Buyer's Guide
Lansing Area Real Estate
REAL ESTATE
 
 
Condominium or Single Family Home?

This is a personal choice that depends on your life style. A condo might be a good choice if you have a very busy schedule, travel a lot, or donít have the time to mow your grass and shovel your walk. Also, condos sometimes offer other amenities such as a swimming pool, fitness center, a golf course or a great location.

Condos are available in many styles and prices. They range from one bedroom apartment style units for around $65,000 to stand alone units that are priced at over half a million dollars.

If you choose to purchase a condominium you will have complete ownership of a single unit within a multiple-unit complex, as well as partial ownership of common areas such as lawns, gardens, walkways, parking facilities, pools and community buildings. Your financial responsibility will include payment of municipal taxes on your unit, insurance to cover personal liability and the contents of your unit, and
 a monthly condominium fee to cover such things as lawn care, snow removal, building insurance, and exterior building maintenance.

The exterior maintenance of the complex is shared with the other owners and a portion of your monthly fee goes into a reserve account for future repairs. Some complexes will include utilities such as water, garbage removal, and sewer in the monthly fee. Fees and coverage vary from complex to complex. Condo fees can
vary from $100 to $300 a month.

Condominium drawbacks
Condominiums are less private than single family homes and noise may be a problem. Quiet lounging on your deck may not be a relaxing experience if nearby neighbors
are playing music you don't enjoy.

By necessity, your condominium association will have rules and regulations that control living conditions for the general good of the complex. Some rules may be a burden to you. There are frequently restrictions controlling the size and number of pets, and how much gardening you can do on the grounds adjacent to your unit. Parking may be restricted to a single vehicle with additional fees for a second car. Should you choose to rent your unit, there may be a restriction preventing occupancy by anyone other than the owner.

The association's operating budget is extremely important to the operation of the complex. Monthly fees are supposed to cover services and periodic maintenance. If this budget has been mismanaged, you may be hit
with a huge roofing assessment shortly after moving in.

Recommendation
Before purchasing a condominium unit, ask to view copies of:

  • Master Deed
  • Restrictions
  • Association bylaws
  • Association budget

Review these documents carefully and don't be afraid to ask questions.

 
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