If you’re considering the purchase of a condominium in Seattle, we’ve put together a comprehensive, objective collection of information that you can use to inform your choice and find the best possible home for your needs, budget, and lifestyle.

Our guide focuses on three primary areas of consideration for potential condo buyers, and we encourage reads to explore each aspect. These three areas are:

1.) Neighborhoods

A huge part of the condo ownership experience actually takes place outside your front door. You’ll notice immediately that owning in a neighborhood feels different than renting, even if it’s on exactly the same block. Ownership in a neighborhood fosters an immediate and powerful sense of community and identification with that neighborhood, and it’s important that you make sure you choose a community with features you value, require, or enjoy.

For example, are any of your favorite bars in the area? Where can you go for late night food, or maybe Saturday afternoon brunch? Are there any parks nearby? What about dog parks? How far will you have to go for groceries? Would you rather be next door to a library, a movie theater, or a music venue? How’s parking, are there buses going running back home after 2am, or are there frequent traffic jams?

These are all questions you should be able to answer when you’re determining which neighborhood you should buy in. This guide attempts to outline the distinctive features and advantages of each major Seattle neighborhood for condos.

2.) Finances

This is the most confusing part of condo buying for almost everyone, especially first-time buyers. We’ve broken down the majority of financial concerns for buyers into three categories: finances as related to the purchase of the condo in terms of mortgages, loans, inspection and agent fees; finances as they relate to the condo itself, such as HOA fees, “special assessments,” or the possibility of renting your condo; and finally, we’ll look at the market in terms of Seattle’s real estate trends and how to determine if you’re making a good investment or not.

Buying property is always a gamble, and anyone who tells you otherwise is sugar-coating the risk. But the goal of responsible property investment and ownership—just as within the stock market or any other investment—is to be informed, mitigate your risk, and be prepared. This guide will provide you with the basic information you need to understand the potential financial risks, rewards, and options that come with condo ownership.

3.) Community

Life in a condominium has its own set of rules and advantages. Determining if condo ownership is right for you, as opposed to renting or purchasing a single-family home, has a lot to do with determining if you’re a good fit for the community, and then determining which type of condo—from small co-ops to many-storied complexes—is right for you.

First and foremost, living in a shared housing unit means you’re part of a Homeowner’s Association, which means paying dues, attending meetings, making group decisions, and being flexible when it comes to things that effect the whole. It also means that you might enjoy an automatic community of neighbors who will band together to finance major renovations and foster a sense of community living. Owning within a condominium has its benefits, but you need to be sure you’re buying into something that’s a good fit. This guide will help you better understand HOAs, tenant rules, and the different types of condo ownership.

If you have any questions you don’t see addressed within this guide, please email us! We consider this a living document that will be constantly expanding, and because we want to provide the most comprehensive guide to buying a condo in Seattle possible, we welcome any questions from readers!

 

Neighborhood Spotlights

Finances