Shopping for a condo: Key issues |

Shopping for a condo: Key issues

Question: It looks like the only property I can afford to buy is a condo. One concern I have is that it will be too noisy. What else should I take into consideration?

Answer: Because inadequate soundproofing is the chief complaint of condominium and cooperative apartment owners, prospective buyers should check the soundproofing by asking neighbors to turn on their TVs or walk around before making a decision to buy.

It is also important to ask neighbors and onsite resident managers about their likes and dislikes about the complex and if they have any knowledge about the unit that is up for sale.

Other key considerations include whether or not the complex has professional management in charge of common area maintenance and fee collection; whether any special assessments or hikes in the monthly fees are planned; and whether there are any costly master leases with the developer that may spur fee increases.

Most importantly, buyers should investigate the homeowner’s association’s finances, making sure that reserve accounts are adequate and that the association is not involved in any lawsuits.

Though complexes owned mainly by the developer could leave the buyer in trouble if the developer defaults, buyers should not be discouraged in complexes where the developer keeps a personal residence or where the developer has purchased units for family and friends.

Question: I am buying a property in a small subdivision near Dillon where there have been very few sales in the past few years. I would like to study comparable sales in order to get comfortable with the price, but there aren’t any. Where else can I do?

Answer: When sufficient comparable sales data isn’t available, some buyers take the seller’s original purchase price and add on allowances for property improvements and appreciation that took place during the seller’s period of ownership. You also can research county property records for sale information yourself. This is a tedious and time-consuming process, but a local real estate agent or title officer can help. A knowledgeable agent also can provide a rough estimate of annual appreciation.

Question: I want to buy a home in Frisco. Do I need an attorney to represent me when I buy?

Answer: Not necessarily. Whether you will need to hire an attorney depends on where you buy or the complexity of the transaction. In New Jersey, you’re required to have a lawyer when you buy a house. In states such as Colorado and California, attorneys rarely handle transactions for buyers and sellers. Real estate agents, with the help of title and escrow officers, usually handle the transaction and closing details. In states where attorneys aren’t routinely involved in home sales, state law usually permits real estate agents to complete standard “fill-in-the-blanks” purchase contracts. Real estate agents can’t give legal advice unless they’re also attorneys. In states where lawyers are routinely involved, they may be required to draft the purchase agreement, research the title history, check for compliance with government regulations or draft and review documents. They also accompany buyers to the closing. Certainly seek the advice of an attorney if you feel that you need specific representation.

Question: I just received a offer to purchase a townhome that I own in Wildernest. The date for closing does not work for me. When a contract is written, who gets to choose the closing date, the buyer or the seller?

Answer: The time required to close on a residential property deal, which involves transferring the title from the seller to the buyer, varies with each transaction. The buyer initially proposes the closing date and the seller has the right to counteroffer until a day acceptable to both is decided. The closing can take place on any date, other than a weekend or a federal holiday.

The normal range for closings is 30 to 60 days after ratification of the purchase contract, but other factors–such as contingencies–can influence how long a closing will take. Contingencies, including those for the buyer’s financing, for property inspections, and for title examination, must be satisfied before closing can go through.

In terms of financing contingencies, for example, it may take as much as four weeks to approve a mortgage; however, borrowers who obtain pre-approval before placing a bid on the home are likely to go to closing more quickly because they have already been approved for the loan. A cash buyer, on the other hand, can close in a matter of days–although getting the property inspected should add at least another week or two to the process.

Finally, closing does not have to coincide with the actual possession of the property by the buyer; sellers who cannot move out right away or buyers who want to take advantage of low interest rates before they climb instead can arrange a rent-back agreement that allows the two sides to close on the deal. In this case, the buyers rent the home back to the sellers for a set period of time before actually taking up residence themselves.

For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at )970) 468-6800 or (800) 262-8442. E-mail ” or visit their website at Allison is a longtime local in Summit County. Summit Real Estate ” The Simson/Nenninger Team is located at the Dillon Ridge Marketplace. Allison’s longtime residency and years of real-estate experience can help you make the most of any buying or selling situation. She’s a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest designation awarded to a Realtor in the residential sales field. Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.

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