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What is a Condo & Is it Right For You?



If you’re in the new home market you might have run into the term “single family home” used in contrast to a “condo” or “townhome.”  All three of these homeownership options have their upsides, it is simply a matter of determining which choice is right for you and your lifestyle.  Simply put, a single family home is what might think of when you conjure an image of a traditional stand-alone home with accompanying yard.  A condo (more formally known as a condominium) is a unit in a building, similar to an apartment, but that is owned rather than being rented.  Condos are typically low-maintenance, require no yardwork and offer a convenient style of homeownership.  You are responsible for what lies within your walls but typically nothing beyond.  But there’s a little more that you need to understand if you’ve determined that you’re in the market to shop for a condo.

While you will own your actual condo there will be common areas such as the lobby, yard, gym and pool that are shared between you and the other condo owners.  The good news is that you are not responsible for the upkeep of these shared areas.  However, you will pay a monthly condo association fee that covers the cost of this upkeep.  Be sure to keep in the monthly fee in mind when you’re shopping—this will be an important part of your housing budget that will need to be paid monthly in addition to your mortgage.  Shared amenities in condos can be a great way to enjoy things such as a pool without having the individual cost of installing and maintaining one if you owned a single family home.    

There is typically a condo association comprised of elected condo owner’s. They will handle the details of hiring the companies that maintain the common areas, garbage collection, any routine maintenance, etc.  If you’re shopped for a single family home and encountered Homeowner’s Associations that regulate neighborhoods, this is a very similar role.  If you enjoy your space and unlimited freedom, this situation might not be ideal for you.  Condo Associations enforce the rules and regulations that are stipulated in the condo documents, known as the Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions.  These documents can cover everything from acceptable size & number of pets, to whether outdoor grills are acceptable to acceptable hours for noise volume.  Be sure and read up on these documents prior to purchasing to make sure that they align with your lifestyle.  They are designed to insure all of the condo owner’s peaceful enjoyment of their home so you’ll want to make sure they’re a good fit for you. 

Condos are a great way for someone to invest for real estate without the potential hassle of maintenance and yard work, this can be ideal for young professionals, active adults and everyone in between!  If you’re wondering why not just rent an apartment rather than buy a condo, there are some notable benefits to condo ownership that you should consider.  Condos can often provide a more affordable way to buy a home than if you’re shopping for single family, maybe allowing you to spend more of your house budget on designer upgrades.  Condos are often better quality construction than apartments, being built with quality and longevity in mind.  By owning a condo you will be able to invest, gaining equity rather than paying someone else’s mortgage if you are renting.  Mortgage interest rates are still low so it’s a great time to take advantage of a home loan.  You’ll also be pleased to find that mortgages come with a variety of tax write-offs. You might be surprised to learn that the monthly cost of condo homeownership can actually be less than you are paying for a rental! 

Interested in shopping for a new construction condo in the Charleston area? You’ll find great affordable options in Summerville and Ladson priced as low as the $120’s.  Mount Pleasant also offers a gamut of options boasting luxury and location, priced in the $300-$400’s.
 

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Filed under: Home Buying Info


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