.
Beautifully maintained, end unit townhome style condo at 705 E Drake Rd N-40 in Scotch Pines. This great condo backs to green space and has 2 patios, one in the front and one in the back, so you can enjoy the outdoors. Just minutes from CSU, shopping, and entertainment, this location cannot get any better. The HOA covers all of the exterior maintenance so you can spend your weekends doing things you enjoy! Come see this amazing for yourself! Call Anali Siegle for your private showing at 970-829-8818 or click the link below for more details.
Location, Location, Location! Come home to this maintenance-free living, quiet end unit town home in desirable Stone Creek.
Easy access to I-25 and Hwy 34, shops at Centerra, schools and hospitals. HOA covers water, sewer,trash, exterior maintenance, exterior insurance, landscaping, snow removal, basic cable, fitness center, clubhouse, pool and hot tub! Relax in your cozy living room with a gas fireplace. Unfinished basement for your future expansion.
For more information, please contact us at 970-460-3033 or by clicking here: http://windermerenoco.com/listing/53981229.
Here are some fun “Did You Know?” stats as we wrap up 2016 (arguably one of the most fascinating years in the history of Northern Colorado Real Estate)
- This year the median price of a home surpassed…
- $350,000 in Fort Collins
- $300,000 in Loveland
- $250,000 in Greeley
- 2,281 homes were sold in Fort Collins this year
- That’s 133 fewer than last year
- Windsor had 197 more home sales than last year
- The only major market with considerably more sales than 2015
- Today, as we finish 2016, there are only 10 single family homes on the market in Fort Collins priced under $300,000.
Check out what’s happening in the multi-family market in Fort Collins.
The number of condos and townhomes for sale is way down compared to last year. 35% fewer new listings hit the market in November 2016 versus November 2015.
Of course that means prices are up, 15% to be exact. The average price for multi-family in Fort Collins is now at $282,000.
Who would have thought that one day the average price for a condominium or townhome in Fort Collins would be $300,000? Well, that’s close to being a reality.