About Condominiums

A condominium or planned unit development is like a cross-section between owning and renting. When you own a condominium, you actually own the interior wall space of your individual unit as well as a percentage of the complex as a whole. With a planned unit development, or PUD, you own your own building and the land it is on, but are in an association to maintain the whole development.

In the past, condominiums were regarded as housing strictly for retirees and as second homes at resorts, in the mountains or at the beachfront. The reason -- they offer its residents a carefree lifestyle by freeing up time that would normally be spent on lawn work and exterior maintenance, leaving more time to enjoy the complex’s swimming pool, tennis courts and/or recreational areas. In other words, they are a retiree’s or vacationer’s dream home!

It is for these same reasons that condos are growing in popularity today. In fact, many singles, professional couples and families with children are opting to purchase condos and take advantage of their amenities.

Nonetheless, before purchasing a condo or PUD, special considerations should be examined.

In addition to the mortgage payment, there is generally a monthly condominium fee to cover maintenance costs for these areas. Prospective buyers should find out if the condo fee includes utilities, and if it does not, check how high the utilities run on a monthly basis. Determine whether the building is cable-ready and has adequate security.

Check the association’s bylaws and the master deed for restrictions on how you can use the property before you buy. The bylaws are written to serve the interests of all owners and the community. Be sure you understand how the condominium documents may affect your lifestyle and your ability to resell the unit in the future.

Make note of the condition of the surrounding property. If it looks as if the roof next door might need to be replaced, keep in mind that all owners share in replacement costs for common elements. For this reason, it’s important to look at the finances of the condominium. For example, if there is no budget to cover roof replacements, you may be affected by a special assessment placed on all unit owners to cover the costs for a new roof.

A well-managed condominium association budgets for major repairs and has reserves for emergency replacements. When reviewing the financial status of the association, check to see if the maintenance fees are current for the unit you are buying. Otherwise, unpaid fees may become your responsibility.

Some condominium developments lease their common facilities instead of owning them. If this is the case, future increases in lease payments could affect your monthly condominium fee.

Make a point of visiting the complex on your own and ask residents how they feel about their home, the neighborhood, the condominium fee and the responsiveness of the condominium association to meeting their individual needs.

The majority of condominium associations are well run, but you should review all of the condo documents before you sign a purchase agreement. If you decide to buy, you may wish to become actively involved in the activities of the association by attending meetings or by becoming a member of the board of directors to better protect your interests.

Does a condo sound good to you? If so, don’t hesitate in contacting any one of the members of the Daytona Beach Area Association of REALTORS®. With a REALTOR®’s assistance, you could soon be relaxing in a condo that is just right for you and your lifestyle!