Thinking of buying a condo in Portland?
Think about this when buying a condo–the best things about condos are their affordability and ease of maintenance. They allow many renters to become home owners. And the Home Owner’s Association (HOA) takes care of almost all the maintenance.
But in buying a condo you share the common elements of the land (parking areas, sidewalks, etc.) and buildings with all the other condo owners. This can be a good thing. This can be a challenge.
Below are nine pros and cons of buying a condo from the National Association of Realtors. From my experience helping many clients become condo owners I would like to add a number ten:
10. HOA Fees. Home Owner Association fees are the monthly fees owners pay to cover costs to manage and keep up the common areas, utilities, etc. While you don’t want excessively high fees, beware of condo association with excessively low ones. Some associations that haven’t planned ahead may not have put away enough reserves to cover expected repairs –like roofs– or unexpected repairs –like siding failure or water damage. If there aren’t enough reserves for the HOA to pay for large repair bills, you may be required to pay a special assessment. Better to plan for these costs and pay a little extra each month.
The Pros and Cons of Buying a Condo
Condominiums and townhouses offer an affordable option to single-family homes in most areas. But consider these facts before you buy.
- Storage. Some condos have storage lockers, but usually there are no attics or basements to store belongings.
- Outdoor space. Yards and outdoor areas are usually smaller in condos, so if you like to garden or entertain outdoors, this may not be a good fit. However, if you hate yard work, this may be the perfect option for you.
- Amenities. Many condo properties have swimming pools, fitness centers, and other facilities that would be very expensive in a single-family home.
- Maintenance. Many condos have onsite maintenance personnel to care for common areas, do repairs in your unit, and let in workers when you’re not home.
- Security. Many condos have keyed entries and or even door attendants. Plus, you’ll be closer to other people in case of an emergency.
- Reserve funds and association fees. Although fees generally help pay for amenities and provide savings for future repairs, you will have to pay the fees agreed to by the condo board, whether or not you’re interested in the amenity or not.
- Resale. The ease of selling your unit is more dependent on what else is for sale in your building, since units are usually fairly similar. Single-family homes usually are more individual.
- Freedom. Although you have a vote, the rules of the condo association can affect your ability to use your property. For example, some condos prohibit home-based businesses. Others prohibit pets. Read the covenants, restrictions, and bylaws of the condo carefully before you make an offer.
- Proximity. You’re much closer to your neighbors in a condo or townhome. If possible, try to meet your closest prospective neighbors before making a decision.
Reprinted from REALTOR® Magazine Online by permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.