To buy while others are selling has long been celebrated as a savvy way to shop. But these days it is also possible to buy without hardly any competition from other bargain hunters, which makes it even easier to make a wise and lucrative investment.
The way to do it is to purchase a condo during the current “off season.” We are already middle of one of the most lopsided buyer’s markets in decades, and those who shop during the traditionally slow winter months this year can amplify their chances of getting a great deal on a condo.
Here are a few tips for purchasing a condominium this winter, while others are hunkered down waiting for springtime to come.
· Line Up the Mortgage Financing Early
Especially these days financing is critical, so speak to a mortgage lender ahead of time and get a letter stating that you have been pre-qualified or pre-approved for a loan. Sellers are eager to find able buyers, and will often make valuable concessions or throw in perks for those who demonstrate that they have funds and can close a deal without any delays or disappointments related to banks and mortgage companies.
· Buy While Nobody is Shopping
The slowest time of year for real estate sales is during the winter months, especially around the holidays. Begin browsing for condos right away to take advantage of winter pricing in addition to the deep discounts already being offered because of this year’s unusually slow market. Condo prices in Florida, for example, have dropped substantially within the past few months – even in world class destinations like Miami Beach. Other attractive markets where condos can be had for prices lower than buyers have seen in many years ago include New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, and Atlanta.
· Scrutinize the Condo Association Records
Condos differ from single family homes in profound ways, and buyers should always carefully study the rules and condo association legal documents before purchasing. Find out what fees are required and how those monthly or annual fees are spent, which amenities are shared by all condo owners, and what repairs have been done or are planned in the future. The best managed condo associations have adequate cash reserves to cover maintenance, repairs, and improvements and they can show a track record of timely response to homeowner needs.
· Use an Attorney Before Finalizing a Sale
Everyone can benefit from the expertise of a good real estate lawyer to review documents at closing, but when buying a condominium it is a good idea to seek legal counsel long before signing an offer