If you live in Salt Lake City and are interested in condominiums, certain choices can hinder your progress. Here are condo buying mistakes you should avoid.

Are you in the market for a condo? If so, do you know what to look for in your next home? Do you know what condo buying mistakes to avoid?

We’re not trying to put any extra stress or pressure on you, but the truth is, this is a huge investment. Buying a condo is a decision that will affect you for a long time. You need to make sure you’re walking into this deal with as much knowledge as possible. 

We’re here to help. Keep reading for some of the most common mistakes condo buyers make and how to avoid them.

  1. Not Getting Your Financial House in Order

Do you know your credit score? Do you know how much you can afford for monthly payments? Have you ever lived on your own before?

These are important questions to ask yourself when buying a condo. To set yourself up for success, you need to make sure your financial house is in order.

For example, your credit score can significantly impact your mortgage rates. It will affect how much you can get approved for and what interest rates you qualify for. The difference of just one percent APR over the life of a mortgage can equate to thousands of dollars.

It may be a good idea to work on your credit score for a few months before applying for a mortgage. You also need to take a good hard look at your current cash flow to identify potential financial strains once you’re making mortgage payments. This may be a good time to conduct a financial audit on yourself to uncover where you can cut back or save money.

  1. Not Accounting for All the Costs

Speaking of finances, one of the most common condo buying mistakes is not knowing the true costs of homeownership. When most people start looking at buying homes for the first time, they don’t take the time to understand all the costs involved. 

For example, buying a condo entails a lot of expenses, outside of just the mortgage payments. Here are some common examples of both possible and definite costs:

  • HOA fees (cover the costs of maintenance in common areas and pays for amenities)
  • Realtor fees 
  • Closing costs
  • Property taxes
  • Utilities (water, gas, electric, waste removal)
  • Services (cable, phone, internet, etc.)
  • Inspection and appraisal (sometimes paid by seller)

Aside from these costs, if you’re new to living on your own, you also need to think about groceries, fuel for your car, pet food, and more. 

  1. Not Hiring a Real Estate Agent

It’s also important to hire a real estate agent who’s familiar with the local housing market. This is especially important if you’re new to the area and don’t know your way around. A real estate agent can provide valuable insight into:

  • Neighborhoods
  • School districts
  • Commuting times
  • Nearby Attractions
  • Zoning laws
  • HOAs

Though realtors come with a fee, they can prove to be essential to avoiding condo buying mistakes. They may also be able to provide important connections for insurance companies, banks, and other important services.

  1. Relying Solely on a Virtual Tour

We live in a digital world. Whether you’re shopping for clothes, appliances, or condos, everything is available at your fingertips. However, we want to remind you that pictures can be deceiving. 

Never commit to buying a condo based on virtual tours and pictures alone. Spaces can seem bigger or smaller in pictures. Additionally, pictures will never give you a complete grasp of how a home feels.

  1. Not Getting a Home Inspection

One of the worst condo buying mistakes you could make is to skip the home inspection. While this is yet another fee you may be responsible for, it’s well worth the money.

A home inspector will make sure the condo you’re looking at buying is in good condition. If the previous owner didn’t conduct proper condo maintenance, there could be a lot of underlying issues. These issues can turn into big expenses in the future.

A home inspector will look at the major components and systems of the home, such as:

  • Foundations
  • HVAC System
  • Electrical System
  • Plumbing
  • Roofing
  • Structural Integrity

They’ll also look for things like water damage, mold, signs of pests, paint integrity, and more.

  1. Not Doing Your Homework

Anyone looking to buy a home, whether it’s a house or a condo, need to do their own research about their options. Of course, they need to look into the local housing marketing to get a good idea about what a fair condo price looks like. This can help them narrow down their search or come up with the desired budget.

Buyers should also do their look into the location of potential condos. They need to know things that will affect their day-to-day life. This includes:

  • Distance from work
  • Schooling districts
  • The parking situation
  • Nearby parks
  • Crime rates in the community
  • Proximity to emergency response centers (sirens)
  • Proximity to airports (loud planes)
  • Etc.

They should also look into the specifics of each condo association their condo falls under. The condo association may have restrictions about noise, pets, parties, etc. 

Finally, know what amenities the condo offers. Some condo association fees grant you access to:

  • Pool
  • Hot tubs/saunas 
  • Fitness facility
  • Tennis courts/basketball courts
  • Laundry facilities
  • And more

Decide if the condo association fees are worth the amenities. If they aren’t, you may have to find a condo with fewer amenities and smaller fees.

  1. Not Knowing How to Make a Decision

Finally, common condo buying mistakes center around buyers not being able to make good or timely decisions. On the one hand, you have buyers who fall in love with every condo they walk into and make impulse decisions. This short-sightedness can lead to unhappiness down the road. 

On the other hand, you have buyers who struggle to pull the trigger on any condo. They’re always looking for something just a little better. Meanwhile, they let amazing deals slip through their fingers.

We suggest relying on your realtor to help you make the best decision. Trust them if they tell you there’s nothing better in your price range. Follow their advice if they think you can do better.

Want to Avoid Other Condo Buying Mistakes and Other Real Estate Issues?

Investing in real estate, personally or professionally, is a big deal. Make sure you avoid the common condo buying mistakes listed above. And most of all, do what feels right for you and your family. 

Good luck, and be sure to check out some of our other articles about real estate for more guidance!

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