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6 Reasons Why a Condo is the Right Choice for You

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you're a prospective homebuyer, you have lots of options. Maybe you’re weary of paying rent or have accepted a job transfer. You could be an empty nester planning to downsize. Buyers who don't feel a single-family home is the right choice may find that it's time to consider purchasing a condominium unit, which offers heightened flexibility and higher affordability in a home that serves as part of a larger building.


A condominium represents a kind of home ownership in which owners share an interest in common areas, such as a yard or a parking area. However, each owner holds a title separately for their respective unit. Here are six reasons why a condo could be the right choice for you.


1. Financial Outlay


When deciding between a single-family home or a condo, expense is usually a major factor. A condo generally costs significantly less than a single-family residence when evaluating similar locations and might be a better fit for your budget. This means that your down payment, monthly mortgage payments, insurance, and property taxes are lower. You’ll also save money on maintenance, since condo owners share the cost of common upkeep.


In some cases, owners of single-family homes must belong to a homeowners’ association with fees much steeper than those assessed by condo associations. Even when there is no HOA linked to a single-family dwelling, condo ownership costs are usually significantly less.


2. Upkeep


A smaller home means less cleaning and interior upkeep. Roof replacement and maintenance of the community grounds and the exterior of units is the responsibility of the condo association, which hires contractors. This frees up an owner’s time for more enjoyable activities. For those who are downsizing, it can be a welcome relief after years of yard work and structural maintenance.


3. Amenities


Condo complexes typically offer amenities that owners of single-family homes don’t enjoy. Think swimming pools and hot tubs. Some have fitness centers, basketball and tennis courts, childcare facilities, and even book clubs. Many larger complexes provide concierges to rent a car or obtain event tickets for residents.


4. Security


Does a gated community appeal to you? How about a security guard? The presence of neighbors surrounding you is an undeniable plus for buying a condo instead of a singlefamily dwelling. Many condo communities establish neighborhood watch groups to look out for each other. Buzzer entries and security cameras are also common.


5. Community


Condo dwellers comment on the strong sense of community they experience. This is particularly true when a community plans social events for its residents. A condo community is also the perfect place to gain some new friends who won’t have to travel miles to spend time with you. Whether you’re a single who loves to party or a retired couple, it’s easy to find a community filled with other owners who have similar interests.


6. Location


Condominiums are ideal for buyers who love the buzz of an urban environment. Builders often erect complexes in downtown areas near restaurants, transit hookups, retailers, theaters, museums, and other attractions. A condo near a college or university is often far more affordable than a single-family home in the same area.


Do you have a favorite but pricey neighborhood? Buying a condo instead of a singlefamily dwelling could be the deciding factor in whether residing in that particular section of town is doable. If you’d love to live in a luxury spot such as near the beach or beside the ski slopes, owning a condo often allows you to enjoy the associated lifestyle at a fraction of the expense of a single-family residence. You might want to buy in a luxury location with an eye toward eventually turning your home into a rental. That represents great investment potential.


Many benefits of owning a condominium are attractive to prospective buyers looking at real estate. Whether your concern is satisfying financial requirements, social interaction, saving time, or all of them, buying a condo might be the perfect choice for you.

 

Blog post provided courtesy of our RE/MAX Colleague Justin Havre of Justin Havre & Associates at RE/MAX First in Calgary, Canada.

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    Condo Fire Safety Requirements

    In this area, most attorneys require an inspection by the Vermont Division of Fire Safety (or by the city Fire Marshall in some cases) be done and the seller correct any violations, prior to closing. Below are a few things we see come up most often on these inspections. 

    You can also visit the Vermont Fire Safety website for more information on current requirements and code details. 

    Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
    Fireextinguisher Most likely these will need to be hardwired, have battery back-up, and be interconnected. check the current code requirements from Vermont Safety to find out exactly what is needed for your home. 

    Fire Extinguishers
    Most of us have one, but is it new or has it been inspected by a professional in the past year? If not, you may need a new one. There are also specific size requirements and some towns require they be mounted in a specific area of the home. 

    Self-Closing Door
    If you live in a building where your main condo door opens into a common hallway, that door needs to be self-closing. If it’s not already, it’s a pretty easy fix with some special hinges. 

    Ground Fault Interceptor (GFI) Outlets
    Any area of your home considered potentially “wet” (kitchens, bathrooms, basement, patio) need to have GFI outlets. An electrician can install these and should know the areas where they would be required. 

    Egress
    This can cover a variety of things, from having two ways out in a finished basement, to having windows of a proper size in bedrooms. This is evaluated on a case-by-case basis and in some cases a variance can be obtained is something doesn’t meet the specific guidelines. It’s best to talk to the Fire Marshall about your options and what is needed for your home. 

    It can take several weeks for an appointment with a Fire Marshall for an inspection. In some cases getting this inspection done early in the process is best. If you have any questions please let us know. 

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      86 Ways to Make Your Home Show Better

      If you are thinking of selling your home, there are a number of things you can do to improve the overall impression made by your home. But first, you must learn to look at your home through the eyes of the buyer. 

      Here are some tips on things you should be looking for when evaluating your home through the eyes of the buyer. Most of the suggestions are no-cost or low-cost improvements and this early investment in your home’s appearance really pays off when selling the home. Cleaning

      1. Open the draperies, pull up the shades and let in the sunlight.
      2. Create a positive mood. Turn on all lights, day or night.
      3. Install higher wattage light bulbs to show your home more brightly — in its best light.
      4. Remove all clutter from each room to visually enlarge them and create the impact of spaciousness.
      5. If you have a fireplace, highlight it in your decorating.
      6. Keep your home dusted and vacuumed at all times.
      7. Have a family emergency “game plan” to get the home in order quickly, if necessary.
      8. Air out your home one half hour before the showing if possible.
      9. Lightly spray the room with air freshener so that it has a chance to diffuse and air out before the buyer arrives.
      10. Microwave a small dish of vanilla twenty minutes before the showing and place it an out of the way place in the kitchen.
      11. Create a master “suite” effect in your decorating.
      12. Make sure that beds are made and the linens and curtains are fresh and clean.
      13. Organize your closets, remove unnecessary items and put them in storage.
      14. Bathrooms should always be kept spotlessly clean.
      15. Do not leave towels around and wipe down the shower areas after each use.
      16. Re-caulk if the caulking is not sparkling white.
      17. Put out fresh towels and decorative soap for showings.
      18. Set the scene by setting the table! Highlight the potential of your dining room by setting a grand dining table.
      19. The kitchen should always be kept spotlessly clean.
      20. Expand your counter space by removing small appliances.
      21. Highlight an eat-in area in your kitchen with a table set for dinner.
      22. Shampoo all carpets and vacuum them daily.
      23. If the carpet does not clean up well you should replace it.
      24. Improve traffic flow through every room and create a feeling of spaciousness by removing unnecessary furniture, knick-knacks, hobby items, children’s items, etc. 
      25. However, try to avoid creating a “sterile” looking environment. 
      26. Remove all grease from range hoods, ovens, stove tops, walls, etc. 
      27. Clean rubbish out of the fireplace and keep it clean in the winter. 
      28. If you have numerous family photos put them away until your home is under contract. Prospective buyers will feel more like it can be their home if they aren’t aware of your family photo memories. 
      29. Remove all unnecessary items from the attic, basement, garage, tool shed, and especially from the storage area if you have one. 
      30. Rent a storage area for these items or have a yard sale. 
      31. Fix the front doorbell. 
      32. Invest in a new doormat. 
      33. Make sure the front door, storm doors, screen door, etc work wonderfully!
      34. Create the feeling of a spacious entry area by using decorating accents, mirrors, rugs, etc and by removing all unnecessary clutter. 
      35. Wash all windows, inside and out. 
      36. Remove all smoke odors, pet odors, and odors resulting from hobbies. 
      37. Remove all posters and adhesive from walls and doors and putty any holes resulting from nails or other mishaps. 
      38. Depersonalize teenagers’ rooms and decorate in a neutral temperament. 
      39. Clean or paint the basement walls and floor. 
      40. Paint any bright, bold, or dark inside walls with off-white paint (use two or more coats to cover). 
      41. Repair or replace all doors, closet, doors, and/or windows and screens so that they open with ease. 
      42. Repair or replace banisters and handrails. 
      43. Repair or replace broken tiles on walls, floors, or in showers/tubs. 
      44. Repair or replace loose or dangling wallpaper. 
      45. If the basement shows any signs of water or structural damage it may be necessary to obtain a structural engineer’s report. 
      46. Replace all toilet bowls if you cannot get them spotlessly clean. 
      47. Replace shower curtains and keep them clean. 
      48. Replace the washers in faucets and remove rust stains from basins. 
      49. Water and prune all plants. 
      50. Use plants in transitional areas of your home between inside and out. 
      51. Either get rid of dying plants or keep them out of sight. 
      52. Remove any excess extension cords and exposed wires. 
      53. Open doors to areas you want the potential buyer to see such as walk-in closets, pantries, attic, basement, etc. 
      54. Close all other closet doors and cabinets. 
      55. Make the most of your attic’s potential, if applicable. 
      56. Make the attic as pleasant as possible by airing it out, and decorating if possible. 
      57. Add visual appeal to stairways, especially in unfinished stairways to the basement. 
      58. Keep the yard mowed, raked, fertilized and watered at all times!
      59. Remove all toys, bicycles, tools, unsightly patio furniture, trash, etc from the yard. 
      60. Trees and shrubs should be pruned and trimmed. 
      61. Laws and gardens should be weeded at all times. 
      62. Use flowering plants to dress up the yard, walkways, and patio. 
      63. All hoses and garden equipment should be neatly out of sight. 
      64. Outdoor furniture should be kept clean and/or repainted if necessary. 
      65. Firewood should be neatly stacked or out of sight. 
      66. Mailboxes should be evaluated with a critical eye, paint, repair, or replace if necessary. 
      67. Make all those minor repairs to the exterior. 
      68. Porches, steps, verandas, balconies, patios, and other extensions of the house should be kept uncluttered, swept and in good condition. 
      69. Paint all entrance doors. 
      70. Shades and awnings should be in good condition. Replace if the color has faded. Remove windsocks. 
      71. Create an outside living/dining area with furniture and plants. 
      72. Highlight your pool area, water garden, etc with lighting, benches, planters, flowering plants, etc. 
      73. Take nighttime photos of decorative yard lighting systems. 
      74. Take pictures of your flowering mature landscaping now if you are planning to sell your home later in the season. 
      75. Display these photos in your home in the winter. 
      76. Clean and shine all accessories (door knobs, knockers, lamps, mailboxes, address numbers, etc). 
      77. Clean, repair, and paint all gutters and downspouts. 
      78. All roof shingles, tiles, etc should be secured or replaced. If the roof leaks — fix it!
      79. Make sure the garage door opens easily. Fix and paint the garage door if necessary. 
      80. Paint the chimney and replace broken bricks or stones.
      81. An investment in painting your home can really make the difference between “turning on” the buyer and sending up a red flag about the condition of the home. 
      82. Don't be afraid to accept the first offer.
      83. Obtain a floor plan of your home if possible. 
      84. Assemble house records for buyer perusal. 
      85. Only consider written offers by lender-prequalified buyers. 
      86. Enlist the services of a professional marketing agent such as The Condo Guy Team to market your home in trade magazines, newspapers, and with extensive online marketing. 

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        15 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Condo

        For Sale SignBuying a condo can be overwhelming, there are many moving parts. Below are 15 things you want to avoid to help make the buying process a whole lot smoother. 

        1. Continue to Rent Because it’s Cheaper

        Actually, right now, in our marketplace, the cost of renting is higher than what homeownership would be at these amazing prices and interest rates. Not to mention the fact that rents go up on average by at least 3 percent per year, so a $1,000 rent today would be $1,344 in ten years. Even more importantly, you’ll be missing out on all of the mortgage interest deductions, which will likely save you thousands of dollars. 

        2. Wait for Prices to Fall More

        Guess what — prices are already starting to rebound. But even if they weren’t, there’s a good chance interest rates will be climbing, which means the mortgage payment could actually be higher, even if prices were to fall a tad. 

        3. Wait for Rates to Get Lower

        They could, but in my thirty-four years of selling real estate, these are the absolute lowest they’ve ever been. The federal government has put downward pressure on consumer prices to avoid inflation and has artificially driven down interest rates as well. That’s all about to end.

        4. Can’t Afford Your Dream Home & Decide to Wait

        Your dream home will be constantly evolving. What works today won’t work for you in the coming years. Your income will change, and so will your standards. Why not take advantage of this opportunity today to have a stepping stone to your dream home tomorrow?

        5. Decide the Economy is too Scary

        First, stop watching NBC and CNN and hearing all the doomsday prophets who cover the economic news. They pretend to have a crystal ball, when in fact, they are largely full of hype. Be mindful of the economy, but remember, everything is cyclical, and we are now on course for a new direction. 

        6. It’s a Fantastic Home, but I need to See More

        When will enough be enough? If you are clear on what your needs and wants are, and your gut tells you this the “the one”, don’t wait — you might just lose out. 

        7. It’s Priced Well, but I want a Steal

        Don’t we all? The reality is, if it’s priced well, another buyer will also appreciate the value and may just swoop it up, while you continue to “play not to lose” rather than “play to win”.

        8. Buying Direct from a For-Sale-by-Owner Will Save Me Money

        When it comes to for-sale-by-owners, they aren’t going to be priced lower just because they’re not listed with an agent. In fact, I have worked with many people who bought a for-sale-by-owner property without consulting a Realtor and paid way over market value for the home. 

        9. I’m Having Cold Feet and Want to Back Out

        We deal with this all the time — it’s called buyer’s remorse. Did I look at enough homes? Did I pay too much? Will something else better come on the market? Once you’re under contract for a home, stop looking. My suggestion is to breathe and remember why you fell in love with the home in the first place. 

        10. Backing out Because of the Radon Test

        Radon occurs in nature; virtually every home (and even the outdoors) has some level of radon. The EPA has set some of the toughest standards in the world when it comes to radon. Don’t panic if the radon level comes in above the EPA guidelines, a mitigation system can be installed. Frankly, one of the safest homes may just be one where you know what the radon levels are and the seller has installed a mitigation system, reducing the radon to nearly zero. 

        11. Not Trilled with my Real Estate Agent — Yikes, now What

        I think it’s important that you make a decision to work with just one real estate agent because they can show you every property on the market. They way you show commitment is by entering what can be called a buyer broker agreement. Find out if you have the legal right to exit this agreement if it’s truly clear that your business relationship isn’t working. My team allows termination with 24-hours notice because if the working relationship is strained, there’s no point in continuing down a difficult path. 

        12. I’m Going to use my Divorce Attorney for Real Estate

        Different attorneys specialize in different areas of law and rarely do they cross into fields not related to their practice. When choosing an attorney, pick ones that a real estate attorney, rather than a divorce attorney or a litigation attorney. After all, you wouldn’t go to your dentist for open heart surgery!

        13. Aunt Sally Hasn’t Sold a Home in Months, but I feel I need to Work with Her

        Aunt Sally may be the sweetest lady in the world, but this is one of the biggest decisions you are going to make in your lifetime. Tell Aunt Sally that you value your friendship so much you don’t want a real estate transaction gone sour to jeopardize the precious relationship. 

        14. Save Money by not Having a Building Inspection

        There are a few times when it might not make a lot of sense to have a building inspection, but 95% of the time, I think they’re worth it. In fact, not only will they save you money in the long run, they’ll help educate you on the ins and outs of what it takes to run the home. 

        15. Bite off More than you can Chew

        Lending practices continue to evolve. Some lenders allow you to stretch beyond your rational comfort level, so pay attention to it. Living with constant financial stress just isn’t worth it. Try to get most of your needs and wants satisfied, but not if it makes you ill whenever the bills come in. 

        The biggest mistake of them all is NOT BUYING. 

         

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          Choosing the Right Team

          RealtorBuying a home requires a lot of players; you are likely going to needs a great real estate agent, not a Vanna White who tells you, “Here is the kitchen.” That much you can figure out on your own; you need someone who truly cares about you. Your Realtor has to understand your needs in housing, but more importantly, he or she needs to understand your wants. A Realtor who is worth every penny he or she earns is one who has a serious amount of experience. God forbid you or a loved on ever needs open heart surgery, but if you do, are you going to want a surgeon who has performed a few dozen operations, or would you want one who has done hundreds? You also want that doctor to regard you a human being and not just as another success, a notch in his or her belt; you want a person who truly cares. Likewise, your Realtor needs to have your best interests in mind and not just be concerned with how fast he or she can get more money. You need a realtor who knows how to negotiate in your best interest, one who has been down this road before. 

          How do you pick the right Realtor for you? Great question — but perhaps the real question is how to avoid Realtors who mainly worry about their bottom line and couldn’t care less about you making a choice that supports who you are. Here are some questions to ask the agent you are thinking about hiring:

          • How long have you been in business? Look for someone with a minimum of five years — ideally someone who has experienced a variety of real estate markets including boom times and bust times, allowing them to give you a sense of likely real estate trends ahead. 
          • How many homes have you sold thus far? Anything less than one hundred probably isn’t enough; although he or she might have great enthusiasm, you need more than a cheerleader — you need an advocate on your side, a filter who knows when to push and when to pull back. 
             
          • What areas do you serve, regarding both physical locations and types of real estate? If the person is willing to drive much farther than seems normal, or if he or she claims to be able to handle all kinds of real estate, from condos to commercial, run, don’t walk. This is not the time for a jack-of-all-trades. Realtors need to work within a reasonable geographic area as well as a specific housing type, rather than justifying covering the entire state and handling sales from condos to commercial properties. Anything less than that may mean the agent is focused on themselves and not the outcome for you. 
             
          • Do you have a team? If so, what does it consist of? Imagine going to a doctor for open heart surgery; do you really want him or her to photocopy your insurance card, weigh you in, take your blood pressure, do the actual lab reports, handle the billing, and sterilize the surgical equipment? No, you want the doctor to do what he or she does best and leave the rest to the others on the team. 
             
          • What systems will you be using to discover the right home? Does the Realtor like to work with for-sale-by-owners? Does he or she contact other agents to let them know he or she has a qualified buyer ready to go? Does he or she do mailings to target neighborhoods, when inventory is too low?
             
          • Am I allowed to terminate our buyer broker agreement at any time, without penalty, if I am not satisfied with your services? I believe if the agent is as good as he or she claims, he or she will have no problem allowing you to move on and hire someone different, someone more in-tune with your needs and wants. 

           

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            Welcome to our new blog!

            Thank you for taking the time to learn about The Condo Guy team. We look forward to making this blog the best resource for information about Vermont real estate. Please feel free to comment on our posts if you have questions or reactions to share. If there is anything you'd like to see us write about, we'd love to hear your ideas.

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