Buying a condo is similar to buying a house, yet it is not exactly the same. A condo is similar to living in an apartment, in a sense, yet you will actually own the unit instead of renting it. If you are considering buying a condo, it is important to fully understand several key things.
You will be part of a homeowner's association (HOA)
The first thing to understand is that condos are always part of an HOA, simply because they are considered multi-family homes. The HOA is an organization that controls things within the community and takes care of issues. It is also the organization that enforces rules and collects HOA fees. You will have to pay a monthly fee to the organization, but you will directly benefit from the services they offer and take care of.
You will only own part of your house
When you buy a condo, you should realize that you are not actually buying the entire thing. You will only own part of the house you buy, and generally this means you will only own the inside part. The outside will belong to the HOA, and the HOA will take care of all the maintenance and repairs for the outside of the house. This means, though, that you will not be able to make changes to the outside of the home. For example, if you wanted to paint the exterior shutters, you would not be able to, as you do not really own them.
You will still need homeowner's insurance
It is also important to know that you will still need to purchase home insurance for the condo; however, the insurance you need will likely be different than the type you need for a single-family house. You would have to find out what type of insurance the HOA already has and then go from there when buying your homeowner's policy.
There might be different requirements with getting a loan
The other important thing to understand about buying a condo is that lenders often have different rules for issuing loans on condos compared to single-family homes. Your lender is likely to evaluate the HOA very thoroughly before offering to give you a loan to buy a condo, and there might be other types of requirements too that are different than when you are buying a single-family home.
If you are ready to begin your search for the perfect home, you should talk to a real estate agent to start learning more about homes you might want to see.