As with any major investment, it’s wise to do your homework before buying a condominium. There are numerous options when it comes to buying a trendy, new Austin condo, so it’s good to have game plan with your approach to which property you will purchase and to understand what you can expect before and after closing on your new home. With mortgage rates on the rise in 2017, now is the best time to buy a South Austin condo.

Before You Search

Deciding which property best suits your needs can be a daunting task, that’s why step one before you buy a condo is hiring a professional realtor. Partner with a real estate expert who has helped sell and buy properties in the neighborhoods you’re most interested.

Before you get too attached to the perfect Austin condo with a view, know your financial limits. Meet with a mortgage lender to calculate just how much home you can afford while avoiding becoming house poor.

A major difference between buying a condo in Austin versus purchasing single-family home is understanding the condo building rules. Condominium rules can vary by building, so ask for the complete list in writing from the condo HOA board. The same can be said for knowing the condo fees and amenities offered. You’ll want to factor in the monthly condo fees into your expenses and be sure to ask what amenities are offered to residents of the building.

Know your priorities before you fall in love with an Austin condo. If being close to public transportation is vital to your home choice, start with buildings that offer that luxury. If you prefer to be within walking distance of restaurants and a vibrant nightlife, judge that proximity before honing in on a particular condo.

Every home buyer has a wish list, but keep it realistic. Know which amenities or features you’re willing to give up for the perfect location, or which condo comforts you simply can’t live without, no matter the cost.

After You Buy

Once you’ve settled on a great Austin condo near downtown and the closing process is over, take initiative to make your new home comfortable and be active in your condominium meetings. Most condo HOAs meet once monthly; know when the board meets and attend. Even if you don’t have a complaint (or anything to say at all), being at the meetings will help you stay in the know of what concerns other condo owners have and any major changes being debated by the board.

Many condo communities will host social events – from outdoor barbeques to mixers in the common areas – attend the events and get to know your neighbors. Not only will you get the “neighborhood” feel living in a condominium, but you’ll also have an ally when it comes to feeling safe.

If you’re planning to sell the condo in the near future, or use the property for rental income, stay aware of other condos for sale in your Austin building. Knowing the listing price of other condominiums will give you an idea of the price range for your property if you choose to sell.