When you are shopping to buy your first condominium home, it is an exciting and important time with a lot of decisions to make. There are several things you need to consider and prepare for when buying your first home, especially a condo. Here are three recommendations to help you get started on looking for homes for sale:
Determine Your Budget
As you look for a home or condominium to buy, you should find out what you can afford first before you begin to shop for a home. If your housing budget is tight, you may choose to shop specifically for condominiums, which can cost less than a single-family detached home, as a condominium shares walls with other homeowners, which lowers the cost of the property.
Calculate how much of a mortgage payment you can afford by listing all your expenses outside of your current housing expenses and subtract this from your take-home pay. Be sure to calculate all your monthly costs, such as groceries, utilities, vehicle insurance, and loan and credit card payments. Then, calculate non-regular items, such as dining out, entertainment, and personal care. You may also want to figure in a small amount each month to put away into a savings account so you can still have some extra funds in case an emergency arises.
Once you determine your budget, you can talk to a mortgage broker about qualifying for financing through a mortgage company. You will be required to provide proof of income and allow them to view your credit report. Your broker can calculate what your mortgage payment would be for a specific loan amount, in line with what you can afford. Once you have been approved for a loan program with a rate that fits your needs, you will know your budget for a home and begin narrowing down your search.
Check Into the HOA Fee
Whenever you are shopping for or looking to buy a specific condo, you should need to consider the HOA fees that you will be responsible for as a homeowner and add them to your monthly housing budget. The HOA fees or Home Owner Association Fees are the monthly fees each condo owner pays to the community's Home Owner's Association, which go into the fund to pay for expenses on the property for maintenance and repairs. The monthly HOA fee will pay for expenses, such as landscaping and lawn care, roof repairs and replacement, and maintaining a clubhouse or resident pool in the complex.
Depending on such considerations, such as the amount of maintenance, the age of the property, and any additional community amenities available on the property, your HOA fee can be a different amount at each condo community. Check with the property seller or your real estate agent to find out what the fee is and what it covers. Keep in mind the HOA fee may not cover some expenses, such as cable, internet, or water service, so you will be responsible for paying them.