Questions to ask when buying a condo

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Buying a condo can be a complex and stressful task, with so many issues to consider and so much money on the line. Before signing a contract or even creating a short list, you need to ask a number of questions about the property, the condo community, and the surrounding neighborhood. Asking the right questions from the outset can save you a lot of time, money, and stress down the track.   

1. Does the unit suit your current and future needs?

Above all else, you need to decide if the unit is able to meet your current and future needs. Are you planning to raise a family? Is the unit size or number of bedrooms likely to cause problems? Have you thought about noise issues? With so many condos out there to choose from, it's important to get one that meets your budget, enhances your lifestyle, and matches your personality.  

2. Does the location work for your lifestyle?

Where a condo is situated is very important, with location affecting the purchase price, rental yields, growth potential, and quality of life. How far is the condo from public transportation? What about cafes and restaurants? Are you likely to find employment in the local area? Where you live will have a huge effect on your quality of life, so take some time to research different neighborhoods and find somewhere that feels like home.  

3. Have you met your potential neighbors?

When you live in a condo, you become part of a larger community. Unlike detached houses and other suburban dwellings, it's hard to lock yourself away from the world when you live in a condo. While this is mostly a good thing, you need to meet your neighbors and choose a condo building that's full of like minded souls.  

4. Will you get on with the management board?

Along with other condo owners, it's also important to meet the people who run the Homeowners Association (HOA). While official positions can change over time, there are often two or three strong personalities in charge of the management board. Does the board seem capable? How much experience do they have? Is the board likely to be flexible or a stickler for rules?  

5. Have you budgeted for condo fees?

Other than the mortgage itself, condo fees are likely to represent your single biggest monthly expense. How much are the fees? How do they compare with other condo communities in the same area? Have you taken these fees into consideration when making your short and long-term budget? When looking into condo fees, it's important to remember how much they can save you compared to performing maintenance yourself or joining the local gym.

6. What are the rules and regulations you need to adhere to?

Condo residents need to abide by certain rules and regulations. While most of these rules are loved by all residents and based on common sense, some of them may cause problems from time to time. While some condo communities abide strictly by these rules, others may be more flexible in their interpretation. Have you seen the rules and regulations? Are they likely to have a negative impact on your lifestyle?