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Should I Buy a Condo in Spokane? Or; What is an HOA?

Monday, January 13, 2020   /   by Ariadne Gold

Should I Buy a Condo in Spokane? Or; What is an HOA?

If you’re thinking of buying a home, you may be thinking specifically about single family homes.  Depending on where you’re thinking of purchasing, you may not even be thinking about condos.  However, condos can be a great idea for some people!

1.       What is a Condo?

So, what is a condo?  Condos are homes that are owned by individual people, but are physically connected. These can be apartment style building or townhomes (where the units are side by side.)  Buying a condo involves a few more steps than buying a single family home.

2.       What is an HOA?

The first thing to know is that all condos have HOAs. HOA stands for Homeowners association.  The HOA handles the common areas, rules, budgeting, and insurance for the community.  All owners are required to pay HOA fees, which pay for some utilities, insurance, and common area maintenance. Some condos will also include amenities, such as a fitness center or pool; in this case the HOA fees will cover maintenance for those as well.

3.       Who should buy a condo?

Condos are a great option for people who don’t want the maintenance of a single family home, since the HOA will cover things like lawn mowing, painting and exterior maintenance.   This means that condos can be a good option for the elderly, or anyone who would prefer not to spend their weekends doing yard work  They can also be great for people who are looking for a sense of community (especially ones that have fitness or community centers)  and for those who love the night life and can find a unit in the middle of downtown or other popular areas.  


4.       What to be Aware of When Buying a Condo?

There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re thinking of buying a condo.  

·         Pets. Many HOA’s have restrictions or complete bans, so if you have a pet or are at all thinking about getting one in the future, do your research first! 

·         Renters.  Usually, if you have a single family home and something happens (you lose your job, have to move out of state and don’t have enough equity to sell), you would be able to rent out your home in order to keep making your mortgage payment. However, many condos have rules about whether the owners can rent out their unit. Some have blanket bans on rentals, and some have percentage caps (so, only 10% of the units can be rented at a time or something similar.)

·         The financial position of the HOA.  If you’re going to purchase a condo, its important to make sure that the HOA is well-run financially. They should be keeping up on the maintenance, and should have a hefty savings account in case of emergencies and for large projects (like replacing the roof.)

·         The neighbors, especially if the community is set up like an apartment building!  It’s a good idea to view the unit a couple of times before purchasing, once to see it and once at a time when the neighbors are likely to be home, so that you can see how thin the walls/ceilings are.  If you like the quiet, and you end up being able to hear every word that your neighbor says, you’re gonna have a bad time!

·         Financing.  Some condos are not financeable through FHA or VA; they need to be in a good financial position and well maintained.

As always, if you have any questions I'm here to help! (509) 217-7172

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Spokane, WA 99201

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