Wednesday, April 4, 2012

10 Things to Know About Buying a Chicago Condo or Townhouse!

Chicago is a thriving city where young professionals, families, empty nesters, and anyone looking for an exciting atmosphere enjoy living.  And, while there are many beautiful homes in Chicago, the majority of those looking for buy a Chicago property turn to the endless supply of condos and townhouses to suit their needs.

If you are a first time home buyer or are planning on relocating to Chicago; you’ll want to be aware of the differences and similarities between buying a Chicago house and a condo or townhouse.  As your trusted Prudential Rubloff Real Estate agents and Shoreline Property Advisors, we gathered a list of ten things you’ll want to know about buying a Chicago condo or townhouse.  Take a look!  
1. Length of Stay- Think about how long you're going to stay in one place. Buying a condo is no different than buying a single-family home; you need to live there at least a couple of years to recoup closing costs, assuming the property will appreciate.
2. Determine Your Wants - Give some thought to what you want. If you're not interested in the amenities, understand that the condo's price and ongoing monthly association fees will reflect their use regardless of your interest in using the pool or the gym.
3. Shop Around- Visit various condominium communities and multi-unit buildings so you know the condos that are available in Chicago, and will give you a sense of prevailing prices.
4. Request a Market Analysis- Request a market analysis from your Chicago Real Estate agent regarding the selling prices of condos in the building or area. Check the price appreciation on the market analysis to evaluate how quickly the condos are increasing in value; subtract the selling price from the purchase price and divide by the number of years the property has been held by the previous owner for a ballpark estimate of annual appreciation, if any, in the neighborhood.
5. Get Prequalified for a Mortgage- Just like buying a home, you want to be sure to get prequalified for a mortgage loan. This will give you a great idea of what you’re able to afford and will help you be prepared for a quick condo purchase.
6. Research the Community- Find out if the building has a good reputation. Ask how often repairs and maintenance are required, and how good the soundproofing is between units.
7. Discover Your Amenities- Check out parking, storage, security and other amenities. You’ll want to know every perk that comes with buying a condo in that building!
8. Take Note- Ask to see the minutes from a recent meeting of the home owners association (HOA). Find out what the hot issues are and if members are fighting tooth and nail. You’ll want to be aware of any major issues before moving in.
9. Research Restrictions- Find out how restrictive your HOA is. For instance, some buildings even dictate what sort of holiday lighting you can put up. Request the same information as you would for buying a house. Read the CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions).
10. Budget in your HOA Fees- Budget in association dues, which are above and beyond your monthly mortgage payment. To assist in long-term financial planning, ask the condo association whether association fees have increased in recent years. Also estimate monthly maintenance costs that you may be responsible for in addition to the association fees.
By reviewing these ten factors, you should be even more prepared to begin your condo or townhouse search in Chicago!  Making a list of your wants, needs and even your desired neighborhood will help your Chicago Real Estate agent hone in on exactly what you’re looking for in Chicago living.
We would love to work with you to find your Chicago condo or townhouse, so feel free to contact us today to get started!

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

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