Home Buying Tips

Know What You’re Buying

The first rule of real estate: Location, location, location. It is imperative to choose your neighborhood wisely. During these tough economic times, this cannot be stressed enough. Your neighborhood is as invaluable as your home—probably more. Why? For starters, your house is only as good as the houses around you. If you are investing on a property for rental, or even making a home your primary residence, thinking the future is crucial.

Yet not everything in home buying is all about the location. The type of house you want to purchase is another important consideration because defining it dictates the other requirements: budget, mortgage plan, future renovations, maintenance, etc. So, let’s not dally anymore and move on to the types of homes you might stumble upon during house hunting.
  1. Detached Single Family Home

    Along with the Co-operatives, detached single family homes are located on the far end of the residential spectrum. This type of home can be found anywhere and is typically defined as: a single, four-walled residential structure intended for one family and separated from other homes. Purchasing this type of home naturally makes you responsible for paying property taxes, utilities and mortgage.

    As an owner, you are also responsible for everything within the lot, including: insurance, maintenance and repairs. You are free from doing virtually anything you want on the property: inside and out. But although the full extent of autonomy can be tempting, you must remember that you are also accountable for whatever happens to the property.
  2. Co-Operatives

    Also more popularly known as simply, co-ops, these properties are owned by a single entity or corporation. Apartment buildings are common examples of co-ops. So, instead of purchasing the unit itself, you are actually buying a membership or shares in the corporation; this makes you “part-owner” of the building. Along with this part-ownership is the responsibility, not only to your own unit but, to the entire building, as well as its individual entities.
  3. Condominiums

    These are similar to co-ops in a sense that condominiums are comprised of a number of residential homes in a building or a group of buildings. When you purchase a condo unit, you become an exclusive owner of that unit and other amenities tied with the purchase. You also obtain shared ownership on the portions of the property, or common area, together with your neighbors. The common area may include wide-ranging facilities depending on the building, such as: pools, hallways, parking spaces, courts, gyms and laundry areas, to name a few.

    As an owner, you also have the responsibility of paying the Homeowner’s Association. The payment dues commonly tied with HOA are: water, gas, homeowner’s insurance and maintenance. This is the common hurdle when owning a condo unit because your HOA dues can possibly exceed the total sum of your maintenance, insurance, water and gas if you are living alone. This is within the regulations, of course, since the HOA reserve funds for unexpected maintenance expenditures.
  4. Planned Unit Developments

    These are essentially detached single family homes located in a community or neighborhood that offers on-site amenities, like some of those found in condominiums, plus more. The only difference this has with detached single family homes is that since they are located in exclusive villages, you must adhere to any regulations set upon by the owners or the HOA – this can reduce the freedom you have in doing whatever you want with your home, which can be frustrating at times.