Considering Buying a Condo or Townhouse?

Here’s what you need to know

Any homeowner shoveling several inches of snow, or addressing roof damage caused by a storm, has probably experienced thoughts of buying a condo or townhouse. The principal benefit of these types of properties is that much of the maintenance is handled by an Association — or in other words, someone other than you!

Should you decide to buy a condo or townhouse, you’ll want to review all the Association rules, policies and all documents carefully. Here are a few insights on what you should look for.

Look for potential costs of owning the unit

The freedom from certain maintenance obligations doesn’t come free of cost. Here are some things you should look for to better understand those costs:

  • Check the documentation to see what the regular Association fee is, and the due date. Typically, fees are charged monthly.
  • See if there are any plans for large improvements or repair projects. A share of these costs could be assessed to you in addition to your typical monthly fees.
  • You should be given a current budget for the Association. Review the budget to determine if there are sufficient reserves to handle unexpected maintenance costs.
  • Understand what the Association is required to maintain, and what is considered your responsibility as an owner.


Look for rules that may affect how you wish to use your home

Unlike a traditional single-family home, there may be restrictions on how you can use your townhome or condo. Some key restrictions may include:

  • A prohibition or limitation on pets
  • Restrictions on how your unit can be altered or improved
  • Limitations on renting the property
  • Not allowing the property to be used for a home business

The documents you receive as part of your townhome or condo purchase contain vital information.  Be sure to take the time to read them, so you can ensure that you’re able to use the residence as intended.



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