How To Buy A Condo Or A Townhouse
How To Buy A Condo Or Townhouse in Glendale and Pasadena
Wondering how to buy a condo or townhouse in Glendale or Pasadena? We put together a buying guide to help you make great decisions!
Condo and Townhouse Basics
A condominium (condo) is a parcel of land that contains several units that are individually owned. Each homeowner owns the space within their unit plus a fraction (and right to use) of the total common areas and a fraction of the total land. Many townhomes are actually condominium ownership. This type of ownership is the most common type in Glendale and Pasadena.
Townhouse or Zero Lot Line Homes are single family homes that may share walls with an adjoining home, but the homeowner owns the land beneath their unit and bears all responsibility for maintenance and upkeep.
When it is condo vs townhouse keep in mind the following:
Townhouse style condos are often multi-story, enjoy a private garage, and do not have neighbors above. They are more likely to be at street level with an open air entrance and to enjoy a decent patio.
Apartment style condos tend to be single level units with neighbors, potentially, on all sides. Open subterranean parking garages are the norm.
Are Condos and Townhomes Less Expensive?
There is a large range on the cost of a condo or townhouse in Glendale and Pasadena. However, even once you factor in the monthly HOA fees, buying a condo or townhome delivers more amenities and larger spaces for a lower cost than single family homes.
Here are some of the latest condo and townhome listings in Glendale and Pasadena.
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What Does The Condo or Townhouse Home Owner Association Fee Cover?
The details of what a Home Owner’s Association (HOA) fess cover will vary from building to building. Here are the standard things you can generally expect when buying a condo or a townhouse in Glendale and Pasadena:
- Maintenance of the general structure and common areas
- Maintenance of the grounds
- Utilities for common areas
- A reserve find for major projects like roof replacement, painting or termite treatment
- Liability Insurance for common areas
- Hazard Insurance for general structure and common areas
If the HOA fee seems unusually high check the following:
- Earthquake insurance – this is very expensive and few HOA’s have it.
- High rise building – maintenance is higher for a high rise plus these buildings typically have more amenities
- Individual utilities – some of the older buildings have HOA fees that cover homeowner utilities like electricity and gas, sometimes cable is also included.
- Added Amenities – pools, tennis courts, fancy recreation rooms and front desk staff can add up
Monthly Fees That Are Typically NOT Covered
- Individual utilities like cable, internet, electricity and gas
- Condo Insurance which covers the condo or townhouse interior, personal property and personal liability
- Property tax
See Condos and Townhomes In Your Price Range
Pros and Cons Buying a Condo or Townhouse
Buying a condo or a townhouse in Glendale and Pasadena is less expensive than buying a similarly sized single family home. The condo or townhouse is also usually newer and in better condition.
Many Glendale and Pasadena condos and townhouses are located in luxury high end neighborhoods or walkable shopping areas.
You can enjoy amenities like a pool, gym or recreation area without the hassle of maintaining them.
Convenience – you can close and go while someone else handles maintenance
People often feel more safe in a condo or townhouse environment.
You have more neighbors and they are a lot closer. Noise and interpersonal conflict can be a factor.
The HOA Rules might restrict your choices on pets, having renters, making improvements, or remodeling
In general a condo or townhouse in Glendale and Pasadena is slower to appreciate in value vs a single family home
Mortgages can be harder to obtain.
Top Tips for Buying A Condo Or Townhouse
Don’t let a pretty, sexy unit distract you from paying attention to the entire development. Here are some top tips to keep in mind as you are shopping for your perfect unit.
Maintenance of Common Area – Notice how things are maintained from the moment you pull up to the curb. Is the trim crisp and painted or peeling and neglected? Walk around the grounds- is the landscape tidy and maintained? If there is a lobby area notice the mail box area. Is there litter and junk mail piling up?
Relative location parking spot, trash, laundry room, other units – How far away are key amenities like trash chutes, laundry or your parking spot? Is the unit surrounded by other units or on an end with relatively few adjoining walls? Will there be a lot of foot traffic passing in front of the unit?
Listen Carefully – Try to visit when people are at home, but also pay attention to mechanical systems like elevators and garage gates that can create noise. And, this seems obvious but easily forgotten, be sure to look out all of the windows to observe what might create noise.
Laundry Facilities – Almost everyone prefers in unit laundry facilities over a common laundry room. A unit with it’s own laundry hook ups are a better investment, but it also significantly increases the sales price. Sometimes a complex will allow individual unit owners to add in unit laundry.
Private Garage – Similarly, almost everyone prefers a private garage for privacy, storage and flexibility. It is better investment to get a unit with a garage, but they are less common and may not be affordable.
Small Complex vs Large Complex – A small complex can have lower HOA fees as there is less to maintain. Watch out for low reserves (which can indicate longterm mismanagement of funds) or high tenant occupancy ratios. Large complexes are often professionally managed, but have higher fees.
Condo Rules and Restrictions – All condos and townhomes have rules and restrictions. You will get detailed documentation to review as part of your inspection process, but there are some key questions to get answered before making an offer. Find out about pet restrictions, rules about renting your unit, any current or contemplated lawsuits, or any special assessments.