If you are considering a Windsor condo for sale, like any major purchase, you need to be prepared as much as possible. And certainly it is important to educate yourself on the pros and cons of condo living. When clients come to me and tell me they are interested in purchasing a condo, it’s necessary to ask a couple of questions first, especially for those first time buyers.
1. Are your finances sound?
Condos depend on owners paying Homeowner Association Dues each month. This money covers the upkeep, such as landscaping, painting, as well as other maintenance issues. This fee also may include costs for repairs. All responsible condo associations also tuck away a little of the monthly fees to save for major repairs when they arise. A rule of thumb is that the older the condos are, then the more the association saves.
But what happens if the condo needs a major repair and the board discovers it doesn’t have enough money, for perhaps a roof? This is why, before you commit to signing on the dotted line for any condo, you examine their finances carefully. Also check their insurance policy. For example, if flooding occurs, will their policy cover repairs as well as your personal possessions? Remember, HOA fees are separate from your mortgage payments. It is a separate fee that is due each month and can and usually will, go up.
2. Can you live within the rules?
Condos establish rules that should be clearly spelled out in the covenants. For example, the shared areas, such as swimming pools and work out rooms usually are open during specific hours. Some condos allow pets while others do not. Some are very strict on what they allow on a balcony, such as ornaments or holiday decorations. You may be able to have lots of pots filled with flowers or you may be limited. By agreeing to live in the condo, you are acknowledging and agreeing to abide by the rules.
3. How important is privacy?
Condo living can be interesting if you are used to living out in the middle of nowhere. But make sure you don’t mind living in close proximity to others. Some neighbours may have habits that drive you nuts, such as leaving their television on all day, or decorating their balcony with all kinds of tacky knickknacks. If a neighbour lives above you, they may like to wear heavy shoes or dance at all hours of the day. You must prepare to hear some noises, but it will be necessary to do some research before buying so you don’t hear the minute by minute details of their lives. Check the soundproofing of the walls, drive by the condo at various hours during the day and night and ask if there had been any prior complaints.
4. How experienced is the management company?
When looking at condos, look for those who have management on the premises. This is usually appreciated by owners in the long run as it is comforting to know someone is close by should there be a sudden emergency or repair. Also, when searching, and before making a final decision, research the HOA leadership. Are they responsible, fair and above all else, trustworthy? You want to know that your HOA monthly fees are in good hands and funds are distributed wisely. Last, but certainly not least, if you are moving into a brand new building, make sure that the builder has an excellent reputation and is in good standing with management and subcontractors. Your agents usually can tell you how well a builder is looked upon in the real estate community and can give you any insight if there are any problems with the construction or funding.
5. What if you need to resale your condo?
There may be a point in the future that you will want to sell your condo. So before you even make the purchase, check to see if you are making a good investment. Of course, we can’t predict the future, but you can do a little digging that may very well help you when it’s time to put your home on the market:
If condo has more renters than buyers, that’s a bad sign as owner-only properties always bring in higher resale value.
Are HOA fees reasonable? If your condo charges more than the average condo unit, take note as this could be a problem when selling.
Too many unsold units? Again, not a good sign. Buyers don’t like to move into vacant condo buildings and it assumes something is wrong with the property.