From River Park Lofts in Lowertown to the Rowhouses at Snelling in Highland Park to Ramsey Terrace in Summit-University, St. Paul has some amazing condos, lofts and townhomes for sale.
Buying one, however, is a bit different from the single-family home purchase – the process has a few more steps and, unfortunately, a few more areas where you may run into a problem. We’ve come up with the three most important things to consider when you decide it’s a St. Paul condo that you want.
1. The Loan
The FHA loan is probably one of the most popular loan products on the market today. FHA, however, has stringent qualifications when it comes to buying a condo, loft or townhome.
First, lenders won’t loan on a condo that is in a community that isn’t approved by FHA. You can check HUD’s website to ensure that the St. Paul condo you want to buy is on the approved list. If it’s not on the list, expect a smaller pool of potential buyers when it comes time to sell the home.
Buying in an FHA-approved community is important even if you don’t use an FHA loan because these communities are typically better managed than non-approved communities.
2. Choosing an Agent
Too many agents don’t take the time to discern the differences in the condo/single-family home purchase process. Many don’t deal with condos very often so aren’t aware of the various ways to ensure their clients get the best deal. When it comes time to interview a real estate agent to assist you in the purchase, ask the hard questions:
Does this agent understand that the various locations within a complex have a bearing on future value? After all, you will most likely sell the unit down the line – make sure you purchase a condo in the right part of the building to ensure maximum value.
How familiar is the agent with Homeowner Association documents? This pile of paperwork tells you all there is to know about the HOA’s finances, whether there is litigation on the property and current issues homeowners are dealing with.
Ask the agent about possible future development in the area. Depending on what the city has in store, the value of your future home can be impacted either positively or negatively.
3. Hire an Attorney
Whether it’s a condo, loft, townhome or single-family home, if it’s in a managed community it is crucial that you hire a real estate attorney to go over the HOA docs with or for you. Even if you hire him or her for an hour or two, it is money well-spent. Some of the documents you’ll be given contain legal jargon and complicated financial information and, since is imperative that you understand every single word on every single page before saying yes to the purchase, you may need help deciphering the documents.
Currently there are 137 lofts, townhomes or condos for sale in St. Paul, ranging in price from $40,000 in Mac-Groveland to $1,150,000 at The Airye in Lowertown.