How to Buy Your First Condo without Getting Burned
Learn how to buy your first condo without getting burned. Save money and pick a realtor who will work to make the experience a profitable and pleasant one.
Well, here I am buying my first condo and boy am I learning alot. First I learned to pick a real estate agent I know or at least one who has been recommended. There are so many behind the scenes deals going on, with some of these realtors, that you can't tell whether they actually care if you get a good deal or not. Some realtors only work with certain builders or certain properties. This means that there is a whole world of other condos out there in your price range that you may not be seeing.
Next I learned to check the construction. Here in Florida you want a concrete based construction. Many of these new condos or apartment to condo conversions use what seems like pliewood. This is not a great idea in a state full of termites and humidity. The last thing you want is to find mold growing on your fabulous outfits, when you open your closets or see chunks of your wall missing. Also with the number of hurricanes we get down here, the concrete based buildings have a much better chance of surviving. Ask the realtor and the seller what the building is made out of.
They are legally required to answer your questions.
Also, ask if they have had any problems at all with the unit or the building. If you don't ask they don't have to tell you everything. That is where the saying buyer beware comes from. They have to answer your questions honestly but anything left unasked is your responsibility or for the courts and your lawyers to battle out. Talk to your future neighbors. If everyone living there looks depressed or pissed off there may be a darned good reason these units are for sale. Also look at the cars parked in the parking lot. Are they BMWs or beat up Chevy's with bullet holes? You don't have to live at the Ritz but you also don't want most of the units to be composed of drug dealers either.
Check into the surrounding area. Are you close to a good school? This should help your property retain its value. Also check on the criminal statistics in that area. It may look pretty during the day but what happens at night?
Research is your best tool. Selling prices of sorrounding units and properties are public record. See what the properties around you sold for in the last few months and compare it to the asking price. Are the seller's expectations too high? Negotiate.
Never give full asking price. Here in Orlando, I have heard of houses going for more than the asking price. This is nuts! Everyone is acting as if there won't be another house for sale ever. This is ludicrous. Every time I drive down the street, I see new houses posted for sale and these signs are staying up for longer periods. There are motivated sellers out there.
See if the owners are still in residence. If they are still living there, they may not be completely motivated to sell. After all they are only paying their mortgate, as usual. On the other hand if the apartment is vacant and the electricity is turned off, they may be alot more motivated to sell. They are now paying the mortgage for an empty condo plus rent or another mortgage on another property. These are just a few tips on making sure you get a first home that you can be proud of and happy in. Happy Hunting.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Caterina Christakos is a published author and a private real estate investor. To learn more tips on how to buy property and find investors go to: http://www.a1-real-estate-investing.com