Step By Step – How to Buy a Condo

Great! I’m so glad you found this blog. That means that you are doing your research before jumping in real estate market and purchasing a condominium. Understanding all you can about the real estate market, local micromarkets, the purchase and sale agreement and all the details involved will help you make a better informed decision and one that you can be proud of long after you’ve signed on the dotted line. I want to give you the step-by-step rundown on the process of buying a condominium. You can skip around two the parts that you might not understand as well but getting the knowledge and a real grasp on the buying process creates less stress during the transaction and makes you feel better about your purchase. Now, let’s start with step one.Step By Step - How to Buy a Condo

Knowing you want to buy a condo.

The condominium purchase is different than purchasing a single-family house. You are essentially buying an apartment and you will share the common areas and the general building with the rest of the owners. This is not a single-family house where you have control of the outside of the property. The roof, the siding, walls and windows are all part of the Association. However, the inside is yours to do with as you please provided you don’t knock down any loadbearing walls or go against the association’s rules and bylaws. You are however under a set of rules and must abide by them as part of the condo association ownership.

The advantage of buying a condominium is that many of the amenities and items that I just mentioned above all taken care of for you. You will need to be replacing a roof, worrying about landscaping or painting the outside of the building. All of this is covered under the Association.

Get preapproved for a loan.

Unless you’re paying cash for the condominium, which a lot of buyers do, chances are you’ll probably need a home loan. This loan is very similar to a single-family loan but you’ll need to inform your lender that you are purchasing a condominium or townhouse style property. Getting preapproved is different than simply a prequalification calculator, which you can find on any real estate website. Being preapproved means you have sat down with a lender, discussed your income, assets, liabilities and all debts to determine the best price that you can afford. No more than about 30% to 35% of your income should be used to pay for housing. This should include the condominium association fees, principal, interest, taxes and any homeowners insurance. Lenders will figure out exactly how much you can afford and then give you a number. It is that number that you’ll not want to go over one looking for condominiums.

It is important to note that looking at condominiums before knowing exactly how much you can afford can lead to disappointment and frustration. Think of it this way; perhaps you found a condo that you absolutely love but then after the preapproval process realize you cannot afford it. That can be very disappointing. Do the process right in figure out how much you can afford before jumping in.

Use a buyers agent.

You’ll want a buyers agent to facilitate the transaction between buyer and seller when you purchase a condo. If you go with the listing agent of the condo you are interested in, your benefits, priorities and negotiating strategies are not in your court. The listing agent’s primary duty is to sell that one particular condo, not necessarily the best condo for your needs. Using your own agent is free, and they works solely for you, not the seller of any particular condo. Using your own agent to conduct all the negotiations will put you in a better spot for a condo for less money and your terms.

Look for your condominium.

Once you know how much condo you can afford it’s time to look at condominiums. Browse our website for all the available condos for sale in Panama City Beach and surrounding areas. Make sure you know what you’re looking for. Do you want an oceanfront condo? A condo with lots of amenities such as swimming pools, tennis or golf? How big of a condo are you looking for? How many bedrooms, bathrooms and layout? How far away from activities and adventure do you want to be? Do you want to high-rise condominium or a low rise? There are so many options and choices in Panama City Beach that there’s something for everyone in just about every price range. Search in your price range for your criteria and find exactly what you’re looking for.

Don’t see exactly what you want the first timeout? Talk to your buyers agent about exactly what you want and have them email you every time a listing hits the market that matches your price and search criteria.

Make an offer.

Once you have found the condominium that you love you want to make an offer. Your buyers agent will write up the offer with the earnest money deposit, terms, closing date and any other details of the purchase and sale agreement. This must be signed and dated and for the offer to be legitimate, it must be accepted and agreed upon by the seller. There may be some negotiations back and forth. The seller may counter offer with a different price or different terms but the earnest money deposit will not be deposited until there is mutual agreement.

Get a home inspection.

Once there is mutual agreement you want to set up a home inspection. Just because you’re buying a condominium doesn’t mean you need to neglect this major step in the home buying process. Contact a home inspector that is familiar with condominiums and townhouses. They will look at all the details, roofs, attics, crawl spaces if applicable, the Association and what everything covers. If there’s any concerns or questions they will make note of it in the report. From here, you can send the report back either accepting the inspection as is, rejecting and terminating the transaction or negotiating for repairs or replacements.

Again, the transaction cannot proceed until both parties agree to the terms that are negotiated therein.

Pending to closing.

Once the inspection report has been completed the transaction moves on to pending. It is at this time that final lending will be completed, escrow will finalize the documents and collect paperwork needed for signing, sellers will correct any inspection report details if needed and the buyer can start packing.

Escrow, title, the real estate agent or even the lender may call requesting a time for closing. Sellers typically sign the documents first followed by the buyers, both at separate times. Once the property is signed, the deed is recorded with the county in which the property is located and the deal is closed. It is only after this point the keys can be handed to the buyer.

Congratulations! You just bought a condominium!

Ready to get started? Contact our office today to get in touch with a lender, view property or to talk with a buyers agent for Panama City Beach condominiums.