So, you want to buy in a condo building? Well, what are your most important reasons for doing so? Do you want three neighbors? Or 300? Do you want a pool and a roof deck? Do you want a washer and dryer in your unit? Balcony? Do you want a doorman? No, you just want big closets and bike storage?
Condo living can be as varied as the styles of single-family freestanding and row homes you see in this area. You can really be living in the lap of luxury, with party rooms, gyms, elevators, flat panel TVs that have the news and Metro schedule in the lobby, 24-hour concierge, package service and complimentary coffee and water. It can feel like you live in a hotel.
Or it can be back to basics where a row house was cut into two condos, and the fees are low only to cover when large projects need to be completed, like new gutters, fixing a roof or tuck-pointing. No door people, no elevator, no bells and whistles.
What people sometimes find attractive about certain condo buildings, other buyers get turned off by. An important lesson a client and I recently learned while we were looking at the various buildings in the city that were close enough for her commute to be short, but near enough to restaurants and entertainment, is to ask: “What rules and regulations do you have for your roof deck? Other public spaces?” Are the hours of use going to be enough for the buyer to spend time on the roof deck with a glass of wine in her hand and watch the sun go down? We recently decided to NOT put in an offer at the last minute when she realized the one amenity that really sold her on the building was not available for the hours that would work for her.
One important benefit of buying a condo in D.C. is that the buyer gets the “condo-doc review period,” which really gives the buyer a chance to see all the bylaws and finances of a building, as well as rules and any planned maintenance for the year. With this period, the buyers can see if the building is financially sound and well maintained. If they decide it’s not, then they can be let out of the contract to buy the unit.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about condo living in D.C. I’ve got answers.
Joseph Hudson is a Realtor with Compass. Reach him at 703-587-0597 or firstname.lastname@example.org.