What is a Condo?
The word, “condominiums” simply defines owned or rented properties, which are part of a larger complex of similar properties owned or rented in the same manner by others. Typically, condo owners hold a real estate deed giving them ownership of the inside walls, ceilings, and floors, of their properties and the space therein. And they jointly own (as shareholders) common areas, such as the swimming pool, hallways, and corridors of the facility’s total properties. Properties with this type of joint ownership are known as common interest developments or CIDs.
Condo owners collectively make decisions that determine maintenance, capital improvements, and even things like where and perhaps when you can walk your dog on the jointly owned properties. And while real estate laws vary state to state, in general, most condominiums are run in much the same way as a Board of Directors governs a successful business.
Instead of this being restrictive, owners of condominium properties usually find this protects them from living in a neighborhood where Bill and Sue next door paint their home fuchsia and fly the flags of all fifty states from an oversized light post they have erected on the front lawn.
Now, what the word condo does NOT mean is small, cramped, mediocre, or second-rate. In fact, condominiums can be, and often are luxury residential real estate properties. And not only are condos luxurious, but they are frequently located in highly desirable venues, like vacation condos in Maui, the ski slopes of Aspen, or beachfront condos in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Florida.
Condos Vs. Timeshares
Condominiums in such beautiful vacation destinations may be used as rentals for parts or all of a year. Some condominiums were built solely for use as vacation condos. Other properties have been converted from exclusive use by private owners to rentals or fractional ownership real estate, often under the direction of a property management company, rather than the property owners themselves.
As part of your homework before you actually start shopping condos for sale, you need to understand that condominiums are not timeshares. Even properties built exclusively to be vacation condos are different from timeshare resort properties. Luxury residential condos, as well as beachfront condos and other types of vacation condos, are almost always larger than timeshare resort properties. After all, many condominiums, (even though used as rentals) initially were built to accommodate the needs of year-round occupants.
Buying, selling, and rentals of condominiums, especially luxury residential properties with amenities like an on-site concierge, are much more complex processes than those you will experience when you buy a timeshare, timeshare resales, or book timeshare rentals.
Timeshare resales or timeshare rentals transactions can be conducted confidently without the need to hire a real estate attorney or broker. Nor is it necessary to pay for a title search. Most importantly, when you buy a timeshare, you don’t have to sign your life away with a jumbo mortgage.
With timeshares, you are only paying for the time you are actually using and enjoying your piece of vacation real estate, even though you own your timeshare as deeded property. And while timeshare or timeshare resales may be slightly smaller (on average 13%) than comparable condos, timeshares are more spacious than hotel rooms. You’ll have plenty of room for comfortably relaxing and enjoying your holiday or vacation.
Here are key points to remember when you are looking at all those beautiful condos for sale:
- Don’t go into any condominium transaction without the advice of a real estate attorney.
- Don’t submit your offer to buy until you have read and are comfortable with the association guidelines that govern the property.
- And most importantly, don’t buy a condo, until you have comparison shopped what you would be getting if you were to buy a timeshare or timeshare resales instead.