Buying a Portland Condo: Six questions to ask
Condo sales in the Portland real estate market are steadily rising. Portland condos took the hardest hit during the housing bubble and crash, but are rebounding fast. Many think a Portland condo is one of your best (and last) chances to still get a deal from the Portland housing market crash. From first-time homebuyers to empty-nesters looking to downsize, a condo is a great, affordable housing option for many Portland residents. With inventory in the Portland housing market low and the economy picking up again, condos are becoming an even more popular option. But owning a condo is different from owning a house for several reasons. Before you buy, read the fine print and ask plenty of questions. Here are some to start with:
1. What are the condo association fees, and what do they cover? Some condos offer amenities like a gym, swimming pool, community areas and events. These can be great perks or expensive frivolities, depending on who you are. Know what you’ll be paying for, and think about whether you’re interested in using these features.
2. How is maintenance paid for? Will you be paying monthly maintenance fees, or will repairs be paid for by condo owners as they arise? You’ll need to know in order to plan your finances past your move-in date.
3. How much is in the repair fund? It should be enough to cover at least 10% of major repairs such as re-roofing or paving the driveway. If the maintenance fees seem low or high, a peek at the repair fund balance might help you understand why. You also may want to find out the last time that major repairs were done.
4. What are the rules, and can I live with them? Some HOAs might have strict guidelines about exterior paint, pets, and, in retirement communities, who can live in the house.
5. When does the condo association meet? You can attend a meeting or go over the minutes from a previous meeting. It will reveal a lot about the way that decision are made and what is currently on the association’s priority list. If owners have complaints, they’ll also appear in the minutes.
6. What is the occupancy rate? If many of the units are vacant, it wouldn’t hurt to find out why.
From downtown living to suburban quietude, condos in the Portland, Oregon area offer affordable home ownership and community to individuals and families from all backgrounds. Although there are still many Portland condos on the market, sales have picked up since last year, so now is the perfect time to buy. The best place to begin is to talk to your Portland real estate agent. You’ll be glad you did!December 1, 2013