Thursday, January 14, 2016

Do You Want to Buy a Condo or Townhouse? They are different.

Earlier this week I met with a prospective buyer to review their needs and budget.  They indicated initially they were looking for a condo.  However, after some discussion, I realized that a townhouse could possibly suit them just as well for lower monthly fees.

So what are the differences (and similarities) between a condominium and and a townhouse?

From the outside many condos and townhouses are indistinguishable.   Most often, in this area of central Florida, townhomes are two story units but some are single floor.  

But the differences can be significant.

One of the major differences:  A condo owner does not own any land individually.  Their private ownership begins with their unit interior walls.  Each condo owner does own an interest in all the common areas and property.

The condominium association usually provides a master insurance policy and the owner individually insures their personal belongings, interior unit as well as personal liability. I am not an insurance person, call one!

The condo association usually provides maintenance, electricity, taxes and upkeep for the common areas and property.  Prospective buyers should review what is covered by their dues as some associations may also include water, sewer and basic cable service.   What is covered and the condo organization results in condo association dues being likely higher than one would find in town home communities.

In a townhouse you own the land your unit sits on although the amount of land is likely minimal.  Most of the time, unless covered by an association, townhome owners are responsible for their own exterior maintenance, roof, insurance, landscaping, etc. 

As a general rule the  townhouse owner, like the single family home owner, is largely responsible for it all.    However, there are some townhouse complexes that cover lawn as well as roof replacement.  Again - read the association documents before purchasing either a townhouse or condo.

When considering a purchase in a condo or townhouse community obtain (and read) the rules and regulations.  Do not rely on a non-attorney (I am not an attorney nor do I play one on TV.) to interpret these documents written by an attorney!
  • Obtain and review financial reports.  
  • Attend association meetings if you can arrange to do so.  
  • Contact members of the Board of Directors
  • Talk with other unit owners. 
Understand what you will receive from your association as well as what your obligations will be financially.   Know before hand what you are buying into. And once you purchase - become an active member.

Considering buying a condo in Melbourne, Satellite Beach or the surrounding area?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 for help.