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Items to Review When Buying a New Condo

Rendering of Sidewalk by a New Condo Project in Honolulu
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If you are considering purchasing a new condo – yet to be built – there are several aspects to analyze and evaluate that does not apply to existing condos.

Depending on the project, specific unit, location, developer etc there will be a variety of questions unique to such particular situation. However, the list we have compiled in the below should serve as a good starting point of items to keep in mind when doing your research.

LIVING & BEDROOMS
Ceiling: Height can vary depending on AC duct location and sprinkler piping. Request a floor plan showing the location of dropped ceilings and verify the net ceiling height for all rooms.
Flooring: Carpet, wood or a combination (engineered wood, laminate or something else).
Lights: Where are lights located and are there junction boxes in ceilings, switched wall outlets or both.

KITCHEN
Size, counter length, brand, materials, lights and does the exhaust fan vent to the outside or re-circulate.

BATHROOMS
Vanity: Single or double.
Shower: Shower stall or soaking bathtub with glass partition or shower rod.
Toilets: Electric outlets nearby (easy to install washlet).
Flooring: Tile or something else.
Exhaust Fan: Separate switch or switched together with light switch.

WASHER & DRYER
Stacked or side by side, does dryer vent to the outside and if part of a laundry room is there space for shelves.

AIR CONDITIONING
Central AC: How many zones and vents.
Split or Window AC: How many units.

PARKING
Your Parking Stalls: Number of stalls and location (near elevator, tandem, side by side,  different floors, regular size, compact size, storage room next to stall etc).
Guest Parking Stalls: Number of stalls and where will they be located.
Commercial Parking Stalls: Number of stalls and where will they be located.
Parking Garage: Where is access to garage, is it near a busy street, can garage be accessed from different street directions and upon entering the garage what is driving route to access your stalls. How is the garage secured: Roll-down gate or a simple gate arm that does not prevent pedestrian access. Are there charging stations for electric cars.

WINDOWS
How many windows can open, how do the windows open and any tinting for the sun.

STORAGE
Included with sale or any storage available for sale now or at some future point.

NOISE FACTORS
Is unit near elevators, trash chute or other common elements where other residents might pass by. Any potential noise issues from busy streets, bus stops, rail, bars, restaurants, construction sites etc.

COMMERCIAL
Any commercial space part of the project, where will it be located, what type of tenants are expected and any tenants confirmed.

VIEW
View Channels: Can views be obstructed or impacted in future. If yes, when is it reasonable to expect views may change.
View Rendering: Confirm what rendering is based on (drone went to exact location of your unit etc).
Sun: Southeast may be cooler with morning sun, whereas southwest may be hotter in the afternoon, but may have potential for seeing sunsets.

MAINTENANCE FEES
Total monthly $ figure, $ per square foot, what does the maintenance fees include and are there any additional costs.

PAYMENT STRUCTURE
Upfront $ payment, other $ installments & closing $ amount and dates these amounts are due.

PROPERTY TAXES
Understand why new construction frequently comes with lower tax bills, what is a reasonably expected long-term tax bill and how the tax bill may differ whether you claim the homeowner’s exemption (primary residence) or not.

FINANCING
When can you lock in the mortgage interest rate, what does it cost to lock in rate early and calculate your monthly mortgage payment under a worst-case scenario with a significant rate increase.

LOCATION
Neighborhood: From the anticipated location walk or drive to areas of interest to get a sense for the distances and the area.
Development Plans: Any other condos, groceries, restaurants etc planned for the neighborhood.

POLICIES
Rental: A developer may sets a minimum rental term to X days, but after the project completion the AOAO (association of apartment owners) may amend such minimum rental term.
Pets: A developer may make a pet policy that allows for X pets each weighting Y lbs, but after the project completion the AOAO may amend the pet rules.

MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT
Is the interior square footage of units in the same stack identical throughout the project (from lowest to highest floor).
Total number of units, number of units per floor, number of elevators and will there be a dedicated service elevator.
When did sales begin, how many units have contracted, what units have contracted and when is the anticipated completion date.
Will the project have a Resident Manager (as opposed to a General Manager) and will there be security 24 / 7.
Does the showroom model reflect the correct room dimensions.
Will there be bike and surfboard storage areas.
Where is entry to the main lobby.
What is the big selling point(s) about this project.

Any comments or questions? We would be happy to hear from you in the comments section below.

Items to Review When Buying a New Condo was last modified: February 20th, 2017 by Kristian Nielsen

Kristian Nielsen

Founder (RA)
Hawaii Living

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