Almost anyone can buy a condo in Denver, Colorado. But not everyone can buy the right condo. However, if you know exactly what to lookout for before buying a condo in Denver, odds are you’ll end up with the right property.
But what exactly is a condo and how does the ownership works?
A condo is a complex or building that is made up of several apartments that are owned by various individuals. But the owners of each condo unit are not the title owners of the land on which the property sits.
The entire building is often owned either by a property management company or an individual. This means you can only claim ownership of your unit and whatever value it holds.
Whether you’re interested in making an investment out of a condo or buying one as a home, if you don’t know what to lookout for before buying – you may end up with the wrong property and tons of regrets.
So, what should you consider before buying a condo in Denver?
Things To Consider Before Buying A Condo in Denver
Here are the key things that can make or break your condo choices in Denver:
1. Is The Condo In A Great Location?
Location trumps almost every other factor to consider before buying a condo in Denver.
Developers are known to build condos almost anywhere when the real estate market is hot. So it’s up to you to look closely at where the condo sits before making up your mind.
A good condo is close to transit, groceries, and some other major local amenities. A bad condo makes stepping out of your apartment a stress.
2. What’s The Developer’s Pedigree?
Who built the condo?
Is the developer a reputable one with a strong pedigree for building top-quality structures? Or is it a developer that keeps changing its business name to hide poor reviews? Many developers are known for cutting corners to keep costs down and profit high.
The value of top quality structures increase as the years roll by. Also, the values of poor structures crash over the years. Good news is you can learn almost everything you need to know about a developer by searching online.
3. Will You End Up With A Good ROI?
If you intend to make an investment out of your condo, you should buy one in a very good neighborhood in Denver. You should consider factors such as low crime rates, reputable school district, nearness to public transport and public amenities etc.
Your best bet is to opt for a condo that will retain or increase in value as the years roll by regardless of the real estate market trend. This is one of the key things you should consider before buying a condo in Denver.
4. Will You Enjoy Your Desired Level Of Privacy?
Condos are less private compared to single-family homes. In a condo, you’ll be sharing walls with neighbors and noise is always a common problem. Though, many HOAs have rules to regulate noise, some folks still break such rules.
Also, you shouldn’t forget that common areas such as pools, gardens and other available amenities will always be shared spaces. So, if you want a quiet and more private atmosphere, you should avoid condos with a lot of young people who are known for always inviting their friends over.
If privacy is one the major things you want in a home, you should consider a single-family home rather than a condo. This is one of the major things you should consider before buying a condo in Denver.
5. Is The Deal Too Good To Be True?
Real estate investments are often worth their values. If you’re offered a deal that seems too good to be true, you may end up with a negative consequence sooner or later.
There are times when realtors and condos offer incentives to buyers. But most often than not, these incentives are offered to hide a bigger problem that could cost the buyer a whole lot of money down the road. Be wary of condo deals that seem too good to be true.
6. Is The Condo Energy-Efficient?
Energy is one of the most crucial things you should consider before buying any condo in Denver. So, just before you close the deal, take some time out to observe how much sunlight you’ll end up with inside the condo.
Also, find out how much insulation the condo has from outside and if it is connected to an effective central air conditioner or not. While this may not seem like a huge factor at the beginning, it will make a significant impact in your energy cost down the road.
7. What Are The HOA Fees And Rules?
Homeowners associations can make a significant impact in your experience as a condo owner in Denver.
So, it’s absolutely crucial to research the HOA of all the condos on your shortlist. One of the key things you should look out for is the monthly fee, what the fee covers and whatever rules the HOA sets for the community.
Some HOA fees can be very expensive. So, be ready to set aside some amount of money for this monthly expense before making up your mind to buy.
The good news is some of those fees cover several maintenance and upkeep of the condo. But be sure to read the agreement though. Some HOA fees may not cover some of the costs you expect.
You should also read all the rules that govern your condo. Such rules will specify things such as the type of improvements projects you’re required to get an HOA approval for, and other general rules like pet restrictions and noise.
Though these rules are set to ensure peaceful coexistence, it is crucial to find out if they align with your personal preference.
8. What About Outdoor And Shared Spaces?
One of the plus of living in a condo is that you wouldn’t have to bother about mowing a yard. This means you have no yard. If you enjoy gardening or have kids who enjoy outdoor space or even an outdoor pet, you may find it hard to abandon the idea of having an outdoor space.
However, several of the new developments in Denver are doing what they can to increase outdoor spaces in their various communities. Developers are aware that people in Denver love outdoor spaces.
So many new condos are built with several common areas including pools, fitness rooms, pet areas and community gardens etc. For instance, a weight room can save you from the cost of a monthly gym subscription.
9. How Secured is The Condo You’re Considering?
Many condos in Denver have their own security systems. They also come with a secured entry, exit and security staff. So you won’t have to bother about installing a personal security system – except you really need one for your unit.
However, these general security systems can make it somewhat difficult for guests to see you. Sometimes, you may be invited to the security post to usher in your guests by yourself.
10. Is The Condo In A Top-Rated School District?
Buying a condo in a top-rated school district automatically boosts the value of the property. So check the schools nearby if they are top rated or not. You can as well do that by searching for schools in the area on the internet.
Whether you intend to make an investment out of your condo unit or you want to live there with your family, you can always sit back and relax knowing you can get a good price for your property whenever you intend to sell. This is one of the most important things you should consider before buying a condo in Denver.
11. Is The Layout Appealing?
The layout of a condo unit is quite different from its square footage. Though condo costs are always determined by its square footage, you shouldn’t overlook the layout of whatever unit you’re interested in.
The layout is how the space is used. Is the bathroom cramped or big enough? Are the bedrooms sizes what you really want? Is the kitchen big enough for your appliances and for you to move around easily? An appealing layout makes it easier to sell condo units and vice versa.
12. Is The Building Insured?
One of the key factors many potential condo buyers overlook is the building insurance coverage. It is no longer news that many condo associations have slashed or canceled the community’s insurance coverage to save costs. Sadly, doing so endangers the investment of all the unit owners in the condo.
So, before buying a condo in Denver, request for a copy of the building’s master (insurance) policy. Once you have it, show it to your own insurance agent for a professional review to figure out if the coverage is enough.
If the insurance coverage isn’t enough it can hurt your prospect for financing. Many lenders consider the entire condo building as collateral, not only your unit. This is one of the most significant things you should consider before buying a condo in Denver.
13. Is The Condo Facing Any Lawsuit?
You should be wary of condos with any legal concern. So, find out if there are pending lawsuits which can affect you financially as time goes by. There are several things that could trigger conflicts and end up as a lawsuit.
For instance, the homeowner can sue the developer for their inability to complete a project as agreed or for doing a poor work which has led to several structural issues. While this may not be a key consideration, it is worth looking into.
14. Who Fixes What?
It is absolutely crucial to find out what you’re responsible for concerning maintenance costs. For instance, you may want to know who will be responsible for windows replacements.
While this may seem like a minor thing to do, it can be a huge cost when it’s time to do so. You should find out if the condo association is responsible for this cost or if you are.
Some condos will offer you the option of a balcony or porches. But you should ask for the master deed and the unit deed to figure out who truly owns such balcony or porch.
While the balcony or porch may be attached to your unit, you should find out if you actually own it. The ownership may ultimately determine who is responsible for its maintenance. This is one of the most significant factors to look at before buying a condo in Denver.
15. How Much Money Do They Have In The Reserve Fund?
One of the key things you’ll have to figure out before buying a condo in Denver is the amount of money they have in the reserve fund. This is absolutely crucial because the amount in the condo’s reserve fund reflects its association financial strength.
It also let you figure out if the association is financial ready to tackle any unforeseen costs. As a rule of thumb, a reserve/repair fund should hold about 10% of the annual revenue budget if the condo isn’t up to 10 years old.
However, if the neighborhood is older than 10, the reserve budget should be closer to 25% or more. Similar to several other things, the older the condo, the more maintenance it will require.
Buying the right condo in Denver can be a perfect decision if you end up with the right one. If you need any help, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.