Condo or House: Which Costs You More to Buy?

Owning a condo seems easier and cheaper sometimes than a house – but if you aren’t asking the right questions as a prospective buyer, you could end up in the middle of a real estate nightmare.

1) Find out what the HOA rules are. Not all condos are created equal, so don’t assume that the same rules apply everywhere. There may be a pet or visitor restriction in one condo complex that you aren’t expecting.

2) Find out what the HOA fees are, and what they include. Fees can be anywhere from $200 – $500 a month, on top of your mortgage.

3) Figure out if it’s worth the cost. You may be able to buy a single-family home for the same price as the condo once you figure in the HOA fees.

4) Find out if your potential neighbors’ loans are current or delinquent. If many are delinquent, that could affect your value down the line.

5) Find out if the HOA is financially sound. If they don’t have reserves, the complex likely won’t stay in good shape.

A good realtor will help you do some of this research and ask the right questions.

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About cozbycpa

Heather L. Cozby is a CPA on the South Shore and Cape Cod. The managing partner of Cozby & Company, LLC, Heather has the resources and experience necessary to provide quality professional services on a timely basis and at a reasonable cost. She specializes in tax planning & preparation; audit, review & compilation services; management advisory services; bookkeeping; and accounting. Her unique niche is in working with homeowners’ associations and condominium trusts, advising with rental real estate, and providing outsourced financial consulting for mid-sized companies. She is more entrepreneurial than most accountants, and offers the best of both worlds - providing the services of a larger firm while retaining the ability to connect with her clients on a personal level.
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