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Condominiums offer a unique lifestyle that is appealing to many demographics. Whether you’re looking to downsize into something easier to maintain than your big family home or you’re an urbanite looking to enjoy the bustle of downtown living in a big city, there are options for everyone.

Purchasing a condominium means looking at more than just the unit you’d like to buy. There is an entire structure and organization beyond your control to consider as well.

Here are three things to look at before pulling the trigger on a condo with a sweet view:

Amenities

Different buildings offer different amenities. Make sure to inquire about what your building includes. The number of amenities, the quality of their construction, and the ongoing required maintenance will have an impact on the condominium fees you’re responsible for. For example, it is likely that a building with an indoor saltwater pool and 24-hour concierge service will have higher condominium fees than a building that only has a barbeque terrace. Amenities are common elements accessible to all residents and can include things like a games room, library, pool, sauna, fitness center, and more. Make a list of the amenities that are most important to you with your realtor to help find the perfect building.

Condo Fees and Reserves

Condominium fees are paid by every unit owner in the building, so it’s best to know what you’re getting in to beforehand. These fees go toward the maintenance of common elements, like the lobby, and toward maintaining a healthy reserve fund in case something in the building needs to be repaired. A healthy reserve fund is important to protect owners from unexpected special assessments and bills if the association doesn’t have the money to pay for needed work. Ordering a status certificate or a financial statement from the condo management company will help you understand the state of the condominium you’re looking to buy in.

Building policies

Every building has a different set of rules and regulations that owners and residents must follow in order to live in the condominium. If you break a rule, you may be subject to a fee or eviction depending on the situation. Condo regulations cover everything from the number of people allowed to live in a unit, whether or not you can offer your unit as a short-term rental, and they can even dictate the size of pets you’re allowed to have in your unit. For example, some buildings don’t allow dogs over 40 lbs, but smaller animals are ok. Others may prohibit ownership entirely or have no policy in place. Reviewing the declaration and policies ahead of time will save you the headache of adjusting your lifestyle after moving in.

Condo ownership offers perks like lawn maintenance, snow removal, and added security. But it is important to take a deep look at the buildings in your area and what they have to offer before making the decision. Click here to learn more about buying a condominium in your area and what options are available to you.

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