In planned unit developments (PUDs), you can find almost any combination. In condos and other such communities, make sure the rules and regulations, as well as the by-laws, match your lifestyle. This type of housing is great for people who want to own their own space without being responsible for mowing the lawn or repairing the roof; a management company handles that.
On the other hand, you'll pay fees for these services. "In addition to checking the documents and financial soundness of the homeowner's association, you must determine if the monthly fees are worth the services and additional amenities such as a swimming pool or exercise room," Parrish explains.
Affordability can be a factor not only in the type of housing, but whether it's new or an existing home. Old houses often have fine woodwork or interesting nooks and crannies not normally found in new homes. They generally sit on landscaped lots with mature trees and grown bushes.
New homes may cost more, but you can make many more decisions on amenities, colors, carpeting and fixtures. "Make sure you're dealing with a reputable builder, and have an attorney review all documents, Parrish says.
Selecting a real estate professional is an important first step in beginning your search. "Ask for personal recommendations to find an individual who is knowledgeable about the neighborhood and has access to the local Multiple Listing Service," Parrish says. Make sure you feel confident about his or her knowledge and skills, and understand the business relationship that you have established between you.
Julie L. Parrish is one of more than 32,000 members of the Real Estate BUYER'S AGENT Council (REBAC) of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, who have attained the ABR®, Accredited Buyer Representative, designation. As the world's largest association of real estate professionals focusing specifically on representing the real estate buyer, REBAC is "The Voice for Buyer Representation," with more than 44,000 active real estate professional members of the organization throughout the world.
Julie Parrish, REALTOR®, ABR®, e-PRO®, GRI® Certified