Condos Open Doors for First Time Homeowners

By Karen Lawson
LoanPage.com Columnist

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You're ready to buy your first home, but current real estate prices make you wonder if you'll ever be a homeowner. Homeownership may seem elusive in many areas, but condominiums are typically offered at more moderate prices, which can make it easier to qualify for a home loan.

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Homeowners Association (HOA) Contributes to Community Ambience

Condominiums are communities of attached single family residences typically governed by a homeowners association (HOA). HOAs collect a monthly fee from each residential unit for maintenance of common areas. Your HOA dues may cover services and amenities including:
  • » Recreational facilities such as community rooms, pools, business centers, and gyms
  • » Landscaping and maintenance of common grounds
  • » Exterior maintenance and repair of buildings
  • » Administration of funds for large expenses such as roofing or local assessments
You'll want to include the amount of HOA dues in your household budget, and allow for increases, as monthly dues can change based on actual and projected expenses. You will be responsible for maintenance and repairs within your unit, so a home inspection and home warranty are recommended before purchase. Condo owners may enjoy freedom from yard work and large home maintenance projects, but it's important to review HOA rules and regulations before purchasing a condo. HOA regulations can include strict rules concerning parking, usage of common areas, and pets. Make sure that the HOA regulations governing your future home are compatible with your lifestyle. Of course, HOAs must comply with fair housing regulations and applicable federal, state, and locals laws. Your real estate agent, mortgage lender, and financial advisor can help you find a condo that fits your budget and lifestyle.

About the Author
Karen Lawson is a freelance writer with more than fifteen years of experience in mortgage banking. She holds an MA degree in English from the University of Nevada, Reno.

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