For young professionals with no children or for retired couples who want to relax, a condo seems like a natural choice. But what they often fail to take into account is the fact that with condos often come significant hidden risks. Often, it takes a great deal of research to make the right choice. So here’s what you need to know before buying a townhouse or condo in Los Angeles.
Let’s start, then, with a quick overview of the differences between townhouses and condos – which, of course, is the first thing you need to know before buying a townhouse or condo in Los Angeles.
A townhouse (also known as a townhome) is, basically, a single-family dwelling that shares one or more walls with the similar, adjoining, independently owned single-family dwellings. Townhouses are typically constructed as rows of fairly uniform homes, often two stories or taller. Townhouse owners own the interior, the exterior, and the yards and are obligated to carry insurance on both the interior and exterior.
A condo, on the other hand, is a single-family dwelling that is part of a complex or community of similar dwellings in which people own only the interior. Although condos can vary in style and size, ranging from individual homes to upscale high rises, they are often indistinguishable from apartment complexes in appearance. Residents don’t own any of the property or exterior, only the interior of the condo. As a result, they are not individually responsible for any exterior maintenance and have to insure only the interior and its contents.
Fees to Be Paid
Before even considering buying a townhouse or condo in Los Angeles, you need to find out exactly what you’ll be paying in the way of fees. Homeowner’s association (HOA) fees can be pretty hefty. So if you don’t figure those into the total cost, you may wind up buying a townhouse or condo that you can’t afford.
Handling of Repairs
Another thing to consider is how repairs will be handled. Townhouse and condo associations usually have insurance policies to cover a variety of repairs, as well as a fund (typically drawn form association fees) to cover repairs and maintenance on things like tennis courts and swimming pools. But you still need to find out the process for initiating and getting repairs done – how quickly repairs can be taken care of and whether it will cost you anything extra.
Nature of the HOA
Before buying a townhouse or condo in Los Angeles, you should also find out what the HOA is like, including the overall personality of the board. This is an important element in how well living there will suit you, especially with respect to rules and regulations. A good way to start this investigation is by looking over the HOA’s rules/regulations and examining minutes of a couple of the most recent meetings.
Another important consideration is the delinquency rate because this can affect both your ability to get a mortgage and resale value. The delinquency rate is the percentage of residents who are late or delinquent in paying their homeowner’s dues or HOA fees. Most banks and mortgage lenders will not approve loans for buildings with delinquency rates of 15% or higher.
Kind and Quality of Neighbors
Also, before buying a townhouse or condo in Los Angeles, it’s a good idea to find out about the neighbors you may be living near for many years to come. You want their lifestyles to match up at least a little with yours. If, for example, you’re an early riser who goes to bed early, you wouldn’t want to live next to people who stay up till 3:00 am playing loud music.
You may think you’ll live in your townhouse or condo the rest of your life, but you just never know – things change and life takes unexpected turns. So before buying a townhouse or condo in Los Angeles, you need to know about its potential resale value. The delinquency rate, level of maintenance, the rigidity of rules, and personality of the residents will be key factors here.
The Final Thing You Need to Know
There are indeed several things you need to know before buying a townhouse or condo in Los Angeles, But maybe the most important of them all is where to find the real estate professional with plenty of experience in this arena to provide some guidance. Well, that’s what we can do and have done for many satisfied clients.