< Back to blog
Real Estate in Bermuda, Choosing Your Island Home

12 Questions to Ask When Buying a Condo

8 minute read

Before you sign on the dotted line for your dream vacation condo, there are probably a few questions you’d like answered. Where do I start? What amenities should I look for? What should I ask my real estate agent?

With so much to think about, it can be overwhelming. So, we’ve created the ultimate list of questions to ask yourself and your realtor when buying a condo.

1. Where Do I Start and What Do I Need to Buy a Condo?

After researching online, you might enquire about vacation condos. Condos are especially popular in desirable places with high property value, like city centers or vacation hotspots. 

Before anything else, you need to work out how you’ll finance your vacation home purchase. Savings? Inheritance? Remortgaging your existing home? The starting point is often a conversation with your financial advisor or existing mortgage broker. 

It’s important to know what you can afford before taking any further steps in the condo buying process. If you fall in love with a vacation condo somewhere warm and inviting, it’s within your budget and finance is in place, you’ll be ahead of other interested buyers who don’t and can make a quick decision.

2. Where Should I Buy a Condo?

If you’ve decided it’s time to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and have your own slice of paradise, then the first factor to consider is where in the world you want to buy a condo. 

As a prospective buyer, you should view locations as soon as possible to ensure your perfect condo lives up to its name. Take your time while you’re there to see just how wonderful life could be.

It’s hard for us to be impartial. Even though there are spectacular destinations worldwide for you to consider, none are quite like the island of Bermuda.

3. What Amenities Should I Look for When Buying a Condo?

When considering condos, it’s crucial to find out as much as possible about the amenities available. If you’re aligned with the 81% of renters who think a pool is important, upscale Hotel Condominium resorts will typically include one.

Some developments offer access to swimming pools, gyms, restaurants, bars and even the beach. This and much more are included at Bermudiana Beach Resort, Tapestry Collection by Hilton — an upscale vacation condo complex. 

Speak to your realtor to determine precisely what you’ll receive if you buy a condo with them.


4. How Do I Find the Right Real Estate Agent?

Purchasing real estate of any kind is complicated and often requires the help of an experienced real estate agent. Buying a condo in another country requires specialized expertise to ensure everything runs smoothly. It isn’t mandatory to have one, but we do advise it.

Find an experienced and licensed real estate agent who understands the intricacies of buying a condo in this location. They’ll offer expert advice and guidance to make sure no obstacles stop you from enjoying the island.

5. What Does Insurance Cover?

Ensure you get a full copy of what your insurance covers. This includes the cost to refurbish the building (if it’s pretty old). Make sure the estimates to rebuild are in there too.

It’s also important to check whether your personal belongings will be included in your insurance policy. For example, if the roof leaks and damages your top-of-the-range laptop, you’ll want a replacement, won't you?

So, it’s worth seeing whether you’ll be covered. If not, you’ll have to take a policy out yourself.

6. What Is the HomeOwners' Association?

When buying a condo or an individual property within a residential community, you’ll be encouraged to join and contribute to the HomeOwners’ Association (HOA). It exists to ensure all shared amenities available at the condo are looked after and all homeowners contribute to the maintenance of the whole property.

Before committing to a condo, you should research their community association and determine exactly how much you’ll need to pay and what the fees will cover.

7. What Are the Monthly Association Fees?

How many units there are in your condo neighborhood will dictate your condo association fees. They’ll also be based on what it costs to run the condo for the month, whether or not your community is professionally or self-managed and whether funds will be set aside for litigation and major repairs.

You must get your hands on a copy of the monthly expenditure. You can’t make a decision as big as this without these insights. That would be totally irresponsible. Make sure you can afford this figure. Don’t kid yourself despite how much you want the beautiful condo you’ve always dreamt of. Condo association fees aren’t tax-deductible.

You should always review the repair fees included in the clause. Every condo association should set aside money for major repairs. For example, if the complex is less than 10 years old, the repair fund should have 10% of the cost to repair the major items set aside.

8. What Are the Rules and Policies?

One of the key advantages of a condo is it’s more affordable than owning a single-family home. This does, however, mean you’re part of a condo community and are subject to rules and regulations.

The rules are in place to make every resident’s life less stressful. There might be a restriction on noise after certain hours, for example. These rules guarantee the peace and quiet you’ve been searching for.

9. What’s the Condo Management Team Like?

You want the best possible management team, for obvious reasons. Management schemes are different in all condo associations. Some are self-managed, which can be a good thing because monthly fees are usually lower. Although it works sometimes, it can be tricky as you have to live with all these people, so personal moves may influence community matters.

10. Can I Rent My Condo Out?

Typically, when you purchase a condo, you’ll want to rent it out when you aren’t using it, so it contributes to its own running costs. If you could make the hassle of renting, vetting tenants and maintenance easier, would you? Hotel Condominiums are worth considering as many are operated by prestigious hospitality companies like Hilton that offer optional rental programs. 

The on-site management company will maintain your condo to the standards required by the branded letting program. All the hassles that come with renting out a condo are covered.

11. How Do I Make a Competitive Offer?

Work with your agent to find a competitive number you’re willing to offer. You might get only one chance to make an impression on the seller and they’ll likely look for the list price or above. So, figure out the price you’re willing to pay for the condo and make your offer. 

Keep in mind that if a condo has been on the market for less than six months, the seller will often look for the listing price. When a property is on the market, there’s usually a little bit of room for negotiation. However, when buying in a new development, the price stated is usually non-negotiable as it could affect the pricing of the other residences. 

If a condo has been sitting on the market for a while and it’s still empty, they may be willing to negotiate or offer some incentives.

If you can offer a 30-60 day closing time frame, that’s usually more attractive to the seller than an offer for more money. It might just be the edge you need to beat the competition and secure your dream vacation condo.

12. What Will I Need When Closing My Condo Deal?

You’ll need to work closely with your lender and the settlement attorney handling the closing. You should have already reviewed the closing statement beforehand and be well aware of the final numbers.

Closing shouldn’t take more than a few hours, so you’ll also need to have your champagne on ice to celebrate.

You should ask these questions when buying a condo, but we also have a more detailed step-by-step timeline you can follow. There’s no doubt buying a condo can be a great decision if you want access to more amenities, less maintenance and a closer community. 

Purchasing a condo for the first time is exciting. Let’s get started.

Make Sure Your Condo Is Perfect for You

So, you’ve asked yourself the 12 questions above and have decided the fabulous condo lifestyle is for you. Great. Well, now you need to make sure you find the perfect condo that suits you inside and out. It’s a big decision, so it’s crucial you choose the condo that’ll be the best for you.

We’ve created a checklist that’ll enable you to determine whether a condo is right for you or not. Download it for free below and happy hunting for the dream property you’ve always wanted.

Download your copy below.

condo buying timeline