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Burns & Hansen, PA

How is owning a condo different than owning a single family home?

When a Minneapolis resident is faced with deciding which residential property he wants to buy, he has a lot of decisions to make. He must establish his budget and must prioritize features that he wants in his new abode. He may select neighborhoods where he would prefer to buy, and he may look into crime rates, school reputations and other factors before settling on a residence. Another consideration that buyer may make is if he wants a free standing home or one in a multiunit dwelling. The differences between owning acondo and a single family home can be significant in terms of what the property owner may and may not do with the structure.

Like single family homes, condos are usually sold individually. This means that when a condo is put up for sale, it is only the single unit that a buyer acquires. Unlike buying a single family home, however, a condo owner does not have rights to make changes to the exterior of his property or the land on which it sits.

For example, when a person owns a single family home he generally owns the structure of the house as well as the land on which it is built. This is not the case for most condo purchases. A condo owner may only own the interior space of his residence, rights to use the interior walls, and rights to use common spaces for all condominium residents. Generally, condo owners may not make modifications to exterior structures, landscaping or other non-interior features as doing so can impact the values of other condo owners' properties.

Decisions about building exteriors, common space use and other condo matters are made by a condominium association. Individual condo structures form their own associations, and buying a particular condo unit may obligate a new owner to join and pay dues to an association. Condo dues can vary and may impact how much money a buyer is able to commit to a mortgage and therefore how much he can spend on a new home.

There are plusses and minuses to buying single family homes and condos. Buyers simply must make the choices that best serve their needs. When it comes time to buy, however, many individuals utilize the services of real estate attorneys. Individuals who work in the residential real estate legal field can assist their clients with contract negotiations and preparing purchase agreements that are fair and accurate.

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8401 Wayzata Blvd Suite 300
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