Real Estate Information Archive

Blog

Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7

10 Questions You Must Ask Before Purchasing a Condominium

by Allison Simson

I get a lot of questions about buying condos vs. single family residences and came across this blog post from Richard Vetstein that answers many of the questions quite well.  Buying a condominium unit can be more involved than buying a single family home. This is because you have to worry about both the unit itself and the condominium project as a whole.

10 Questions You Must Ask Before Purchasing a Condominium

To borrow from a famous phrase, not all condominiums are created equally. Some condominiums are very well run; some are quite poorly run and underfunded. Buyers interested in purchasing a condominium unit must do their homework:  not only about the condition of the individual unit they are interested in purchasing, but on the financial health and governance of the condominium as a whole. Remember, you are buying into the entire project as much as you are the unit, and your decision will impact your daily living and your ability to re-sell.

Here are the 10 questions buyers should ask when deciding to purchase a condominium unit:

  1. What is the monthly condominium fee and what does it pay for? The monthly condominium fee can range quite dramatically from condominium to condominium. The fee is a by-product of the number of units, the annual expenses to maintain the common area, whether the condo is professionally managed or self-managed, the age and condition of the project, and other variables such as litigation. For budgeting and financing you need to know the monthly fee and exactly what you are getting for it.
  2. What are the condominium rules & regulations? Condominium rules can prohibit pets, your ability to rent out the unit, and perform renovations. Make sure you carefully review the rules and regulations before buying.  Needless to say, the buyer and possibly the buyer's attorney should review and approval all condominium documents, including the master deed, declaration of trust/by-laws, covenants, unit deed and floor plans to ensure compliance with state condominium laws as well as Fannie Mae and FHA guidelines, as necessary.
  3. How much money is in the capital reserve account and how much is funded annually? The capital reserve fund is like an insurance policy for the inevitable capital repairs every building requires. As a general rule, the fund should contain at least 10% of the annual revenue budget, and in the case of older projects, even more. If the capital reserve account is poorly funded, there is a higher risk of a special assessment.  Get a copy of the last 2 years budget, the current reserve account funding level and any capital reserve study.
  4. Are there any contemplated or pending special assessments? Special assessments are one time fees for capital improvements payable by every unit owner. Some special assessments can run in the thousands. You need to be aware if you are buying a special assessment along with your unit.  It's a good idea to ask for the last 2 years of condominium meeting minutes to check what's been going on with the condominium.
  5. Is there a professional management company or is the association self-managed? A professional management company, while an added cost, can add great value to a condominium with well run governance and management of common areas.
  6. Is the condominium involved in any pending legal actions? Legal disputes between owners, with developers or with the association can signal trouble and a poorly run organization. Legal action equals attorneys’ fees which are payable out of the condominium budget and could result in a special assessment.  In most states, you can run a search of the condominium association in the court database to check if they've been involved in recent lawsuits.
  7. How many units are owner occupied? A large percentage of renters can create unwanted noise and neighbor issues. It can also raise re-sale and financing issues with the new Fannie Mae and FHA condominium regulations which limit owner-occupancy rates. If your buyer is using conventional financing, check if it is a Fannie Mae approved condo. If FHA financing, check if it's an FHA approved condo.
  8. What is the condominium fee delinquency rate? Again, a signal of financial trouble, and Fannie Mae and FHA want to see the rate at 15% or less.
  9. Do unit owners have exclusive easements or right to use certain common areas such as porches, decks, storage spaces and parking spaces? Condominiums differ as to how they structure the “ownership” of certain amenities such as roof decks, porches, storage spaces and parking spaces. Sometimes, they are truly “deeded” with the unit, so the unit owner has sole responsibility for maintenance and repairs. Sometimes, they are common areas in which the unit owner has the exclusive right to use, but the maintenance and repair is left with the association.  Review the Master Deed and Unit Deed on this one.
  10. What Does The Master Insurance Policy Cover? The condominium should have up to $1M or more in coverage under their master condominium policy. For buyer's own protection, they should always buy an individual HO-6 policy covering the interior and contents of the unit, because the master policy and condo by-laws may not cover all damage to their personal possessions and interior damage in case of a roof leak, water pipe burst or other problem arising from a common area element.

Often a standard condominium questionnaire will answer all or most of these questions. If not, you may want to be prepared to generate this list and incorporate it into your Offer.

Buying a condo in Summit County does require additional due diligence that is different from buying a single family home, but the benefits of having a condo- your home – or home away from home are certainly worth it!  Good luck! 

 

For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800. Email - [email protected].  Interested in a list of properties that meet your specific criteria?  www.SummitHomeBuyer.com   

Question: I am going to remodel an older home in Silverthorne. What types of remodeling projects give the greatest increase in property values?

 Answer: Many homeowners upgrade their residences with property value increases in mind. The key for these consumers is to determine which improvements will produce the most value for the money.

According to Remodeling magazine's annual Cost vs. Value report, kitchen remodels are the most profitable upgrade, offering homeowners an 88 percent return on project costs. Some homeowners actually stand to lose money on a sale if they fail to modernize their kitchens and bathrooms, says Vince Butler of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association Remodelers' Council.

On the hand, homeowners only recoup an average of 55 percent on the costs of a home office, making it the least profitable improvement. Remodeling investment returns are tied to the properties' values, as well as local market conditions.

 

For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800 or 1-800-262-8442. Email - [email protected] or visit their web site at www.SummitRealEstate.com. Allison is a long time local in Summit County. Summit Real Estate – The Simson/Nenninger Team is located at the Dillon Ridge Marketplace. Allison’s long-time residency and years of real estate experience can help you make the most of any buying or selling situation. She’s a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest designation awarded to a Realtor in the residential sales field.  Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.  

Making an Offer: Tips for Painless Purchase

by Allison Simson

Question: Allison, what is the best way to make an offer on a property?

 Answer: The overwhelming number of properties on the market and still-attractive interest rates make now an excellent time for first-time buyers and second-homeowners alike to purchase a mountain home, as well as for existing homeowners to trade up.

Prospective buyers should obtain written mortgage approval from lenders for the amount they will spend on a home, as well as to hire a real estate attorney and a buyers representative who know the local market and are skilled in negotiating. The buyers representative will find answers to questions that could influence the purchase price.

When negotiating, prospective buyers avoid low-balling their first offer; but they should have a good idea of how much room they have to negotiate. They should never reveal how much they are willing to pay and should be prepared for counter-offers.

They should keep in mind that having too many conditions will make them less attractive to the sellers. Prospective buyers should focus on trying to get their dream house at a fair price.

Finally, prospective buyers should never sign a contract for purchase and sale until they have reviewed it thoroughly with their Real Estate Broker, or if they don’t have the time or inclination to review it themselves, they should hire a real estate attorney. 

 

For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800. Email - [email protected]. Allison is a long time local in Summit County. Summit Real Estate – The Simson/Nenninger Team is located at the Dillon Ridge Marketplace. Allison’s long-time residency and years of real estate experience can help you make the most of any buying or selling situation. She’s a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest designation awarded to a Realtor in the residential sales field.  Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.  Want to know the value of your Summit County property? Visit www.SummitHomeValue.com   

Fix It or Replace It?

by Allison Simson

Question: Allison, our condo is currently on the market and the dishwasher recently broke.  We are wondering if we should repair it or replace it- which makes more sense?

 Answer: The answer is – it depends! The May 2009 issue of Consumer Reports offers consumers a timeline to determine when it’s time to say goodbye to old appliances that aren’t operating properly. The magazine took into account age, typical repair and replacement costs, and improvements that have been made in newer models.

The following list shows the age when it’s more sensible to replace an appliance rather than fix it:

  • 6 years: dishwashers, over-the-range microwaves, and top-freezer refrigerators
  • 7 years: clothes dryers and top-loader washers
  • 8 years: Bottom-freezer and side-by-side refrigerators, electric or gas ranges, electric wall ovens, and front-loader washers

The most important thing to remember is that Buyers expect the appliances to be in good working order and will probably ask for them to be repaired or replaced when they do their inspection if there are problems.


Source: Consumer Reports-REAL ESTATE FORUM

For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800. Email - [email protected]. Allison is a long time local in Summit County. Summit Real Estate – The Simson/Nenninger Team is located at the Dillon Ridge Marketplace. Allison’s long-time residency and years of real estate experience can help you make the most of any buying or selling situation. She’s a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest designation awarded to a Realtor in the residential sales field.  Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.  Want to know the value of your Summit County property? Visit www.SummitHomeValue.com   

Sit, relax and enjoy the sunshine as it pours through the many windows of this spacious 2 bedroom/2 bath plus loft furnished Centennial townhome.  Spectacular views of Lake Dillon and the surrounding mountains from one of the two decks of this front row end unit can’t be beat!  An easy drive to the Keystone ski area, Dillon Marina or hiking trails for all of your recreational needs.  Want to get to Breckenridge or Frisco? Take the beautiful drive over Swan Mountain Road or the scenic drive around the lake on the Dillon Dam Road.  The Silverthorne Factory stores are just down the road.

A total of 1,336 square feet on multi-levels, gives you plenty of space to spread out.  The convenience of having the kitchen on the entry level means you won’t have to carry your groceries up any stairs!  The washer/dryer is conveniently located on the lower level with 2 bedrooms (one of which has a walk out deck) and a bathroom.  The large living room with picture window, vaulted ceilings and wood burning fireplace has lots of room for entertaining friends and family.  The loft area makes for a quiet napping or reading area as well as doubling as extra sleeping space for your guests.

Priced at $320,000, you can’t afford to pass this great unit up!  Very reasonable HOA dues of $312/month include cable TV, common area maintenance, common taxes, insurance, management, snow removal, trash pickup, water and sewer.  Use the Corinthian Hills neighborhood rec center for $150/year.  Get this property under contract by April 30th and close by June 30st to take advantage of the tax credit!

      

To meet Lynn Sustad, Kelie Gray and Anna Willis, the Buyer Specialist Team at Summit Real Estate – The Simson/Nenninger Team visit www.SummitRealEstate.com.   A member of the team can be reached by calling 800.262.8442 or 970.468.6800 or email us at Te[email protected].
Not ready to speak to a broker yet, visit www.SummitHomeBuyer.com.

Which Tax credit fits you best?

by Allison Simson

It's tax time!  Whoopee!  This year there are a few tax credits that I wanted to make sure you knew about.

Move-Up/Repeat Home Buyer Tax Credit

  • Buyers must have owned and lived in their previous home for five consecutive years out of the last eight years.
  • The tax credit is equal to 10% of the home's purchase price up to $6,500.
  • Does not have to be repaid unless the home is sold or ceases to be used as the buyer's principal residence within three years of the initial purchase.
  • The tax credit applies to sales under contract by April 30, 2010 and closed by June 30, 2010.

First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

  • The IRS defines a first-time home buyer as someone who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase.
  • The tax credit is equal to 10% of the home's purchase price up to ?.
  • The tax credit does not have to be repaid.
  • the tax credit applies to sales under contract by April 30, 2010 and closed by June 30, 2010.

So, if you want to buy or move up - Get Cracking!  Time is short for this giveaway money.  Smile

 

What Your Money Can Buy ~ A Charming Log Home in Dillon

by Allison Simson

Come home to this charming log cabin located on a quiet and secluded street in Dillon Valley.  This warm and cozy mountain property features 4 bedrooms, 1 ¾ bathrooms and 1975 square feet on two levels.  The beautifully remodeled kitchen is decked out with alder cabinets, slab granite countertops, nicely tiled floors, stainless steel appliances and updated lighting.  The master bathroom is equipped with an oversized steam shower, travertine tile and nice cabinetry.  New triple pane windows and hot water heater provide energy efficiency.  The inviting floor plan has room for all of your friends and family.  Whether you choose to use it as your Summit county mountain retreat, or as your primary residence, you will find that this home has space for it all.  A large family room with a gas fireplace is open to the dining and kitchen areas, making entertaining a piece of cake.  A main floor master and guest bedroom add to the ease of living in this single family home.  Downstairs you will find a laundry room, full bathroom and rooms for sleeping or additional storage. 

 This one third acre lot is filled with mature pine and aspens, adding to your privacy and mountain home feel.  Bask in the sun and take in the wooded surroundings from the very large and south facing front deck.  Sit on the back deck and enjoy fantastic views of Buffalo and Red Mountains to the west.  The 1 car garage has plenty of room to store all of your winter and summer toys, with additional built in shelving.  You’re a hop, skip and a jump away from all of Summit County’s ski resorts and it’s a quick dash to I-70.  Such a great, central location! 

 At $500,000, this home is being sold fully furnished and is the most affordable log home in Summit County on the market today!  It is truly in move-in condition.  Don’t spend the money and time updating a different property, enjoy the beautiful remodel here without having to lift a finger.  Save your legwork for the mountains!  Take advantage of the first time homebuyer $8,000. tax credit or the move-up buyer $6,500. tax credit and get yourself into this charming log cabin.  Don’t wait until interest rates go up and inventory levels go down, give your broker or Summit Real Estate a call today! 

 

Looking to Buy?  Not ready to speak to a broker?  Visit www.SummitHomeBuyer.com

Meet Lynn Sustad, Kelie Gray and Anna Willis, the Buyer Specialist Team at Summit Real Estate-The Simson / Nenninger Team.  Devoted to working with Buyers, these Specialists tour hundreds of homes and commit to having the most comprehensive knowledge in the market.  A member of the Buyer Specialist Team can be reached at (800) 262.8442 or (970) 468.6800, www.SummitRealEstate.com or email us at [email protected]

Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7

Syndication

Categories

Archives

Share This Page

Contact Information

Photo of Summit Real Estate Real Estate
Summit Real Estate
The Bright Choice
330 Dillon Ridge Way, Suite 10
Dillon CO 80435
970-468-6800
800-262-8442
Fax: 970-468-2195

Allison Simson, Owner/Broker, is a licensed Colorado Real Estate Broker