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Considering a Condo Purchase?

With many urban areas adding condo buildings to their downtown cores or encouraging condo construction to add density, it’s no surprise that Americans are increasingly moving into multi-family dwellings. Condo homes offer convenience, community and a more care-free existence, especially for empty nesters looking to live in a yard-free home as they move into retirement.

If you own a condominium or are considering purchasing one, a home inspection is vital. Like houses, condos and townhouses should also be inspected before purchase. WIN Home Inspection offers complete condominium or townhouse interior inspections where our home inspectors may review the structures mechanical, and plumbing, electrical and heating/AC systems within the unit, along with any built-in appliances. This process takes an inspector one to two hours to complete.

But unlike a single-family home, a single condo unit occupies just a small percentage of space in a multi-unit building. To get a fuller picture of how the building is doing—and what its issues may cost you as a homeowner—there are some additional steps you’ll want to take in order to predict the real costs of living there and what rules govern your use of your space. While it’s true that condos provide freedom from yard work and hands-on maintenance, every condo building has a homeowners association or board that governs the building and also has rules about renters, guests, parking, pets, smoking, etc.

Aside from investigating or addressing questions raised in a condo inspection, here are some additional topics to research about life in your building:

  • Can you rent out your condo or let relatives stay there in your absence?
  • What bylaws, covenants, and restrictions rule the property?
  • What are the homeowners association fees and what do they cover?
  • What recent special assessments have been levied by the homeowners association?
  • How many special assessments have been requested of residents in recent years?
  • How much turnover takes place in the building?
  • Is the building in litigation?
  • How reputable is the developer (in the case of new construction)?

Get to the bottom of these questions, and you’ll develop a clearer plan for what life will be like in your current or future building.