Condominiums in Wisconsin – a Lifestyle Choice. What should you look for?

_DSC1331Downtown shineThe Bog Golf Course, Saukville, Wisconsin

Condominiums are an option for all ages

While they have been around awhile, condominiums are a housing option that is not always understood by consumers, particularly if they have spent most of their lives living in a single family home. Condos can be a great alternative for individuals from just about every age demographic –  a perfect alternative for people just getting out of college, for homeowners who want to downsize, for seniors and for anyone who doesn’t want to do all the work necessary to maintain a home.

 

 

Many different types of condos to choose from in Wisconsin

Like any home purchase, it’s important to have a good idea of what you want because there are so many choices as to the type of condominium available. In the early days when condominiums were just coming into play, they were frequently apartment buildings that were simply converted to condominiums. Today the range of choices is far reaching. There are stand alone condominiums that look like single family homes where all of the maintenance is coordinated by a management company for the owners. Other choices include high rise buildings, side by sides, big complexes with hundreds of units covering large areas, eight unit buildings and more.

 

What condo amenities are important to you?

Like any home purchase, before you begin the process of looking for a condominium, buyers should know where they want to live, how much space they need and what amenities are important to them. For example, most of the newer condominium developments have some type of exercise facilities but not that many of them have swimming pools so if a pool is important, put that on your list. Some developments also have underground parking or garages. If you would rather not have to scrape ice off your car windows on a winter morning, then underground or a garage might be high on your list of requirements.

 

How much condo can you afford?

While it’s important to get your list of needs and desires together for your contemplated condo purchase, the first thing you should be doing is determining just how much you can and/or are willing to spend on the purchase. This is where a good real estate agent can help by referring you to a qualified mortgage broker who will help you gather all of the financial information necessary to calculate your purchasing power. By doing so, you will be pre-qualified and be able to make a conscious decision on how much you can or want to spend on housing. At the same time, the agent will be going over a list of your needs and desires with you so that they can search for properties that line up with your expectations. Your First Weber real estate agent can put on a home search (or you can sign up for a free MyFirstWeber account yourself) so listings that meet your requirements will come directly to your e-mail address. This saves lots of time. When you see properties online that pique your interest, let your agent know and they will setup a group of showings.

 

Takes notes when viewing multiple units

On the day you go out to see properties, have a note book and pen along to make notes on the properties that you like. This is important because if you see a number of units on any one day, or over a few days, you will be able to differentiate one from the other  by reviewing your notes. When viewing condos, take a good look at all of the common areas. Is the grass cut, are the shrubs trimmed, and what is your impression of the overall maintenance? Unkept areas, peeling paint or driveways that need to be resurfaced could be a sign of deferred maintenance.

 

Condominium Associations and Condo documents

When it comes time to make an offer, there is still more study to be done.  Condominium Associations are typically managed in two ways: either they are self managed (by the owners) or by an outside management company. Even if an association is managed by an outside firm, there is still a board of directors which is typically a group of homeowners. As a self managed association, the homeowners make all of the decisions related to hiring contractors, rules enforcement, etc., as opposed to an outside management company that provides most of these services.

 

As part of the purchasing process, buyers are provided with the condominium documents, an executive summary and other financial data regarding the association. It’s important to review this information for red flags. As part of the process, buyers can ask for other data. A few things that buyers would want to know include: What are the level of reserves? Is the association involved in any litigation? Have there been any recent assessments? For what? And how much? Well run associations typically have healthy reserves set aside for major maintenance projects and charge a fair monthly association fee so they can avoid assessments for major projects like roofs or parking lots.

 

Do your homework and choose a Realtor you are comfortable with

Any type of real estate is a major purchase and doing your homework & aligning yourself with a professional real estate agent in Wisconsin will help you achieve a comfort level in selecting a condominium and your agent will be able to help you every step of the way. Condo life is a lifestyle worth considering and one that many homeowners have embraced.

 

  By Mark Guirlinger, First Weber Lake Country office

 

To view any of the thousands of condominiums for sale in Wisconsin in South Central, Southeastern/Metro Milwaukee, Central Northeastern and Northern Wisconsin, please search firstweber.com to see multiple photos and slide shows to help you narrow down your choices.

 

In addition to resale condominiums for sale, we have many new construction condo projects listed across the state. To view new construction condos for sale in Wisconsin, please view our Condo community page to select your desired county – or view all.

 

 The Colony, Madison WI   Whispering Ridge, Lannon, WI  The Moderne, Miwlaukee, WI

 

Thank you for reading the First Weber Wisconsin real estate & Wisconsin living blog about the condo lifestyle and what to look for when buying a condominium in Wisconsin. 

 

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