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Is a condo the right home for you? There are many benefits in living in a condo that can make your life better and more enjoyable. This site is dedicated to explaining a few of the benefits and issues of condo living.

The best part about owning a condo is that your condominium sets you on the path to financial freedom. The worst part about buying your first condo is that buying a condo usually costs more monthly cash flow than renting an apartment.

While it often costs more per month to buy than to rent, in most cases, all that extra money comes back to you at the end of the year in the form of tax refunds. Best of all, next year your mortgage will be the same amount and your debt will be reduced. With an apartment your money is gone and your rent will surely have a rent increase. Before deciding to purchase a condominium, it is important to do your research into both the legal and practical aspects of owning a condominium.

What is a condominium?

A condominium is usually a housing unit or apartment in a multi-unit building in which each unit is individually owned, while common areas and the property in general are jointly owned by the residents and the owner of the building, or all of the residents together. Some people choose to purchase and live in a condominium because some condos are less expensive than a traditional single-family house. Additionally, many condos have added amenities and facilities.

Most condominiums have amenities you won’t find on a similarly priced single family residence. A typical condo has a pool, a work-out room, and party room. Typically all or some of the exterior maintenance and lawn care is provided by the condo association. Many condos have utilities included in the price of the condo fee. These and many other luxuries are standard in a condominium community but are beyond the reach of those who reside in single family homes. In short, condo owners choose condo life because they love life and they don’t want to be bogged down with maintaining a lawn or cleaning gutters. They want to walk out the back door and enjoy a dip in the pool while the other guy is spending time writing checks to pay his utilities.

Why buy a condo?

The best part about owning a condo is that your condominium sets you on the path to financial freedom. Buying a condo costs more monthly cash flow than renting an apartment. But, in most cases, all that money comes back to you at the end of the year in the form of tax refunds. Best of all, next year your mortgage will be the same amount and your debt will be reduced. With an apartment your money is gone and your rent will surely have a cost of living increase.

Before deciding to purchase a condominium, it is important to do your research into both the legal and practical aspects of owning a condominium. As with any home purchase, location, size and price are important. With a condominium you’ll also want to understand the ownership scheme. This type of information is found in the “condo docs” or condominium documents. Most states, and the Commonwealth of Virginia, require condo doc disclosure before any purchase contract is finalized. The condo docs will contain detailed information on the ownership and property rights of the condo and its owners. The rules of the homeowners association are generally explained in the condo docs in plain English (and not in legal jargon)? It’s important to read the condo documents to understand the annual maintenance and upkeep fees, as well as to obtain a full understanding of exactly how much control the association have over the regulation of the property?

Condominiums can be found all over the country, with more being developed each year. Condominiums are quite common in Northern Virginia and the National Capitol area. Some condos are new construction, and a few are apartment buildings that were rental apartments before making the switch.

In newly constructed condos, it’s common to find a sales office onsite at the condominium. And whether your buying from a condominium owner or a condo office, it’s a good idea to take a guided tour of facilities and the units that are available for purchase. Of course, many new condominium offices have staff that act as sales agents. Potential condominium owners can make an appointment to meet with a staff sales agent to discuss interest in condo ownership. However, when you’re in the market for a condo, it’s a good idea to employ your own Condo Alexandria real estate agent rather than rely on the services of the condominium staff. Your real estate agent will have an understanding of the condominium ownership structure and the condominium documents and the real estate agent can explain what this means to you.

Although there are various types of condominiums, the most common legal arrangements involve individual ownership of each unit, with joint ownership of the communal or common areas by all of the residents in the building. You might be surprised to learn the variety of sizes found in condominiums. Condos range from studios and one bedroom apartment, to a four bedroom penthouse apartment. Even condominiums with the same number of bedrooms can have different floor plans and different numbers of bathrooms and half-baths.

While some condominiums are located in large multi-unit buildings, others may be detached form each other and be located in a gated or planned community. Some condominiums may be located in resort or vacation destinations. Besides total cost of the property, you should also inquire as to the annual homeowners association costs. These fees are usually charged in order to pay for the upkeep and maintenance of the common areas. Owning a condominium can be one of the largest investments you make, so make sure that the one you choose can accommodate your specific needs. Purchasing a condominium can be a great way to buy a property in the location you really want with all the amenities you seek.