Buying a condo can be a great option for those who cannot afford to buy a house. Apart from the fact that it is affordable, a condo does not require extensive upkeep and gives you access to amenities like swimming pool, parking garage, and tennis courts, which you otherwise might not be able to afford to. In this post, we will take a look at six critical things you should watch out for while buying a condo in Alabama.
If you are planning to buy a condo which is in the pre-construction phase, you need to carefully read the offering statement. Under Alabama law, it is mandatory for condo developers to disclose all the material information about the condo to the buyers. It is against the law for developers to hide, suppress, or misrepresent any material information related to the condo. So, by reading the developer’s offering statement, you can get a clear idea of what you are buying.
Alabama law also requires condo developers to amend their offering statement and inform the buyer about the same – in the event they make a material change to the original plan. If you are unhappy with the amendment, you can choose to walk away from the deal. Ideally, the offering statement must contain the following information.
- When will construction be completed?
- What kind of facilities will be included in the condo?
- What kind of amenities will be available in the common area?
- Whether the condo will be furnished or not.
- The proposed declaration and bylaws.
Location is one of the most important factors to be considered while buying a condo in Alabama – whether you plan to live in there with your family or rent it out to someone else.
Key factors that you should consider regarding the condo’s location include:
- Crime rate
- Schools, hospitals, restaurants, dry cleaners, parks, and salons in the locality
- Public transportation
If you are planning to rent out the condo, you should definitely check out its rental history. If it is in the pre-construction phase, you can check out the rental history of similarly sized units in the area.
Condo Association Fees
This is undoubtedly one of the most important factors you should consider before buying a condo in Alabama. Depending on the size of your condo, the amenities available, and where it is located, you might have to pay several hundred dollars a month in association fees.
These fees typically include:
- Cost of maintaining the common area
- Cost of repairing, replacing, and maintaining the recreational facilities
- Water and sewer charges
- Garbage collection charges
- Cost of maintaining the elevator, laundry room, and other such shared facilities
- Expenses associated with seasonal landscaping, snow plowing, and walkway shoveling
- Insurance to cover the damage caused by natural disasters
It should be noted that these expenses are not limited to condos alone. Even if you were to buy an independent house, you still have to pay for insurance, upkeep, water, garbage collection, and a number of other services. When you factor in the amenities you get to enjoy as a condo owner, the ongoing cost of owning a condo might not be as excessive as you might think.
Restrictions Imposed by the Association
Many condo associations tend to have strict rules regarding pet ownership – including what kind of pets you can have and how many pets you can have. If you have pets, it is important to talk to the people in charge about their policies regarding pet ownership.
Fannie Mae Approval
If you are planning to take out a loan, it is important to find out whether the condo you are planning to buy is Fannie Mae approved. Normally, you might be asked to pay anywhere from 10% to 25% as down payment. On the other hand, if your condo is Fannie Mae approved, and if you have a good credit score, you might only be asked to pay 3% as down payment.
Looking to Buy a Condo in Alabama? Our Real Estate Attorneys Can Help You!
For over 40 years, the real estate attorneys at Davis, Bingham, Hudson, & Buckner P.C. have been providing high-quality legal services to the residents of the greater Auburn community. Our attorneys are highly skilled and have a deep understanding of Alabama real estate laws. We have represented thousands of clients over the years and helped them with residential as well as commercial real estate transactions.
If you are planning to buy a condo in Alabama, we can guide you through the process, make sure the seller does not try to hide, suppress, or misrepresent any information about the property, and protect your rights and interests as a buyer.
To find out more about how we can help you with your real estate transactions, call us today at 334-821-1908 or contact us online and schedule a free consultation with one of our Auburn, Alabama real estate attorneys.