Guide To Buying A Condoby LendingTree Editorial Staff
The condominium market has been rising steadily for the past few years, with the condo market regaining the momentum and importance it had in the initial condo boom of the 1980s. Condo buyers generally fall into three groups: first-time buyers making the jump from renting; people looking to buy a second home that they will use part-time; and retirees who are trading in high-end homes for the low-maintenance lifestyle a condo provides.
What exactly is a condominium?
A condo development can take the form of apartment-style complexes, townhouses or converted multi-family dwellings. What distinguishes it from other multi-tenant buildings is that the developer has legally declared it a condominium, and individuals can purchase units in the building or complex. In most states, this means that the development falls under specially designated laws and regulations applied to condominiums.
When purchasing a condo, the owner buys the title to his or her individual unit, up to the walls, but not including them. A common description of a condominium is a "box in the air."
Common areas of development, such as stairwells, dividing and outer walls, fitness centers and rooftop gardens, are under shared ownership. Each unit owner holds an interest in these spaces. In order to manage the maintenance and repair of the shared common areas, every condo development has a condominium association, also known as a unit-owners' association. The association is elected by condo owners and makes communal decisions in the interest of the community.
Condo costs include a down payment, mortgage and property tax; condo fees, which are paid by every resident to help with the maintenance of the building and to provide facilities such as a pool or gym; and special assessment fees, which may be requested when an unexpected repair or planned modification exceeds the cost of the condo fees collected.
Rules To Live By
Condominiums are governed by a set of rules called Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs). The rules vary from one condo development to another. They may impose restrictions on pet ownership, noise levels, remodeling projects, and renting. The CC&Rs are enforced by the condo association. It's a good idea to read the CC&Rs to make sure that you are comfortable with them before you purchase a condominium.
For more information on condos, visit http://www.lendingtree.com/cec/yourhome/buying/beginners-guide-to-condos.asp
About the Author
The editorial staff at LendingTree is committed to helping consumers become smarter borrowers. Visit http://www.lendingtree.com/cec for more information and tips on buying, selling, and financing a home. Copyright 1998-2006, LendingTree, LLC.