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What should homeowners know about condominium ownership?

Florida has a high retiree population; as such, there are many condominium complexes available for rent or purchase, which can be a more attractive option to senior citizens than larger homes. For example, if you are looking to downsize and want a smaller residence to take care of, a condo may be what you need. Condominiums have other advantages, such as costing less than a single-family home and requiring less upkeep. Instead of having to do the yardwork yourself, property management will usually mow the lawn, do the landscaping and perform other maintenance work.

However, before you make the decision to buy a condo, there are other things you should know about what is normal in condo ownership. According to Investopedia, you usually will not have as many liberties in owning a condominium as you would with a house. You could paint the interior any color you wanted, but you would have to abide by the condo association’s rules about making changes to the exterior of the property. You would generally not have leave to change anything that is considered common property, including patios and windows. Also, you would usually not be allowed to perform maintenance or repairs yourself – this upkeep is reserved for the condo’s property management.

One more aspect of condo ownership is the presence of monthly fees, which are similar to homeowners association fees in single-family home neighborhoods. These fees go into a fund meant to help with the property’s maintenance, repairs, landscaping and other costs. In many cases, your fee would also cover utilities, garbage, sewer and cable television. In addition to monthly fees, there are some instances in which you might need to pay a special assessment, which has been known to result in legal disputes if condo owners are not prepared for such a charge. This could occur if you had a major repair that your usual condominium fee could not cover.

Understanding your expectations, as well as the extra costs, associated with condo ownership, may help you avoid disputes with property management.

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