Choosing a place to live is one of the most significant decisions that anyone can make. In general, most people have to choose between owning and buying a home. This is not an easy decision because the amount of money and credit required to own varies drastically from person to person. Additionally, they should know their options when deciding where to buy or rent. While a full house may fit a full-sized family, this might not be the best fit for everyone.
One option for renters and owners is to live in a condominium. Condos come in different styles, shapes, and sizes. Knowing your options will help you find a condo that fits your lifestyle and needs.
Condominiums are usually under the control of a condominium board or association. This group determines most everything about the condos:
- The look and feel of the buildings and grounds
- Requirements for ownership
- Codes of conduct
- Pet policies
- And any standard operating procedures for the condos’ everyday operations
Since condos can be found in big cities, small towns, and just about everywhere else, different boards have different rules. The nice part of living in a condo is that the rules are basically the same for renters and buyers. This is because if you rent a condo, you can bet the person renting it to you owns the unit, which in turn holds them accountable to the board.
Rules are not always bad, especially when you may want to keep your living arrangements as stress-free as possible. Additionally, it is very common to have lots of different amenities included in rent or association fees. The common thread among all of them is that they exist to make the lives of the residents as harmonious as possible while making sure that the condos provide them with amenities and residency.
If there are multiple condos in a building, that means a condo owner doesn’t own the building, and they could, in theory, be evicted. Owning a condo is usually more expensive than renting, but they are almost always cheaper than buying a home with land.
Whether condos are in one building or multiple, there are usually common areas that all residents of a condo group can partake. These areas are where you will find the amenities in which we were referring.
Depending on the condo group, these common areas can be simple internal hallways between condos, or they could be mutual amenities like weight rooms, swimming pools or game rooms. Sometimes the common areas are open to guests, but sometimes they are “exclusive-use,” available only to condo residents. Depending on the amount of privacy and security residents want, the parts of common areas that are open to guests can vary.
One thing that can give condo buyers pause is the presence of condo fees. They seem superfluous, but it is a common responsibility that all condo owners in a group have. They aren’t the same as rent, however, and they are actually proof that your condo group is working for you. Condo fees aren’t there to line anybody’s pockets. They go into a collective account to cover the common areas that all condo groups have.
For example, if someone lived in a high-rise condo, part of their condo fees would go toward the maintenance of the building. Anyone who provides exclusive services to the condo residents, like a concierge, is also paid out of condo fees. Condo fees allow residents the freedom of home ownership while cutting down on how much maintenance they have to worry about. They also sometimes have other perks; if a condo has a pool or workout facility in a common area, there’s no need to pay more money for a gym or community center membership. The percentage of the condo fees that a resident pays depends on how much of the total condo property they own.
The larger condo property is governed by bylaws, which lay out the rules of residency and conduct in a condo group. These bylaws usually don’t say you have to act or dress a specific way on a daily basis, but they do set specific rules to make sure everyone lives well together, and if someone moves out, that their condo is still in excellent condition. Bylaws can cover a variety of things, including remodeling, pet ownership, subletting, and other obligations. It’s important for prospective condo buyers to understand the bylaws of any condo community in which they want to move.
Moving to a condo can be a big decision, and it can seem a little confusing at first because they’re a lot of new things to learn. The most important part of moving to a condo is being informed. It’s best to learn about the units, the group’s bylaws, and the condo board before making a decision because all of those can impact whether someone is happy in a condo.
Most condos are in communities, so people must know if they mesh well with the community. Add in financial concerns, and it can take a while to find a condo that is right for you. Contact Belman Homes for an expert consultation to help you make your first steps toward condo ownership.