Buying a home, whether it is a condominium, single family, or multi-family home, is a huge step and responsibility. Due to the differences, physically and legally, there are different risks, and different processes you have to take to reap the rewards of owning one of these homes. Let’s take a look at these three homes individually, to give you a good idea of the steps you would need to take if you decide to buy one of these homes!
Condominiums: It is imperative that you inspect all the rules and regulations of each condo you’re interested in before buying! Just a few things to watch out for, what are their policies on Landscaping? Pets? Motor vehicles? Paintings? Any improvements you want to make? Seasonal decorations? Fire detectors? Garbage? Etc. Be sure to research the condo docs, which are the bylaws and deeds composed by the condo association. Along with their rules, make sure you understand their boundary definition, yearly budget, and their income statement. Do not forget to use the most useful resource you have, your property manager! He or she can validate the accuracy of the budget, and they can check to see if there are any conflicting or missing policies in the condo docs. These are just a few things you need to think about before you invest your money into a condominium. Single and multi-family homes will have different issues and policies you will need to be aware of before investing!
Single-Family Homes: Before buying a home, the main thing you want to do is look for any lot, ground or property issues. Some of things you want to look for include: whether or not the oil tank is under the yard, make sure the lot lines are correct, and verify if this particular home has a septic tank or city water/sewer. Make sure the pipes of the oil tank are not rusty or falling apart, because if a pipe leaks, you will get stuck footing the bill, which can cost up to $20,000. Knowing where your property line starts and ends is very important to know from the get-go. The city/town you live in should have a property description that tells you the dimensions of your lot. But many of these descriptions do not identify every corner exactly. You can hire a surveyor, who can identify the exact dimensions of every corner of your property, and mark them off by putting stakes in the ground. It is important to check out as much detail of the property as possible before you make your final decision!
Multi-Family Homes: Purchasing a multi-family home can be the most complex process out of the three. However, with great risk comes great reward; one of the benefits to owing a multi-family home is the income they generate from rent. There are of course, a few issues you should research before making this big buy. Firstly, are there any existing tenants living in the house now, if so do they have leases? Here at Newton Centre Associates, we recommend that if you’re going to buy a multi-family home, be sure there are no tenants. This way you have new fresh tenants, who you chose, and you can enforce your policies right away. Make sure the units are legally zoned, and up to date on all codes. You want to have separate metered heating, hot water, and electric systems so that you can keep track of each unit for billing and rent purposes. Finally you have to understand your role as a landlord, and the responsibilities that entail this title.
If you are interested in buying a home, hopefully this bit of advice can help you get on the right track. Here at Newton Centre Associates, we handle all of these issues, and more for our clients we represent. If you are interested in our services, give us a call today at 617-965-3300.