If you are thinking about buying a condo, maybe it’s your first home purchase, maybe you’ve been renting for a while and decided it’s time to start paying your own mortgage instead of someone else’s. Whatever the reason, condos can be a great option because they are usually less expensive then a home purchase. Especially when getting started on the home ownership wagon.
I’m not talking about the obvious stuff here. Obviously find a condo you love (when buying your 1st home, you better love it or it’s the wrong one). These are 5 tips you probably didn’t think of and you don’t want to learn the hard way.
HOA Rules and Pet Policy
Have pets? Check the pet policy. Not all condos (it’s actually the Home Owners Association that makes the rules and buying a condo automatically makes you a member of a homeowners association) allow certain types of pets, have limits on the size of different pets, breed restrictions, and weight restrictions. If you are like me, my dogs are part of my family. You don’t want to run into this issue after you purchased a condo.
Short Term Rentals and Leasing
Planning to AirBnB? Checking the leasing rules. Most have restrictions. In Downtown San Diego, just about all the condos have restrictions. They vary by building but most will have a minimum allowable lease time of 30 days to 6 months or even more. Other condos get more strict with the number of leases allowed in the building. The thinking here is the HOA does not want the complexes to turn into hotels. On paper, short term leasing might make sense financially but it’s not feasible per most condo association rules.
Not a big carpet fan? Who is!! Don’t like carpet and planning to put in hardwood or laminate? Many condo complexes have rules as to the type of flooring allowed. Some units might even be more restricted then other units in a complex. If you are planning to install wood, tile , or maybe a nice laminate, make sure it’s allowed before you buy. This will save you a major headache.
It’s a two bedroom so there must be 2 parking spots? Nope. Parking is not directly correlated to number of bedrooms as common sense might suggest. Check those condo details. Some condos will have 2 parking spots, some will have 1, some might not have a parking spot. Also, pay attention to the parking spot type. For example, lets say you drive a ford F250 jacked up super truck. You buy your condo and realize that yes it has a parking spot but it’s a third level compact car sized spot… You have a big problem. Check this out before you let the ink hit the paper!
Monthly Home Owners Fees
Check the monthly fees. Some can be close to, as high, or more than the mortgage. HOA fees can make or break affordability. There are two parts to this:
- The first is to find out what the amount is for the monthly HOA dues. Are there any planned increases or assessments? Some condo fees can be nominal but others can be astronomical. Find out that amount.
- The second part is to find out what that fee includes. Maybe it’s high but it includes some of the utilities so you save on that end. They are all different so make sure to pay attention to that part as well as the total amount.
I hope these 5 things to know when buying a condo in San Diego are helpful as you embark on your path towards home ownership.
Also, if you also need any help navigating San Diego as far as living, eating, sleeping, working, or playing, I will be happy to help. Don’t be shy about reaching out to me. Call, text, or email me anytime!
Thank you for taking the time to read my post,