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Purchasing a Condo in Boston for the First Time? What You Need to Know:

When you’re in the market for a new home in Boston, there are many factors to take into consideration, especially if you are potentially purchasing a condominium. There are many reasons why you may choose to look into a condo over a single-family residence or even an apartment, so equipping yourself with the necessary knowledge ahead of time can help when it comes time to start searching for your new residence.

What is a condominium?

A condominium, or “condo” for short, is an individual unit within a larger unit or complex that is privately owned. Condominium owners share common spaces with other unit owners within the building such as elevators, main lobbies, fitness centers, and pools. As a condo owner, you are responsible for making repairs within your unit, but the condo association will make repairs to common spaces. This is why in addition to your monthly mortgage, you will be required to pay a fee to the association for upkeep and maintenance. When searching for a condominium in Boston, make sure to weigh the pros and cons and research the best options for your particular situation. Here are a few things to take into consideration when you are searching for a Boston condo:

Take your lifestyle into consideration

As previously discussed, there are certain individuals whose lifestyle might be better suited for a single-family residence and others that would benefit from purchasing a condo. Some individuals that might be interested in purchasing a condo are those that are ready for a more permanent move and enjoy the perks of homeownership but may not be in the position to purchase a single-family residence. Another common reason for choosing a condominium is being in close proximity to the city center or more urban Boston neighborhoods. Those that don’t want to or don’t have the ability to make larger repairs or upkeep their yard might also be good candidates for purchasing a condo.

Look into various Boston neighborhoods

When searching for a condominium, make sure to look into the best neighborhoods in Boston for your particular lifestyle. For example, some Boston neighborhoods such as Hyde Park might be better suited for families whereas a young professional or a dog owner might prefer a neighborhood like Beacon Hill or Midtown. Take some time to research the safest neighborhoods in Boston or the best neighborhoods in Boston to help you narrow down your choices. If you have the opportunity, it could be beneficial to visit these neighborhoods as well to get to know the area better. Talking to residents, looking at a Boston neighborhood map, researching community events or area-specific Facebook pages, and visiting during different times of the day are all ways to help you make a decision about which Boston neighborhood is best for you.

Ensure your realtor has experience with condominiums

Choosing a realtor is one of the most crucial components when searching for a new home. A good agent can help you navigate this uncertain time and equip you with the knowledge to make the best financial and personal decision when purchasing a new residence. Having a realtor who is experienced in looking for homes in Boston neighborhoods can give you better insight, especially if you are relocating or are not familiar with specific regions and areas. Furthermore, finding a realtor who has experience with condominiums is essential if you are purchasing one for the first time. A real estate agent who is familiar with condominiums in the area can help you look for any red flags or help you find complexes that have the best resale value and atmosphere for your particular situation.

Make necessary financial preparations

Once you have been approved for a loan, you most likely have a price point in mind that you are looking for in a new home. However, remember that there are additional costs to account for after you purchase a condominium, and understanding the different condominium fees can help you budget during your search. Furthermore, there are going to be indirect costs associated with owning a condominium and it’s important to find ways to best protect this new asset. Consider having an emergency fund set aside for repairs and maintenance. As a condo owner, you won’t need to make repairs for common areas because this is paid for through your monthly fee. However, it’s still useful to have funds set aside for various repairs that might be necessary inside your unit. 

Additionally, an indirect cost to consider when becoming a condo owner is ensuring that you have adequate insurance protections set in place. If you are purchasing a condominium as a first-time buyer, you will inevitably have more financial responsibilities making this an ideal time look into life insurance options you are moving into a condominium with family members that may depend on your income to make monthly payments on the property, it’s important to find ways to financially plan for the future if something unexpected were to happen to you.

Research the Condominium Association

When looking for a condominium in various Boston neighborhoods, one of the most important considerations is to be familiar with the condominium association within the complex. The Condominium Association or COA within a condominium upholds a certain standard by not only maintaining the complex and its common spaces but by setting ground rules for residents to abide by. For example, there may be noise restrictions, parking regulations, or landscaping and decorative limitations that as a condo owner, you will need to uphold per your contract. Each condominium association’s regulations will vary, so reading through their agreements ahead of time can help you make the decision about which unit is right for you.

When purchasing a condominium in Boston for the first time, it’s important to do adequate research, as the process can be a bit different than purchasing a single-family home. Depending on your needs, a condominium is a great way to build equity in a residence while giving you the opportunity to be closer to the Boston neighborhoods you want to be near. 

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