When you’re ready to take the leap from renting to home ownership, the list of exciting things to do can seem mile high. Yet for all the fun you’ll have finding a property with amazing views and state-of-the-art appliances, there are some answers you’ll need from your realtor.

Since condos are also overseen by a homeowners’ association (HOA) board, you should find out a few key details about the community you have in mind. Here are six questions every condo-hunter should ask before they sign the escrow papers.

1. What Are the HOA Fees?

When you live in a condo, you’re responsible for more than just your mortgage payment. You will also have a monthly HOA assessment. An important part of your budget planning will be determining whether the HOA fees are affordable for you. Monthly HOA fees might start at around $200, but they can go higher, depending on the community.

2. What Do Fees Cover?

The idea behind paying HOA fees is that these funds should go to work for you. While the monthly payments may seem off-putting at first, many condo owners soon find that it takes a lot of the burden of homeownership off your shoulders. These fees typically cover things like trash pick-up, landscaping, pool maintenance, and repair and replacement for any community furniture or equipment. You should ask your realtor to outline exactly what your fees cover; if your HOA doesn’t pay for water, for instance, you will need to budget additional funds for that.

3. Is There Soundproofing?

Living in a condo has many upsides, but sharing a wall with neighbors can be one of the challenges. Touring a space in the middle of the day, when many residents are at work, won’t always give you a realistic idea of how loud things can get from normal activities like watching TV and cooking. Ask your realtor if there is soundproofing in the walls and floors. It’s good to find out how much has been done to prevent neighbor-to-neighbor sound disturbance.

4. What is the Condition of Communal HVAC and Water Heater Equipment?

You can only control so much about the efficiency of your condo equipment. You may have a private A/C unit, or there may be central air in all units. You will almost certainly be sharing a commercial water heater with the rest of the community. While your inspector will check out the kitchen appliances and any equipment in your unit, you should also ask when the community equipment was last replaced.

5. When Was the Roof Last Repaired?

The HOA is responsible for all aspects of the building itself, including the roof. As HOA board members rotate and condo ownership changes hands, it’s easy for this essential bit of upkeep to fall through the cracks. If you’re in a top-floor unit, the shape of the roof will directly affect your home. Even if you’re on a lower level, you should still ask about the roof of the property, as improper drainage from rain or leaks can damage the building’s foundation.  

6. Can I See the Full List of Rules?

While owning your condo means choosing whatever wall paint your heart desires, being in a shared community always has some restrictions. There may be noise restrictions, parking rules, or policies regarding any shared amenities like pools and fitness centers. Find out the full list of rules before you move in, to check that you can live comfortably with the community regulations.

Ready to trade your lease for a deed? A condo is a great place to call home, as you get many of the benefits of homeownership, while your HOA covers most of the headaches — including maintenance, repairs, and security. Owning a condo also gives you access to community amenities, like a pool and gym, which you won’t be responsible for maintaining yourself. Armed with the right questions and prepared to negotiate a great deal, you can move yourself into the right community in no time at all.

Interested in finding a condo of your own in beautiful Phoenix? Contact Aderra Condominiums and schedule a tour of our luxury property, so you can discover firsthand how incredible condo living can be.