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How to Buy a Condominium or Townhouse
Cover of How to Buy a Condominium or Townhouse
How to Buy a Condominium or Townhouse
Practical Advice from a Real Estate Expert
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Whether you are just starting out, looking to own with all the extras or transitioning to simpler living conditions, How to Buy a Condominium or Townhouse explains how to find the best condo, townhouse or co-op for you.• Find the biggest space with the most amenities• Finance your purchase—even with less than perfect credit• Find a real estate agent who will work just for you• Negotiate your sales contract to get the lowest price• Participate in your homeowners associationPlus, gain that extra edge with bonus material that can save you big money. Mythbuster boxes expose common myths about community developments. Insider's Tip boxes reveal crucial negotiating techniques. The Top 20 Frequently Asked Questions answers your most pressing questions. Convenient charts and sample forms make it easy to compare properties, calculate financing and much more.How to Buy a Condominium or Townhouse is your essential guide to finding and buying a new home in the community that fits your lifestyle.

Whether you are just starting out, looking to own with all the extras or transitioning to simpler living conditions, How to Buy a Condominium or Townhouse explains how to find the best condo, townhouse or co-op for you.• Find the biggest space with the most amenities• Finance your purchase—even with less than perfect credit• Find a real estate agent who will work just for you• Negotiate your sales contract to get the lowest price• Participate in your homeowners associationPlus, gain that extra edge with bonus material that can save you big money. Mythbuster boxes expose common myths about community developments. Insider's Tip boxes reveal crucial negotiating techniques. The Top 20 Frequently Asked Questions answers your most pressing questions. Convenient charts and sample forms make it easy to compare properties, calculate financing and much more.How to Buy a Condominium or Townhouse is your essential guide to finding and buying a new home in the community that fits your lifestyle.

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  • From the book Should You Buy a Condo? Decide if condominium-living is right for you before you sign the papers.

    Almost this entire chapter applies equally to condo, townhome, or cooperative apartment living. To make things easier on you, all of these things are referred to by their generic name common interest developments (CIDs). If something in this chapter differs for each type of CID, it will be mentioned specifically.

    Living in a CID offers virtually all the benefits of traditional home ownership. Mortgage interest is deductible, including the interest on a loan used to purchase stock in a cooperative apartment. Property taxes are deductible, including your pro rata share of the property taxes paid by a co-op building. Unit value usually appreciates over time. However, life in a CID also contains some of the same drawbacks as detached housing, such as large closing costs and market risks, and often regular maintenance expenses.

    Common interest developments offer two extremely important advantages over typical stand-alone homes. First, they give you the ability to live in areas of extremely high real estate prices, where the price of the land alone would make residency impossible for most people. Second, they provide you with the privilege of enjoying amenities formerly reserved only for the very wealthy—full-time security, Olympicsize swimming pools, property management, perhaps even stables and riding rings, boat slips, private airfields, on-site day care, and many other benefits that would otherwise not be available to you.

    Before going further, you should evaluate how much individuality you are willing to give up to gain the benefits you want. As a general rule, co-ops are the most restrictive, then condos, and townhomes last. There are variations of restrictiveness within each group, however. Decide early on the importance of the following issues to you, and then shop for something that fits your personality, not just your financial or other types of needs.

    Are You Willing To Share?
    Sharing expenses in order to get more expensive things also means you have to share the things. Problems come with all the little things you never thought you would have to share. For example, you might not have a particular parking place that is specifically designated for you. Someone might become irate if you hog your share of the dumpster by tossing in some old mattresses. Finally, think about possibly sharing bandwidth for your computer, hot water for your shower, or loading dock time for your movers. Are you okay with sharing these things?

    Some things cannot be shared in a CID. There might be rules against burning incense because the other owners do not want to share your fragrances. Likewise, they might be opposed to the lovely melodies coming from your wind chime collection. You could be stunned to discover that the lighted Santa Claus who always sits in your living room window during the holidays is not welcome. Not only must you share many things, but you also must refrain from sharing many other things.

    Can You Give Up a Little Control?
    When living in a CID, owners have less control over their environment than with stand-alone dwellings. Your ability to modify your unit will usually be limited. Rules designed to prevent abuses by other people—self-centered maniacs bent on mayhem and destruction—might actually keep you from having a perfectly civilized, late-night party at the pool with fifty of your closest friends.
About the Author-
  • Denise L. Evans is the author of How To Make Money on Foreclosures and the upcoming Checklists for First-Time Home Buyers. She is a regular contributor of real estate and business articles for local newspapers, and a popular seminar speaker on real estate topics. She graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law and is a member of the Texas Bar. Ms. Evans is a licensed real estate broker, and an active member of both the Commercial Real Estate Club of Birmingham and the Birmingham chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women. She is also a research associate for the Alabama Real Estate Research and Education Center and a candidate for the coveted CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) designation.

    For over twenty years, Ms. Evans and her husband have bought, sold, and developed a wide variety of real estate investments, some on a shoestring and some with more generous financial resources, but always using the same principles, and always at a handsome profit. She resides with her husband in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Table of Contents-
  • Introduction Top 20 Questions of First-Time Condo or Townhouse Buyers Chapter 1: The Difference Between Condos and Houses Chapter 2: Different Types of Condo Developments Chapter 3: The Condo Lifestyle Chapter 4: Legal Overview Chapter 5: Social and Political Considerations Chapter 6: Deciding What You Can Afford Chapter 7: Financing Options Chapter 8: Different Types of Lenders Chapter 9: Deciding on Home Features You Want Chapter 10: Real Estate Brokers and Agents Chapter 11: Finding Properties on Your Own Chapter 12: Asking the Right Questions as You Shop Chapter 13: How to Negotiate Successfully Chapter 14: Writing a Contract Chapter 15: Important Contingency Clauses Chapter 16: Preparing for Closing Chapter 17: The Closing Chapter 18: Ownership Responsibilities Chapter 19: Thinking Ahead to a Sale of Your Condo Glossary Appendix: Websites Index About the Author
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How to Buy a Condominium or Townhouse
How to Buy a Condominium or Townhouse
Practical Advice from a Real Estate Expert
Denise L. Evans
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