Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor®
Philadelphia Main Line Homes and Real Estate
Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester Counties
Relocation Specialist
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E-mail: jp4re@pahomes.com
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Subject: Looking to Buy? A Condo May Be the Option for You

Let's face it. The beautiful home with the white picket fence and neatly manicured lawn is not the ideal homeownership for everyone. If you are twenty-something, affordability may be an issue. Or you might be an empty-nester who doesn't need all the room or hassles of yard work and other maintenance. You may even be someone for whom owning a home does not suit your lifestyle. For you, owning a condominium may be an option.

When you own a condominium, or condo for short, you own the title to the space within the walls of your living quarters. Common areas such as hallways, roofs, parking lots and pools are shared with the other owners in the complex. The more common type of condo is the apartment-style in which you will have units on either side of you and above and/or below. However, there are other styles. There are units that are designed more like townhomes with multiple levels. You can even find a condo in a building that was a multi-unit apartment converted to single-level units.

Condos are attractive to many buyers because they offer them a chance to own their residence at usually a lower cost than a single-family detached home. Of course there are exceptions, such as the luxurious condominiums that many developers are building in downtown and affluent neighborhoods.

If you would rather spend your free time doing something else besides mowing the lawn, painting the outside of your home, or waiting at home for the pool maintenance person, then a condo may be for you. As part of your monthly community association fee, you will usually pay for the services of a property management company. That company will be responsible for maintenance of the common areas.

Other advantages of owning a condo are the amenities that may be part of your complex such as a pool, tennis courts, fitness center or clubhouse. These are some of the perks you might not be able to afford or even have room for if you were to purchase a single-family home.

Now of course, as with all things, there are some disadvantages to owning a condominium, such as the lack of privacy that a single-family detached home affords. You are also confined to the rules and laws of the community association, which can run the gamut from how to display a satellite dish to the type of animals you can keep.

Is a condo the right living arrangement for you? Make an informed decision by weighing the pros and cons. Talk with a real estate professional who is familiar with condominiums and the laws that govern them. Preview the various condos in your area to get an idea of how the properties are run. If your real estate professional has sold condos in any of these complexes, find out the type of feedback he or she has received from clients. Remember condo living isn't for everyone, but can be an attractive option for those who want to own instead of rent.

"Real Service in Real Estate." For a personal consultation on buying or selling real estate, Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor® can be reached at (610) 642-3744, e-mail: jp4re@pahomes.com. Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors® is an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc.

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