In the San Francisco housing market, condos offer the best cost-effective options to own real estate – especially for young, first-time home buyers who have yet to accumulate the assets to buy a pricey single-family house. It’s a practical step for buying into this increasingly competitive real estate scene.
If you’re ready to entertain the jump from renting an apartment to buying your condo, consider these five questions to see if you’re making a sound decision:
Between renting an apartment and buying a condo, the latter presents greater long-term financial returns for the money you put out. Real estate values increase over time, and so does your equity in the property as you pay off your mortgage.
On the other hand, owning a condo means committing to that location for a few years. If you’re the type who prefers a change in your environment every so often, it may be worth pausing to think whether going through the entire condo buying and selling process is the practical choice for you at this time.
Deciding on the best condo option goes beyond the floor space or the number of bedrooms a unit offers. If you want to make the most out of your investment in a condo unit, look for the best in-house amenities and services that make your monthly condo fees worth every cent.
A good condo typically has reliable power and water supply, efficient heating and AC system, and internet and telephone services. But some condo buildings also offer extra perks like a gym or spa, a theater, or a party or entertainment room in common areas. Look into the availability of in-house maintenance services and personnel, as well.
Condo fees usually cover insurance but are limited to the building, common areas, and related structures. You likely will have to shell out extra cash for separate home owner’s insurance policies to protect your belongings from accidents or water damage.
If you come from an apartment environment, you are already familiar with building rules and bylaws that every tenant must observe. These include noise restrictions, laws allowing or prohibiting pets inside the building premises, and parking guidelines.
Knowing these rules and the responsible parties who establish them becomes more crucial when you become a condo unit owner because you become a legitimate part of the building’s homeowner association. One benefit that stems from this is the opportunity to participate and share your voice as an active association member.
As with any other type of real estate, “location, location, location” matters. From keeping favorite food stops and shopping destinations close by to checking for police, fire, and emergency service stations around the area, it pays to know what resources are around you.
Today, we embark on a journey to explore one of life's most significant decisions: buying or renting a home.
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