Purchasing a condo is a major decision. Is this a vacation home, retirement home, primary residence and bachelor pad or all of the above? In 2012, I picked up a condo myself, and it looks like it’s going to fit the criteria for ‘all of the above.’ There are unique things to consider when you’re buying a condo vs buying a home, especially if this is a vacation condo. Are you going to try and produce rental income out of the property while you’re away?
There are condos for purchase in cities everywhere, many of them in more residential settings. One advantage to a condo is that you’re going to pay less and be able to save money in all directions when it comes to being a property owner. Being under the thumb of a Homeowner’s Association can be a pain, but that happens often with homes in major developments, too. Each location brings about both challenges and advantages, too.
Certainly, the first thing you’re going to have to figure out is where you’re planning on buying your condo. In 2011, I was looking at condos on every coastline in the US. I was looking at Texas beaches, Orange Beach, Long Beach, the OC, Ocean City, Maryland and more. I wanted to buy property on the beach, but this was just a dream, one I had revisited throughout the years. Now, what I found was that the housing marketing bottoming out had affected property values of vacation condos significantly.
If you have been looking at listings, you will definitely notice this. This means you’re entering an advantageous market, and you should be able to get a great deal on whatever type of condo you want to buy. There are going to be differences in price for sure if you broaden your search to various locations throughout the country like I did. For example, a condo near the ocean in a bad neighborhood in Long Beach was 80-100k, while an oceanfront condo in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina was under 40k. And if you looked in Toronto you would find something similar to the new 75 On The Esplanade.
My move to a condo was a little unconventional, but I can’t tell you that I didn’t research the place. I knew about the resort’s history and what it meant to the city. If I had to tell you what I would look into the most, it would be the HOA association and the dues that you owe. When it comes to vacation properties, the HOA fees can be pretty high. However, they are also often all-inclusive, which means you may not be responsible for paying individual utilities. Read more about this at condo owner rights and responsibilities.
When it comes to the condo I purchased, the electric bill, satellite TV bill, phone bill, water bill, trash bill and many other things are lumped into the HOA dues. I like it this way, and I’m happy with the condo I purchased. I want you to be happy with the condo you purchase, too. Make sure the HOA association has a strong balance sheet, and make sure you’re happy with the neighborhood, the common area amenities and the place in general.