The Four Most Important Things To Consider When Purchasing Las Vegas Condos

Condos may not be the most common living choice in Las Vegas. However, their popularity in other cities is causing more people to consider them. They are attractive alternatives to the standard single family homes and are more affordable. If you are looking for a vacation home, then condos are great low upkeep options. They also serve as a good choice for anyone wanting to downsize.

There is a surge in the area of young professionals that are attracted to condo style living in the core of the city. Real estate professionals are noticing the trend towards condos and predict that so long as interest rates stay low and demand remains high, condo living will increase.

Like all home purchases, you must first consider budget and the location in a town that you want to live. This will help to narrow your search as you start looking for a condo. Beyond price, there are a few suggestions Las Vegas real estate agents recommend that you consider.

1. The Homeowners Association

Many Las Vegas communities have homeowner associations, and these are particularly valuable when looking for condos. Most of the information you need and want about the condo does not actually involve the unit itself, but rather the governing body.
These associations are responsible for maintenance when it comes to condo properties. Knowing this, you will want to make sure the one you are looking into is well funded. Request copies of their last budget to make sure funds are sufficient. Insufficient finances can indicate that fees are likely to rise and the building will go into disrepair.

You want to make sure you are fully aware of the association rules as they are usually much stricter than with houses. There will be regulations for parking, the number of cars you can park on the property and restrictions regarding pets and their sizes if allowed. Review the declaration of the CC&R’s (covenants, conditions and restrictions) should be readily available. Some people do not like the number of restrictions, but if you happen to be looking for a quieter life style, then these may suit you just fine.

2. The Financing

Banks have more unique requirements when it comes to approval for a condo, making it a slightly different process to getting a single family home. It is not uncommon for condo developments to have pending construction litigation, so banks will have the homeowners association complete a questionnaire on this. If there is litigation or if more renters live there than owners, banks may not be quick to loan you the finances.

Some banks, however, will work with you. Nevada State Bank is one such institution that offers mortgages specifically designed for condo purchases. Real estate brokers always recommend going to credit unions first before larger banking organizations. You also want to try for a conventional loan before a Federal Housing Administration loan, which has stricter requirements.

3. Your Lifestyle

It is important to consider your lifestyle and budget before choosing a condo. There are many developments across town, so you can look for exactly what you need.

The most expensive options are the high-rise condos with buyers facing average prices around the mid-six figure range as well as higher association fees. You do get what you pay for as units often come with fabulous amenities; a concierge, modern gym and equipment, on-site spa facilities even theaters and limo service to mention a few. High rise units are often located in the city center with easy access to the Strip and sensational views.

Luxury mid-rise units are available if you want a high-end feel without the high prices. While this option is more affordable, you often miss out on some of the more desirable amenities.

If you are simply just looking to save money, low-rise or garden style condos will be the best choice. Available in two or three story options, these condos are more budget friendly. If your finances have you somewhere between a low-rise and a mid-rise, real estate agents recommend looking into town homes, which can range from $150,000 to $300,000.

4. The Building

Always inspect the common areas of any development you are interested in. Go check out the pools and pay attention to surrounding walls and landscaping. If things are looking in rough shape, you may want to consider another location because it could indicate that the homeowners association is poorly managed. Any disrepair will impact your living experience and will damage potential resale value over time.

Agents also recommend avoiding conversion units; buildings that were originally apartments and have been renovated into condos. The reconstruction typically causes structural problems and defects.

When looking around and in the unit, use your best judgment. Your visual analysis is often very reliable. Even when a bank discovers pending litigation for construction defects, this is not the worse thing. While it sounds ominous, it may, in fact, be a very small thing and an easy fix. Take a look for yourself and assess everything and pick the spot that feels most like home.

Is Buying a Condo a Good Real Estate Investment?

Real estate can be a great investment. You can have a full-time tenant or, in areas that attract vacationers, even do week to week or weekend leases. But before you go out and sign a contract, there are several items to include in your calculations to make sure you are making enough for it to be worth the risk.

In additional to purchase price, condos include annual fees you must take into consideration. These include: condo dues, real estate taxes, insurance, maintenance not included in the association dues, and legal costs should you have to do an eviction. To accurately predict profit you need to subtract those figures from your annual expected rental income. Generally, it’s a good idea to underestimate your rental income by a month or two per year to account for vacancies.

If you are financing the property, you must also factor the mortgage interest into these calculations. It’s not just a matter of getting enough rent to cover the payment: you have to make sure the interest isn’t costing you too much in the long run. If you’re only making enough to your monthly payments, it may not be the best investment.

The great part about using a condo as a rental property is that many condo associations cover maintenance costs. Landscaping and even repainting can all be included in association dues, but you must make sure you know for sure what will be covered. If snow removal is not included, you will have to factor that cost into your overall expenses.

Another factor to consider is the location of the property. Is it in an area where renters will be easy to find? Or will you have your work cut out for you in finding reliable tenants? College towns, vacation spots and major cities would all be great for seasonal renters. Other things to ask are what are the employment prospects in the area. Is the area seeing a population growth, decline or remaining stagnant? If you want a year-round tenant, an area with a major employer nearby is a good choice. If you are okay renting to a college crowd, go for college towns. Just make sure you account for the summer when the property may be vacant.

Other costs to consider include legal fees for having the attorney draw up an enforceable lease, cleaning fees for when tenants change, advertising costs and any utilities you are willing to cover to attract tenants. If you allow pets you may have more damage to the property than if you do not. If you regularly rent to college students, you may see more damage than renting to a typical family. So, factor in some cleaning time (whether you do it yourself or pay someone it’s a cost.)

Real estate can offer a high return on your investment. Condos can be especially rewarding because your monthly dues often cover the common areas of expense. Just remember to take all of your costs into consideration when deciding. It’s not only the purchase price you need to get back in rent to truly make a profit.