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A Short Survival Guide To Your First Condominium

Posted by IKO Community Management on February 16, 2017 at 9:00 AM

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IKO Community Management understands every aspect of managing communities, including premier properties like luxury high rise, hotel, and traditional condominiums. For those who are looking to buy or rent a condominium, check out our community experts' quick guide:

What is a condominium?

It’s a singular unit within a larger complex that is individually owned. They are very popular in markets with high property values, such as vacation hot spots and urban settings.

What’s the difference between a condo and an apartment?

One difference between the two living spaces is ownership. A condo is owned by individuals who either live in them or rent them out to others, while an apartment is typically leased out to an individual for a predetermined period of time.

Because of this, a condominium owner can change the interior and exterior of the space while an apartment renter cannot change any part of the residential property due to their temporary occupancy.

Another difference is that a condo owner usually pays homeowners association fees to take care of common property and amenities within the complex. On the other hand, an apartment renter will pay a landlord only monthly or yearly rent.

What’s the difference between a condominium and a townhouse?

One difference is that a condo takes the form of an apartment and comes with more amenities, such as a community pool, roof access, and gym membership. (It’s unlikely that a townhome rental comes with such amenities.)

A townhouse provides the architectural style of an average single-family home with two floors. The second floor contains the bedrooms and bathrooms, while the first floor has the kitchen, living room, and dining room.

Another difference is that a townhouse can be rented or bought and lived in by an individual. However, the structure is usually part of a master planned community, so HOA fees are typically still paid.

Why rent a condo instead of buy a home?

Renting a condo provides a great option for those who are looking to downsize, buy for the first time, cannot afford a home yet, or live alone.

Also, the total cost of renting is typically less than that of a monthly mortgage payment (even with fees), and you have others to sweat behind a lawn mower, correct leaky pipes, and so on. Renting offers the pride of homeownership without the pain of home maintenance or billing.

What is taken care of, if I buy a condo?

If you choose to buy a condo to rent out or live in, general maintenance and landscaping is within the HOA fees. However, interior issues like appliances are the owner’s full responsibility.

Is there insurance for this type of housing?

According to insurance agency portal Trusted Choice, “Due to the fact that a condo association's master policy covers parts of the home's structure, condo owners can often find insurance at lower rates than homeowners of single-family dwellings of similar value.”

It’s important to note that “this all depends on the type of master policy the association has purchased.” You should always review the association's policy to determine if you'll actually catch a break on insurance.

Is there anything else I should know before buying?

  • Buying a condo requires the assistance of a real estate agent. While it’s not impossible to find a space without their help, many buyers consult the experts who are familiar with sales contracts and purchase agreements, which is a property-specific document that dictates the way the condo operates and is governed.

  • Condo owners are not exempt from HOA rules or meetings. Even though you’re not in a single-family home, you still have to abide by the regulations, which cover items like parking, noise restrictions, home-based businesses, and pets. 

And there you have it, a short survival guide to buying and renting this residential property type. For more information on how a property management company fits in, click below to subscribe to our blog:

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Topics: Landlords, Homeowners