What is condo living like?
Whether you’re looking to downsize or you’re ready to shop properties for sale and become a homeowner for the first time, condominiums offer home buyers several advantages. Understanding how condos work is very important. Condos are a type of single-family dwelling that are available in most cities across America. They come in a vast range of prices, and chances are there’s a condo within your budget.
When you buy a condo, you own your apartment as well as a portion of the building’s common areas (but not the land underneath it). Owners share these common areas with each other and may be as simple as a small lobby and the laundry room in the basement or may include luxurious features such as a rooftop swimming pool, fitness center, indoor parking, or children’s recreational rooms.
Condo buyers typically secure mortgages and owners pay their taxes directly instead of through the building association (unlike cooperative buildings). Should the building require a repair or upgrade, owners pay an assessment to cover the cost. Usually, owners volunteer for a condo board that administers building business, making general interest decisions easier. Buildings, once occupied by renters, can “go condo,” meaning that occupants must purchase their apartments or vacate the premises.
Condos offer owners a way to own real estate without having to worry about the details and rigors of typical homeowner maintenance. Owners pay a monthly maintenance fee that covers the cost of amenities, the building superintendent (in charge of basic repairs), the doormen and other expenses, including outside maintenance, water, waste disposal, sewer, building insurance (excluding personal belongings), cable television and Internet services.
Unlike sometimes-stringent co-op boards, condominium boards have very little say over who does or does not have the right to purchase a unit, and changes in ownership become public information.