Whether owning your own condominium is the right choice ultimately depends on several factors, including your lifestyle and your plans for the next several years.
The health of the local condo market is only one consideration when deciding whether to buy Playa Vista real estate . You'll also want to pay attention to the pros and cons of the lifestyle and your plans for the next several years.
Ask yourself the following five questions to get a better feel for whether condo life is the good life for you.
much freedom do you need?
If you travel frequently and don't like to handle
yard work or routine repairs, a condo may still
be your best bet, analysts say. Your association
dues in a condo cover most of the upkeep, and the
close proximity with your neighbors allows them
to keep an eye on your place when you're gone.
However, buying into a condo also means less freedom
to paint or decorate things the way you want. And
lobbying the board for improvements can be a lengthy
political process. Are you prepared to fight for
those new pool chairs?
you foresee moving in the next five years?
While condo prices are cooling in many markets,
they are bound to bounce back in the long term,
experts say. If you can afford to stay in a property
for five years, it will almost certainly appreciate
in value. On the other hand, if you are looking
to flip a property or you might need more room in
a year or two, a condo might not be the best choice,
said Michael Carliner, economist with the National
Association of Home Builders.
Are condo fees reasonable
Your mortgage payment is just one part of the monthly
tab for a condo. Monthly association fees, which
are not tax deductible, also are required to provide
for landscaping, painting and other upkeep. In a
recent survey by the Community Associations Institute,
30% of respondents belonging to homeowners and condo
associations reported paying $101-$300 per month
in association fees. Can you afford this expense?
Additionally, consider whether the development has
sufficient reserves to cover big repairs when they're
needed. Almost 40% of the CAI's survey respondents
reported paying $50 or less in fees per month. While
a low payment might look attractive, said the National
Association of Realtors' Walter Molony, it can often
cost you down the road.
Is your local market
How have prices for condos fared in your area? Are
they going up as strongly as single-family housing?
Where is your city, and even your ZIP code, in the
real estate cycle? Is there plenty of land for development?
While condos in some land-scarce markets continue
to appreciate, other markets appear to have peaked
and it could take years for supply and demand to
come back in balance.
Is this an investment
or a lifestyle choice?
Over the long haul, condos do not appreciate as
much as single-family homes, Carliner said. On the
other hand, condos in many urban areas are much
more convenient to shops, entertainment and other
amenities. Are you willing to give up some appreciation
to save money on gas and eliminate that long commute?