|Condos by Area||Condos by Price||Condos by Type||Condos by Feature|
If you’re going to buy a home in Chicago, chances are you’re going to buy a condo. It isn’t that condos are better than houses. Each has it’s pros and cons. It’s just that there are more condos than houses in the city.
Condo living can be a carefree lifestyle. There’s no lawn to mow and no snow to shovel. Lock the door to your unit and go on vacation for a month.
At the same time condo living means following rules, sharing common amenities and contributing to a shared budget for building maintenance. When you buy a condo you aren’t just buying a home. You’re joining an association of owners.
As you browse Chicago condos for sale it’s easy to get focused their views, styles, finishes and layouts. It’s important that the interior features fit your lifestyle. [continued below]
Condos in Popular Areas
It’s also important to take a good look at the condo’s association. Pay attention to what utilities and amenities are included in the monthly assessment. In larger buildings gas is often included. In smaller buildings it often isn’t.
The fitness center and party rooms may look impressive, but check if there are fees to use them. It’s also not unusual for larger Chicago condo associations to charge fees for moving in and out and having a pet.
Also consider how much you’ll use the amenities you’ll be paying for. An indoor pool may sound nice, but will you really use it enough to justify a higher monthly assessment? If you like exercising with your friends at a gym, do you want to pay for a cardio room and weight room in your building? [continued below]
Condos by Price
After your offer is accepted the condo association will provide a completed 22.1 Disclosure. This consists of their rules & regulations, finances, lawsuits and insurance. Reviewing the 22.1 isn’t nearly as fun as touring condos for sale, but it’s critical.
Skim through a 22.1 and you could end up poorer and very unhappy. Read every word of the rules & regulations! Don’t assume that your saint bernard will be welcome, that you can grill on your balcony or replace the carpet in the bedrooms with hardwood. Some associations will allow all of these. Others won’t.
Review the projected budget and reserves. Condo associations with ample reserves are far less likely to require a special assessment while you’re an owner. [continued below]
Condos by Type
|Low & Mid Rise||Penthouse|
|Short Sale & Foreclosure||Townhome|
Chicago condo associations vary widely in allowing owners to rent their units. Many larger buildings have a cap or limit on the percent of units that can be rented. Some grandfather original owners who may rent out their units even if the rental cap is met.
Rental caps reduce the number of potential buyers for units since investors are discouraged from buying, if the rental cap is met. At the same time they limit the number of renters who may not be as concerned about maintaining the building.
Larger condo buildings typically require a minimum 1 year lease. Don’t even think about using your condo for Airbnb in these buildings! It’s way easier to get caught and fined than you think. Your “guests” will catch the attention of other owners or the property management staff. If you want the option to rent out your condo on a short term basis (less than 1 year), you’ll need to buy a condo in a smaller association that allows it. [continued below]
Condos by Feature
|Pet Friendly - Cats OK||Pet Friendly - Dogs OK|
As with condos and houses there are pros and cons for larger and smaller condo associations. Smaller condo associations tend to have less amenities and as such lower assessments and less rules. They may not have professional management. This puts more responsibility on owners. There’s also a greater financial impact, if one owner stops paying his or her monthly assessment.
As you shop for a condo in Chicago remember that you’re not only buying a home you’re joining an association of other owners. Give as much attention to the association as the condo unit and you’ll enjoy it far more over the years!