Tips for Buying a Condo

Are you in the market for a condo? Buying a condo, or condominium, opens the door to a flexible lifestyle. It’s a great option for households wanting to downsize, professionals on the go, or aging individuals that don’t want the upkeep of a single-family home. 

The following are tips for buying a condo… 

  1. Determine if buying a condo is the right type of home for you. Condo living isn’t for everyone and there are different types of condos to consider as well. Research the condos in your area. Just as if you were purchasing a single-family home, take into consideration the location, proximity to your place of work, etc.
  2. Hire a real estate agent that specializes in condos. Your realtor can help you through every step of the process. Since condos can have different financing and procedures associated with the purchase, a realtor will ensure you’re doing every by the book and getting the best price when buying a condo.
  3. Find out if the condo is FHA (Federal Housing Administration) approved. An FHA loan may allow you to have a lower down payment. This can be a huge saving no matter your circumstances, but in particular for first-time home buyers. 
  4. Know what’s included with the condo. Condos typically have an association fee. These can fluctuate depending on the square footage if your building has elevators, or the amount of lawn care that is required, amenities included, etc. Find out how much the fee is and if it will increase over time. Before buying a condo, ensure the fees and any exclusions that apply are in writing. 

    In addition, determine if things like a parking spot, garbage pickup, or storage space are included in the purchase. Get these items in writing as well and know if they’ll be available upon closing. We also recommend learning who the maintenance company or garbage vendors are so you don’t have any surprises. Ask your realtor to help you ensure nothing is being missed.
  5. Review the condo association’s rules. Just as important as knowing what’s included with the condo, is learning what the association’s rules are. If you have a dog, for example, make sure the condo is pet-friendly. Condo living means being in close proximity to your neighbor, therefore setting rules are important for the association but be sure they are rules you can live with before buying a condo.

Our team is happy to help you with any questions you have about buying a condo. Contact us to meet with one of our condo specialists and learn more about your options for condos in Columbus & central Ohio. 

Aggressive Offers and Pricing, Do They Work?

Aggressive Offers.  Do they work?Recently, I read about a buyer who selected a Realtor based on her assertion that she “aggressively pursued the best possible price” on a home. I wondered if that’s the way to go when buying and making an offer on a home?

Well we all want the best price, and no one wants to feel they overpaid for their home, especially these days when it’s a buyer’s market out there. Every Realtor who is working as a Buyer Agent has a fiduciary responsibility to represent your best interests…including getting a good price on the house. Sounds like an aggressive approach might be proactive, right?

BUT, that Realtor also has an obligation to do their best to balance price with getting you into the home you want. An insultingly lowball offer can not only turn off a seller, but it can convince them to accept another offer without giving you a chance to counteroffer or negotiate. There’s a balance to be struck, and finding a mutually satisfactory agreement on price takes respect and care on both sides.

An aggressive or ill-informed offer can sink the process very quickly. I’ll give you an example: A 2 bedroom condo is listed for $325,000. A comparative market analysis (CMA) shows that another condo in the same development sold for $250,000 last month, and the aggressive Realtor suggests offering $245,000 and planning to negotiate from there. That looks reasonable, right? Not so fast.

The condo that sold for $245,000 had been a middle unit college apartment for the owner’s 6 sons, and was sold “as is” and needed plenty of TLC to bring it up to cleanliness standards, much less happy livability! The owner of the condo priced at $325,000 has an end unit in pristine condition, and is offering to leave their state-of-the art appliances, too. Needless to say, the seller is insulted by the offer, and comes back with a counteroffer that’s only $1000 less than asking. That leaves the buyer no room to negotiate, and leaves the seller looking for a more respectful, better informed buyer!

Another possibility is that there are two offers coming in within days of each other. One buyer aggressively lowballs his offer, counting on a buyer’s market. The other, after doing research and discussing his Realtor’s advice, makes an offer that’s on the low end of reasonable, but not outrageous. Which buyer would YOU negotiate with for YOUR home? Exactly.

The aggressive approach can work against sellers as well. If you price your home aggressively high and negotiate with tiny fractions of the price, a buyer can decide that negotiating your home is more work than it’s worth, and will happily go elsewhere to a similar home.

How do you know if your Realtor is aggressive enough without alienating others in the process? Find a Realtor who does a comprehensive CMA, and can back their estimate of a home’s fair market value with examples and real numbers. A Realtor should be able to present the home’s pros and cons, and show you in the CMA where that house should fit, and should be willing to negotiate and be flexible according to your needs, not their ego.

With the right Realtor standing by you, and good communication between you and your Realtor, you have every chance of selling your home a good price for the market, and/or buying your next dream home at a cost you can afford!