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5 questions to ask yourself before buying a condo

Loft room with cozy design

In the San Francisco housing market, condos offer the best cost-effective options to own real estate – especially for young, first-time home buyers who have yet to accumulate the assets to buy a pricey single-family house. It’s an effective step for buying into this increasingly competitive real estate scene.

If you’re ready to entertain the jump from renting an apartment to buying your own condo, consider these 5 questions to see if you’re making a sound decision:

  • Are you ready to commit to a long-term home?

    Between renting an apartment and buying a condo, the latter presents greater longterm financial returns for the money you put out. Real estate values increase over time, and so does your equity in the property as you pay off your mortgage.

    On the other hand, owning a condo means committing to that one location for a few years. If you’re the type who prefers a change in your environment every so often, it may be worth pausing to think whether going through the entire condo buying and selling process is the practical choice for you at this time.

  • What in-house amenities are available?

    Deciding on the best condo option goes beyond the floor space or the number of bedrooms a unit offers. If you want to make the most out of your investment in a condo unit, look for the best package of in-house amenities and services that makes your monthly condo fees worth every cent.

    A good condo must have the essentials: reliable power and water supply, heating and AC, and internet and telephone services. But some condo buildings also offer extra perks like a gym or spa, a theater, or a party or entertainment room in common areas. Look into the availability of in-house maintenance services and/or personnel, as well.

  • Are you covered by insurance?

    Condo fees typically cover insurance, but this is limited to the building, common areas, and related structures. For full protection of your belongings from accidents or water damage, you likely will have to shell out extra cash for separate insurance policies.

  • What house rules are enforced in the condo that you’re eyeing?

    If you’re coming from an apartment environment, you might already be familiar with building rules and bylaws that every tenant must observe. These include noise restrictions, rules allowing or prohibiting pets inside the building premises, and parking guidelines.

    Knowing these rules, as well as the responsible parties who establish them, becomes more crucial when you become a condo unit owner because you become a legitimate part of the building’s homeowner association. One benefit that stems from this is having the opportunity to take part and share your voice as an active member of the association.

  • What places and resources surround your condo building?

    As with any other type of real estate, “location, location, location” matters. From keeping favorite food stops and shopping destinations close by to checking for police, fire, and emergency service stations around the area, it pays to know what resources are around you.

Ray Amouzandeh of TARGA Residential Brokerage knows all about San Francisco’s best real estate opportunities. For help in finding condos for sale at an excellent value, call him at 415-494-7009 or email SFHomez(at)gmail(dotted)com.