Are you looking to invest in a condo in Washington, DC? With property prices on the rise, you need to act quickly. Luckily, with new apartments and historic buildings available, it has never been easier to make the right choice.
One great option is a condo. They can be bought at great prices in excellent locations, and are a sound investment. Below, we give our must-know guide to buying condominiums in DC.
Finding a Condo in DC
The housing market in DC has grown dramatically over the last 10 years. In fact, house prices are now at the highest levels the city has ever seen. Historic properties are being renovated, and luxury condos in Washington, DC are being built to supply the demand.
The area to invest in depends upon what you hope to get and achieve from the condo. If you are looking to make a profit in the long term, then look to areas that have appreciation potential. This may be due to new commercial developments, sports attractions, etc.
You should always consider access to other parts of the city, either through Metro or the many throughways in and out of DC. This is essential so that people can commute to work, schools, and shopping places. You can, of course, buy places already close to these hubs, but you can expect the price to be higher.
Try to avoid anywhere that is too modern and niche. While you may pay up for something that is unique, you will find it may not age well and be hard to sell or rent out in the future.
If necessary, making small cosmetic changes won’t be a lot of work and may have great ROI in the future. But once you start having to replace dated flooring, tile, and larger fixtures, you will spend a lot more.
Specific Rules for Condominiums in DC
Washington, DC condos are governed under the very specific DC Condo Act. The act gives buyers the right to view documents provided by the association and any resale certifications. The buyer has a limited amount of time to review the documents after they receive them.
This gives buyers the option of rescinding from a condo sale or cooperative purchase, should they find the rules and regulations of the association do not suit them. It is in place to protect the buyer.
For new condos, a buyer has the same opportunity to review the existing association documents (called the Public Offering Statement), for which they have a 15 day right of rescission. For resale condos, buyers are afforded 3 business days following the day they received the Resale Package.
Condo Document Packages
Once you get a Washington, DC condo under contract, you have a limited time to review the documents, as specified above. You need to look over these very carefully and make sure you understand them fully. You should be sure to discuss this with an agent beforehand, so they can eliminate properties not suitable from the search.
A condo document should be extensive. It should include information regarding current finances and any reserve funds, along with the associated fees broken down. Any covenants, conditions, and restrictions, along with building guidelines and bylaws, should also be included.
The document should clearly state occupation limitations and may include information on the keeping of pets. It will state insurance coverage requirements, and let you know if it is included in the association fee or if you have to arrange your own. It will also have a certification of filing for the association’s annual report.
Finally, one of the most important aspects to check on the document is any current legal proceedings going on, or ones that have taken place. This can include a record of pending legal action against the association and statements of any unpaid, upcoming assessments.
Tips for Living in a DC Condo
There are a lot of basic rules that many people overlook when buying or living in condos in Washington, DC. With so many important regulations, financial transactions, and business deals going on, it can be hard to take notice of the little things.
One thing to consider is how you do laundry in the condo. Some properties will have a washer or dryer in the unit itself. Others may require you to take your laundry to a common area.
Next, check the noise levels in your condo. Does the unit face a busy road or pedestrian area? Are there bars open late into the night that you may hear from your room?
Add to this the fact that you may have noise from within the condo itself. Check whether the unit is close to trash chutes, laundry rooms, elevators, and parking garage doors. If you are, make sure the noise is not so loud that it will disturb your peace and quiet.
Finally, check that you are on good terms with your neighbors, and make sure they are people you would not mind living next to. Condos can have thin walls and small living spaces. You will be sharing elevators, hallways, and common rooms, so it helps if you have people around that you know and trust.
If you need assistance when buying condominiums in DC, then reach out to one of our expert agents, Ellie Mix Yehl.
ClearCondos should be your first stop. We have in-depth information on all the top condos in DC, and a handy blog to help you make decisions. Contact us and let us help you get your start investing in DC property today!