Len and Leslie Marma's Blog
Common-interest housing includes individually owned spaces and common areas shared by all owners. The common areas can include clubhouses, landscaping, parking lots or pools. Multistory buildings share lobbies, stairwells, and elevators. Any community that shares property including single-family free-standing homes in developments, falls into the common-interest category.
The two most familiar types of common-interest housing terms are condominiums (or condos) and townhomes (or townhouses). Although both belong in the category of common-interest housing, condos and townhouses may mean different things depending on regional or legal definitions.
A condo is a shared building or group of buildings and common spaces in which housing units are owned individually. This could be a single unit within a tower building or a conjoined home having its own ground floor with exterior entry. Other homes in the condominium category include single-family cottages or even modular homes inside planned communities. When you purchase a condo, you own the unit itself while you are a co-owner of the common areas.
A townhome is a style of house that is connected to another structure on at least one side. It may be solely owned by an individual as part of a CID, part of a multi-family apartment dwelling, or individually owned without property in common. A true townhome is built with independent sidewalls that stand alone even if they touch the walls of another townhome. When you purchase a townhouse, you own the unit itself and whatever yard area is affiliated with it as you would with a detached single-family house.
While condominium units might incorporate elements like private outdoor spaces, individual ground-floor entry options or design elements that resemble those of a townhome, it is ownership that truly defines them.
All CID properties have a homeowners’ association (HOA) of some sort. While some are mainly hands-off with regard to individual units, others have specific regulations regarding renting, remodeling, and exterior décor.
If you are trying to decide between purchasing a condominium or a townhouse, have your agent explain the differences in common ownership between them, and make certain to factor in the HOA fees to your monthly budget.
The penthouse is the pinnacle of real estate in many markets -- and places like New York and Miami -- have plenty of options to choose from. It's easy to get caught up in great decor or fall in love with a view, but there are other considerations as well. Here's what to think about when you shop for a luxury penthouse unit.
Expect to Pay a Premium: Most penthouses are priced above similar sized units in the same building, so be prepared to spend a little more for that amazing view and those amenities. A single penthouse spanning the top floor will command more of a premium rate than one that shares the floor with one or more other units.
You Can Still Negotiate: While a penthouse will command a higher price than any other unit in a specific building or location, you can and should negotiate the best deal. In cities with a glut of inventory in this price range, you may be able to secure a better price, simply by presenting the right offer. Your real estate agent can help you determine how flexible a price is and what fair market value is for a home you are considering.
Inventory Impacts Price: In high-rise dense cities like New York, there are always penthouse properties available. Outside of cities, though, you may have fewer options In vacation and resort areas with coveted views, there are only a small number of penthouse properties to begin with, and they are not all on the market at the same time. Act swiftly if a property you truly want becomes available to avoid missing out.
Visit at All Hours: If you will live in the penthouse property, you should visit it during the day, at night and on weekends. Because this property is near the roof, it may also be near HVAC and elevator equipment -- these can get noisy when in heavy use. Newer penthouses have insulation and soundproofing, but older ones may not, so the home could be noisier than you expect when everyone else in the building is home.
Is the view guaranteed? A building that faces the ocean and is directly on the beach will have a view that is not interrupted by future construction, but not all penthouses fit this description. You should be aware of zoning and building possibilities -- could a taller building be placed in front of yours -- disrupting your view? Your agent can help you discover if this nightmare scenario is a risk factor in any home you are considering.
Buying a penthouse is different from other luxury property purchases, because the view and position of the home offer so much and contribute to the price. Be aware of the setup of the building and its location -- and be ready to move if a penthouse becomes available in a market with scant inventory. Your real estate agent can watch for new listings and help you be first in line to view new luxury properties as they arrive in the marketplace and ensure you don't miss out on the home of your dreams.
A home inspection is a key part of the property buying process. If you fail to allocate the necessary time and resources to conduct an in-depth inspection, you may struggle to identify various home problems before you finalize your property purchase. And if you cannot identify such issues, you risk buying a home that may require costly, time-intensive upgrades in the foreseeable future.
Ultimately, there are many things that you can do to ensure that a home inspection provides you with the insights you need to determine whether to proceed with a home purchase. These include:
1. Hire an Expert Home Inspector
A home likely is one of the biggest purchases you'll make in your lifetime. As such, there is no need to leave anything to chance, especially when it comes to conducting a house inspection. But if you hire an expert home inspector, you can get the support you need to conduct a comprehensive property inspection.
Look for a home inspector who possesses extensive experience. Also, you may want to ask a home inspector for client referrals before you make your final hiring decision. If you get in touch with a home inspector's past clients, you can find out what it's like to work with this professional and proceed accordingly.
2. Attend Your Home Inspection
You are under no obligation to attend your home inspection. But in most instances, it is beneficial to attend an inspection.
A home inspection usually requires just a few hours to complete, but the benefits of attending an inspection may last a lifetime.
For example, during an inspection, a home inspector may be able to provide you with property repair insights that otherwise won't be included in your inspection report. Meanwhile, attending a home inspection allows you to ask questions and gain the insights you need to make an informed decision about a home purchase.
3. Analyze Your Home Inspection Results
Spend some time reviewing a home inspection report – you'll be happy you did. If you assess a home inspection report closely, you can use all of the information at your disposal to decide whether to continue with a house purchase.
Furthermore, if you have questions about a home inspection report, don't hesitate to reach out to the inspector who conducted the evaluation. This inspector can respond to any report questions that you may have and provide you with information that could prove to be exceedingly valuable as you make your final decision about a house.
As you get ready to buy a home, it certainly helps to have a best-in-class real estate agent at your side too. This housing market professional can offer recommendations and suggestions about what to do following a home inspection. Plus, he or she can provide plenty of guidance at each stage of the property buying journey.
Take the guesswork out of a home inspection – use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost the likelihood of completing a successful property inspection before you finalize a home purchase.
In today’s world, everything is online. You probably have started your home search online as well. It’s plain fun to look at real estate. You can dream of living in a place you can’t afford. You might never see any of those listings that you’re browsing in person. Should you?
No matter when your home search may become a reality, there are a few benefits to seeing houses in person.
You’ll See What Your Money Can Get You
What you want and what you can afford may be far apart. You won’t understand the reality of the housing market unless you see it firsthand. By looking at what’s available on the market at a given time, you will be able to see how much house your dollars will buy you. Knowing what you can afford will help you to keep your expectations in check when you do head out to search for a home. Looking at what homes are on the market can actually help you to help your real estate agent find you something that will suit your needs. There’s nothing worse than telling your agent that you want a home that’s impossible to find.
You’ll Meet Real Estate Agents
By going to open houses, you’ll be able to meet different real estate agents. Through this process, you could very well meet the agent who will help you to find your dream home. If you like the way an agent is helping to sell a home, you’ll very likely get along with them as a buyer.
You Will Know How Much Competition You Have
If you’re attending open houses and find that there are many other people there the same time as you, it could be a sign that the market has tight competition. A lot of open house attendees means that prices are higher because the competition is fierce. You may have to offer above asking price in order to secure a deal on a home.
You’ll Learn Different Areas
Open houses can bring you to places you may have never thought of living before. You’ll get a sense of what different neighborhoods are like if you spend some time exploring through attending open houses.
You’ll Learn What You Can Live With
It’s easy to have a concrete picture in your mind of what you want in a home and what you can deal with. When you see houses firsthand, you may be able to open your mind a bit as to the type of home you’re seeking.
If you intend to buy a house, it generally is a good idea to establish realistic property buying expectations. That way, you can plan ahead for the homebuying journey and avoid potential problems that otherwise may prevent you from achieving your desired results.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you manage your expectations as you pursue your dream residence.
1. Create Homebuying Criteria
With homebuying criteria, you can determine exactly what you want from your dream residence. Then, you can narrow your house search and speed up your quest to discover your ideal home.
Think about where you want to live. For instance, if you prefer the hustle and bustle of the big city over life in a small town, you may want to hone your house search to properties in the city of your choice. Or, if you have always dreamed about owning a home near the beach, now may be the ideal time to transform your dream into a reality.
Don't forget to consider the features you want from your dream home too. Make a list of home must-haves and wants, and you can streamline your home search.
2. Set Homebuying Goals
Establishing homebuying goals can help you build a roadmap for your home search. This roadmap then will enable you to identify potential homebuying hurdles and resolve such issues before they escalate.
Homebuying goals can guide you along the homebuying journey. You can create as many or as few goals as you'd like, and by doing so, simplify your search for your ideal residence.
In addition, it is important to be flexible with your homebuying goals. And remember, if you fail to accomplish a homebuying goal by a specific date, you can always adjust your homebuying roadmap as needed.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
If you are unsure about what to expect during the homebuying journey, there is no need to stress. In fact, you can hire an expert real estate agent who can help you establish realistic property buying expectations from day one.
A real estate agent first learns about you and your homebuying goals. He or she next will put together a personalized homebuying strategy for you and ensure you can complete a successful property buying journey.
As you search for your dream home, a real estate agent will set up home showings and keep you up to date about new houses that meet your homebuying criteria. He or she also will help you submit an offer to purchase on any house you want to acquire. And once an offer to purchase is accepted, a real estate agent will help you navigate the final steps of the property buying journey.
Ready to begin your search for your dream residence? If you understand how to manage your homebuying expectations, you should have no trouble achieving the best-possible results at each stage of the homebuying journey.