Condos can be the ideal purchase for home buyers who are on tight budgets. They are typically lower priced than single-family homes, insurance is less expensive and ongoing home maintenance costs are kept to a minimum.

However, there are some aspects of condo-buying that should never be ignored, which include:

  • The Condo Association fee and how much it will add to your monthly payment.
  • Condo  Documents which contains vital information.  Including any requirements for a resident’s approval and the community’s Rules and Regulations
  • Condo Financing requires some additional due diligence by your  Lender, who not only approves you for a loan, but also has to qualify the Condominium itself.
  • Beware of communities with a large number of condos for sale, in relation to the total number of units.   Ask your Realtor to do the research required to find out why turnover is so high.

On the other hand, there are other factors that you have to look beyond, ignore, or just picture differently, such as:

Look beyond the cosmetics

Cosmetic issues are easily remedied and typically inexpensive to fix. Ignore the following while looking at condos for sale:

Wall color

Paint colors are personal and what attracts one person may be repel another.  Since condos are usually smaller than single-family homes, distasteful wall colors can overtake entire rooms.  Additionally, the wrong color can make a room appear smaller.

Remember that walls can be transformed relatively inexpensively.    The average square footage of a U.S. condo is 1,482 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The nationwide average cost to paint a home this size, without hiring a professional, is between $200 and $300 for basic paint and $400 to $600 for high-quality paint.  Hire a pro to do it for you for about $1,100 to $2,000, according to costhelper.com.

Ignore the walls – it’s an easy, inexpensive fix.

Dark and gloomy is also an easy fix

Even with all our years of viewing homes, it remains a mystery how some people can live in dark, gloomy homes. With a lack of natural light artificial light sources added to the home turns a gloomy home into a happy, especially since it’s a fact that light helps lift our moods.

Don’t let the gloom stop you from putting in an offer on a condo that offers everything else you are seeking. Lighting is inexpensive and, the right fixtures can transform your home.

Check out the room-by-room lighting guide at Huffington Post and ways to enhance your decorating scheme with lighting at bhg.com.

The personal stuff will be gone

It is understandable that dated furniture, collections of books, knick-knacks or other personal items and clutter are distracting.

Although it may be challenging, remember that it will all be gone when you move in.   Look beyond the clutter to the basic flow of each room — the “bones” of the home.

The flip side is just as dangerous

 Ugly interiors can be distracting,  but so can beautiful ones. Stagers are skilled at making homes appear move-in ready and at creating interiors that appeal to a broad range of homebuyers.

Don’t buy into the fantasy

Those Imperial silk draperies will go home with the stager after the sale. All the beautiful accessories that go into the psychological appeal of the room, the throw pillows, fresh flowers, plants, mirrors and artwork will be gone as well.

Staged rooms may not be as large as you think. Some stagers use smaller-scale furniture to trick the eye into making a room appear bigger. Paint colors are likewise chosen to make homes seem roomier.

If there is doubt as to whether or not your furniture will fit in the home, measure each room.

The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (NAEBA) cautions homebuyers that stagers often use “furniture and wall hangings to cover up or direct a buyer’s attention away from floor damage or wall damage.”

They also lead homebuyers  to perceive that staged homes are well-maintained homes. Often, this perception is far from reality.

“Many times, staged homes take advantage of the staging to cover up deferred maintenance issues and improper construction and repair issues,” they stated in the 2007 report, “How to Not Get Tricked by Staging, and Potentially Save $5,645 when you Buy your Home.

Ignore the home’s staging and perform your due diligence by looking behind wall hangings and under rugs and furniture.

Whether the condos you tour are diamonds in the rough or staged to perfection, it pays to look beyond the cosmetics and make sure the space works for your needs and lifestyle.

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