As the search begins for Hamilton real estate, you may have discovered that condo living is the way forward for you. Although you’re undoubtedly aware that this involves a monthly mortgage, you probably haven’t considered additional expenses. Budgeting to ensure you can afford to close on a condo (and continue to live in it) is vital to successfully buying and maintaining your condo. Below are a few of the most important factors when budgeting for a condo.
Down payment and closing costs
Chances are you’re also aware that you must pay for a down payment. The more money you can apply to your down payment upon closing, the cheaper your interest rates will be on the condo. The same logic applies to all Hamilton real estate. This can save you thousands during the life of your mortgage.
The down payment isn’t the only thing you will be paying during closing day. It’s your responsibility to pay the closing costs on the condo as well. Although closing costs sound like another lump sum of cash you must pay like a down payment, it’s actually an assortment of fees all consolidated together. Closing costs consist of title insurance, land transfer taxes, attorney fees, mortgage insurance (if applicable), and more. Expect closing costs to add up to no more than 4% of the total price of the condo.
Another thing to factor when buying a condo are the condo fees. These fees are typically priced per the square footage of your unit along with the cost for maintaining amenities, repairs to the building, lawn care, etc. A portion of these fees will go into the building’s reserve fund. This fund is used to provide major repairs: roof replacement, HVAC renovations, additions to the building, and the like. If you are purchasing a pre-construction condo, you should be able to glean what the anticipated monthly condo fees will be so you can budget accordingly.
It is also your responsibility to pay property taxes on Hamilton real estate. For a condo, you can learn what the expected property tax is anticipated to be next tax season. If you are buying a pre-construction condo, reach out to that condo’s local municipality to learn what the expected property taxes will be. It’s a good idea to save a little extra just in case the estimates are a bit off. The longer you live in the condo, the more accurate the estimates will be since there is more data to pool from.
What happens when the reserve fund cannot finance the maintaining of a condo? A special assessment is enacted. This is a one-time required payment where tenants must pay their fair share of the rest of the cost. While this does happen, it’s a very rare circumstance for a properly managed condo building. This is why it is so important to research the owner of the building to discover if they have a history of mismanaged Hamilton real estate. A properly managed condo will be able to let you know ahead of time when a special assessment is due, the anticipated cost, and will provide you will enough time to pay it.
Although some utilities are covered in condo fees, don’t expect every utility to be covered. Utilities such as Internet and cable television are the responsibility of the tenant. When choosing Hamilton real estate, it’s safe to say that if any utilities are covered by the condo fees it will be electricity, water, etc. Reach out to the developer in question and ask them what utilities – if any – are covered by condo fees.
If your search for Hamilton real estate has landed you at a pre-construction condo, you are likely going to have to pay for a home warranty. These third-party warranty programs are designed to ensure your condo is constructed in a proper manner and meets the specifications of the building. Reach out to the developer in question to inquire about what is and is not covered in a home warranty.
Speaking of insurance, your mortgage lender may require you to purchase mortgage insurance. It’s also not a bad idea to get it. Speak to your lender and find out if it’s required and if it’s a good course of action for your situation.