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What you need to know when you buy an Atlanta condo

Tuesday, August 18, 2020
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Condos are a popular choice among the wide variety of homes for sale in Atlanta, appealing to people who want convenient access to their workplaces, as well as local amenities and attractions.

Like shopping for a house, the search for the perfect condo comes with a great deal of thought and preparation. In this blog, Natalie Gregory & Co. breaks down nine important matters to consider when searching for the ideal condo:

What can you find in and around the condo building or complex?

Convenience and accessibility are the main draws of buying a condo, so make sure the location counts. How long will it take you to reach your place of work, for instance? Are you happy with the selection of stores and dining establishments in and around your building? Consider the proximity of your address to essential community resources like hospitals and emergency services, as well.

How much do you need to pay in HOA fees and what does this amount cover?

Owning a condo requires paying recurring homeowners’ association fees in addition to the primary cost of purchasing the property. HOA dues vary from one condo complex to another. For instance, some include utility bills while others bill them separately. Condo properties with special common amenities like a swimming pool, gym, and concierge services tend to charge higher to ensure proper maintenance of these shared facilities.

When choosing between your condo options, be sure that you know exactly what you need to pay for month to month.

Who is responsible for the day-to-day supervision of the condo?

While smaller condo buildings can be self-managed, condos in larger or more established properties hire professional property managers to oversee the day-to-day affairs of the condo. These managers are also responsible for attending to the needs of the building’s tenants.

Knowing who is in charge of the condo building will help you do preliminary research. Official information and client testimonials about their management styles and policies can help you prepare better for your move.

Are there any current or upcoming special assessments that you need to know about?

Special assessments are additional, temporary increases to the HOA dues that are directed toward significant repair or renovation work on the condo property. Before committing to a condo purchase, find out if there are any special assessments that can add notable pressure on your regular payment budget.

How many units in the building have been sold?

If you are buying a unit in a condo property that is still under construction, find out how many units have already sold. Lenders sometimes require that at least 25% to 50% of a condo property’s units are sold or under contract before they approve a loan.

In addition, builders may offer discounts if only a small number of units (say, the last 20%) are left to sell. If you wait to buy at this time, you can take advantage of these potential discounts. On the other hand, if you buy too early, your property’s value might drop as a result of the discounts.

Do unit owners actually live in their units?

Look for a condo community where the tenants comprise primarily of unit owners, instead of renters. This is a good sign that your neighbors are as invested as you are in the long-term maintenance of their property and in the whole community’s quality of life.

In addition, some lenders might require the condo property to have at least 25% more owner-occupied units than rented ones before approving your mortgage application.

What changes are you allowed to make on your unit?

When living in a condo, the personalized renovations and customizations you make may be limited by building or property regulations, especially when it comes to changing exterior features. Owning a condo involves understanding and complying with HOA guidelines and restrictions.

Does the condo complex meet FHA standards?

If you are planning to use a mortgage to finance your condo purchase, find out if the property is pre-approved for financing by the Federal Housing Administration. You can get distinct advantages from an FHA loan including a low 3.5% down payment requirement, but the condo property must meet certain criteria, such as 75% owner occupancy and low HOA delinquencies.

Do you need a real estate agent to buy a condo?

Like any other home purchase, condo buyers benefit from greater convenience and peace of mind when they work with a professional. Partnering with a local expert who specializes in the local property market will make your condo buying experience smoother and more satisfying from start to finish.

If you are ready to start looking for your dream condo, get in touch with Natalie Gregory, one of the top real estate agents in Metro Atlanta. Call Natalie Gregory & Co. today at 404.550.5113 or email Natalie(dotted)Gregory(at)Compass(dotted)com.