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.