Buying a vacation condo for the first time is exciting. There’s nothing better than being able to retreat to your perfectly located condo after a long day relaxing on the beach.
However, we know it can be overwhelming for first-time condo buyers. That’s why we have collated all of our best tips on how to buy a condo for the first time.
Condo Buying Terms
If this is your first time purchasing a condo, you might not be aware of all the terminology. However, if you’re well-versed in real estate, you can simply skip to the next section.
HOA means Homeowners’ Associations and you’ll encounter this type of structure when purchasing a condo.
Bylaws are the rules and regulations that govern a condominium community.
Common elements or common property are the parts of the condo that are not owned by a condo purchaser as part of their individual condo.
On-site management refers to property management functions that are performed on the premises such as ongoing repairs and gardening.
The reserve fund is money saved to pay for long-term repair or replacement of the capital elements of a condominium’s common property.
A disclosure statement will give you some indication of the rules, regulations and financial situation of the condo before you buy.
A board of directors is present at each condominium and is generally made up representatives appointed by the owners, that can rotate annually to share responsibility. The developer will be represented by directors of the hotel management company who will serve in a consultative capacity.
How to Find the Right Condo for You
Before you rush into purchasing a condo, you need to find the right one for you and your family. We know you’re not just buying a condo for the view, but the lifestyle too. So, here's how to find the one you can call your second home.
- Consider having a buyer's agent. It isn’t mandatory to have one but we do advise it, especially if this is your first time purchasing a condo. An agent can help you find the ideal property for you and ensure your requirements are addressed They can also answer any questions you might have.
- Visit the condo first hand, experience the location and surroundings to see if it’s right for you. Don't forget to have a look around the neighbourhood too and even speak to some of the existing residents. They might be able to give you a more honest review of the neighbourhood than the real estate agent.
- Make sure you have your pre-approval letter from your lender or attorney before falling in love with a vacation condo. If not, you’ll likely be behind other interested buyers who do and someone else might snap up your dream vacation home before you do.
Tips for Making Offers on a Vacation Condo
Buying a condominium offers advantages – affordability and less maintenance. But buying a condo is not the same as the purchase of a freestanding home. Here are some actionable tips for making your offer.
Even if two condos appear on the market at the same time that you like, don’t make offers for both to see which one you’d be accepted for. You don’t want to be accepted for both properties, so only make one offer at a time.
Write your very best offer first. You might get only one chance to make an impression on the seller. If the seller has received multiple offers, the low offers most often are not even considered. The seller will likely be looking for list price or above.
If a condo has been on the market for less than a week, the seller will usually be looking for the listing price. So, it's best practice to make an offer that's at least the listing price. If a condo has been sitting on the market for a while and it’s still empty, they may be willing to negotiate. In this case, you could get away with making a lower offer.
Closing the Deal on Your First Vacation Condo Purchase
You’ve found your dream vacation condo, with a spectacular view, organized HOA and beautiful interior. Now all that’s left to do is close.
- There are costs associated with closing a real estate sale, so be sure you have funds set aside for condo closing costs.
- Make sure you read the appraisal contingency carefully too. You’ll feel relieved once it’s appraised.
- Have your champagne ready so you can celebrate your new vacation condo purchase.
These are just some helpful tips to keep in mind, we have a more detailed step-by-step guide here. You can also benefit from visualizing the entire condo buying timeline.
Everything You Need to Know About the Condo Buying Timeline
Purchasing a condo isn’t always easy and it can feel like a lengthy process. To help you see the full condo buying journey, we’ve created a useful timeline. From making an offer to settling into your vacation home, we’ve mapped it all out.