Think Condo!

By: Christian Jacobsen

So many people are now turning away from the house buying situation, but what of buying a condo? Many condos are big enough for a family and have the added luxuries that are not available in many homes. They are also less expensive than buying a traditional home on a piece of land.

The upkeep of a condo is everyone's dream - it is non-existent. Just a small monthly payment that you can budget for - and no nasty surprises!

If you buy a condo with a fixed rate mortgage you can budget it all down to the last cent. Fixed rate mortgages are extremely cheap right now. The big worry in your life will be gassing up the vehicle you drive!

Yes, life is a lot easier when you can count on the fact that the bank can't push up your mortgage and the flooding water pipe is not your worry! Think condo!

One good reason for buying a condo is the price. If you are a first time buyer and looking for an inexpensive start to your real estate investment career, think condo. You will have a piece of property at market price that will get you on the bottom rung of the property ladder; as the market rises, so will your condo.

The investment factor is a no-brainer, but there are several other aspects of condo life to consider before you do make the condo choice.

Almost all of us can give up the idea that we will have no more maintenance to do on our homes. Even mowing the lawn is not your job; neither is shoveling the snow, mending the roof or fixing the plumbing. No decisions to ponder there. However, because of these plusses, there are also rules that go along with them.

Condo rules vary considerably. Maybe renovations are not allowed to be carried out by you or your contractor. Perhaps you cannot rent out your condo if you move away, or perhaps you can. These rules are different in each condo and need to be checked by you before buying.

Every condo building has to be governed by a set of rules called Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs). These are unique to every condo and they are usually implemented by the Home Owners Association (HOA)

To a very large extent these rules simply protect your way of life. However, you do need to be reassured that the rules 'fit' your lifestyle; (i.e. no noise after 11 p.m. will not fit if you are a late night party person). As long as the rules agree with your way of life, they will be unobtrusive to you.

There are many different styles of condos to choose from. Think about what you like: Large balcony? Great view? Two bathrooms? Luxury kitchen? Once you have a list, go and see a real estate agent who knows the condos in your area. He or she will narrow the field and then you can both take a while to check the choicest ones out.

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