If you’re looking for home-buying information, you’ve come to the right place. One of the first questions in deciding to buy a home is house or condo? If you’re leaning toward a condo, read on. Here are five important topics to discuss with your real estate agent before beginning your home buying search:

1) What You Can’t Live Without
If your version of the American Dream doesn’t include mowing the lawn, a condo might be a great choice. If you can’t live without your own backyard, a big garage, or plenty of space between you and your neighbors, your needs may be better suited to a detached single-family residence. However, if the idea of a condo sounds right, talk to your real estate agent about other important aspects of your future home. For example, a gourmet cook might seek out a well-designed kitchen. Someone who works from home might need dedicated space for a home office. Additionally, there are decisions specific to condo living which you will need to think about. What types of association amenities are you looking for? These can include pools, covered parking, clubhouses, and 24-hour security. Do you have a pet? Some condo associations have restrictions regarding pet ownership or even such things as having outdoor barbecues. Be sure to include all aspects of your home buying requirements in the information you provide to your real estate agent.

2) Schools and Family Needs
The quality of school systems has long been important information for home-buying families. If you have children or are thinking about having children in your new condo, you’ll want to discuss school information and statistics with your real estate agent. Not only is it important to consider the location of your condo relative to area schools, but you’ll also want to think about the quality and diversity of local school offerings. Your real estate agent can provide both public and private school information for all the neighborhoods in which you’re considering buying a condo.

3) Commuting
For many condo-owners, commuting from home to work and back is a necessary evil. Some people feel that a long commute can detract from their quality of life and the time they get to spend at home.. And today, this phenomenon can apply even on our laid-back islands. If having little or no commute to work is important to you, convey this to your real estate agent.

4) Community Details
Whether you hope to buy a condo in a vibrant urban neighborhood or a charming rural town, the demographics, details and community statistics of a particular area are almost as important a consideration when buying a home as the details of the house itself. Even more significant in a condo-living situation is information about your condominium’s own community. Are most of the residents retirees? Young single people? The community information and statistics of both your condominium and the town or city in which it is located are crucial factors in your home-buying decision.

5) Budget and Condo Fees
For some, the decision to purchase a condo is based primarily on the convenience a condo lifestyle offers. For most people however, the most rigid constraint of home-buying and the central reason for choosing a condo is the buyer’s budget. While condos are generally less expensive than houses, a buyer should be aware of additional costs, like HOA dues. Be sure to research the condo association’s dues and exactly what those dues include. It’s a good idea to check out a one-year utility history for the unit you’re interested in, as well. These costs – both the maintenance fees and utility costs – can be quite high in our Caribbean Island condo complexes.