Before you put in an offer on any condo, you need to understand a the particulars of the project and what it means to own and live in a condo in San Francisco. Contact us for a complete analysis of any condo you are considering purchasing, because each one has to be assessed on its own. Here’s what you need to consider when buying a condo in San Francisco:
- Benefits of Condo Ownership: With a condo you are generally only responsible for maintenance and repairs of your unit (see note on smaller buildings below), which means you have more time. If you are new in town buying into a condo community also often presents opportunities to meet new people. If you are older and have difficulty with stairs, an elevator building can make life easier than a home which almost always has some steps, especially in urban environments.
- HOA (Homeowners Association) Dues/what they cover: All buildings are different so you should review all the HOA documents in your disclosure package before buying to be certain what your HOA dues cover, but generally speaking they cover water, garbage, parking in some cases, & building insurance, but you will need your own contents(HO6) policy to cover your belongings. In amenity buildings you get more services but you will pay handsomely for them.
- Large Buildings vs Small Buildings: Generally speaking, the larger buildings will offer many more services and amenities than smaller ones. Some of those that may be included are elevators, concierge service, pool, gym, parking, & security, but with those amenities come much higher monthly dues. Larger buildings also often have many similar floor plans, so resale can be harder with competing similar units, and your resale price can be dictated by what others do in your building. Smaller buildings are generally looked at as more charming and the monthly dues are generally much lower, but they won’t have the amenities and generally have much lower reserves so special assessments for major repairs like roof replacement are much more common. With smaller buildings often comes more involvement in the maintenance and repairs of the building, so choose according to your lifestyle and budget.
- Repairs/Reserve Funds: In most condo buildings (except very small ones) a portion of your monthly HOA dues goes toward increasing reserve funds for repairs. Your disclosure package will tell you where a particular building stands so you can evaluate the likelihood of a special assessment.
- Inspections: Although having inspections is more important in single family homes, a condo inspection can let you know if there are any issues with your unit, and in smaller buildings if there are any issues in common areas. We always advise to have inspections before purchasing any property.
- Rent Control: If you are living in San Francisco and your building was constructed before June 1979 your condo will be under rent control. This means that you will only be able to raise your rent by a very small amount set out by the city of San Francisco each year and there are required steps to regaining possession of the property.
There are many other things to consider when buying a condo in San Francisco, but whether buying a condo, single family home, loft, TIC, or investment property, we will make sure that the process is as seamless and stress free as possible. King Realty Group will ensure that you are fully informed about what you are buying so there are no surprises later, and we will negotiate the best price possible.