You have decided to downsize from a large home which has become too much to maintain or you simply have way more room than you need, and you are thinking of buying a condo in Los Angeles. You may be a local and know the layout of the land or you may be moving here from out of town or out of state.
Here are some things you may want to consider when choosing your ideal condo:
Are you O.K. with an older building that has been well maintained? If so, and this may also apply to newer buildings, you may be used to high ceilings in your home and you will find the standard eight foot ceilings in many of the older buildings. Some homeowners have raised the ceilings in the units, so this is something to look out for if ceiling height is important to you.
What exposure do you want? If you like a lot of sunlight you will probably want to look at an east or west facing unit, and a corner unit is even better. You should make sure that there is not an adjacent building or city trees blocking the light.
If noise is a factor you will need to check out the traffic on the street. If it is a front-facing unit and the street is not a popular through street then maybe a front facing unit may work. Certainly in buildings on main drags like the Wilshire Corridor condos you will not want to be facing the front unless you are high up. The back units are going to be much quieter. By the same token, if you are sensitive to noise make sure you are not going to be buying a unit with excessive neighbor noise. This is something the sellers would need to disclose, but you should definitely ask.
You are probably not going to be moving from a 4,000 square foot house to the same sized condo, so you should choose a condo where the layout may work to give you the impression of a larger space.
What kind of amenities do you want? Be aware that the more there are the higher the homeowners dues are going to be. If you never use the pool, gym or other facilities do you really want to be paying those high HOAs?
How many parking spaces do you need? If you only need a one-bedroom you will probably only get one parking space, so if you have two cars you will either have to see if someone is willing to rent or deed you an extra parking space. Also, if you have a lot of guests make sure there is going to be enough parking spaces for them, either with guest parking in the building or easy street parking. You will be able to buy guest permits for restricted streets, but make sure you are comfortable with that. Full service buildings usually provide valet parking for guests at no charge.
Not all units have laundry facilities in the unit, so if this is important to you make sure there is at least a hook-up in the unit or the ability to add one.
You may have two or more dogs. Check the rules. Some buildings may have a one pet per unit policy or a size or breed restriction.
You may not be able to climb stairs. Check that you can access the building without having to climb any, at the very least through the garage, and of course you don’t want to be on the second or third floor of a building without an elevator.
And if a view is important to you look around and check to see if the building next door looks like it might be coming down soon or if there is any current construction that is going to block that view. There is never a guarantee that construction in the area is not going to happen, but you don’t want to start off losing your view right away.
These days a lot of buildings are restricting the ability to lease out units, usually for the first one or two years and then you go on a wait list. And Airbnb is out of the question. If it is your intention to at some point lease out your unit then check the rules.
These are just a few things to consider when buying a condo, especially when you are downsizing, because you have been used to a certain standard for many years. If you choose well, then you are going to be very happy in your new condo which you can lock up and leave when you go away without a worry.
Read 5 things you should not compromise on when buying a condo.
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