Buying a Condo near Notre Dame.
What’s the Difference?
Condo: Most Condo owners only own the interior of their unit, or “walls in”. All other areas, including the building exterior, roof, lawn & common areas, are property of the Homeowners Association (HOA) and maintained by them.
Townhome / Villa: In most Townhome and Villa communities, owners own their unit’s interior and exterior, including the roof, lawn & driveway, but not the common areas. A townhome will most likely share walls with another unit like Row-Homes whereas a Villa can be detached similar to a single-family home.
What’s your Use?
This is a specialty market that sees owners use them as a Primary Residence or Secondary Residence. Your use will determine the areas and HOA (Home Owners Association) restrictions that will suit your needs.
As a Primary Residence, you’ll be most concerned with the upfront cost, the amount and frequency of dues, what’s restricted, and what’s covered by those dues. Items covered in your dues should include services like Lawn Maintenance, Snow Removal, and Common Area upkeep. Items that can add to your dues could include things like a Community Clubhouse and/or Pool, additional Street Lighting, coverage of exterior maintenance such as doors/siding/windows, or some sort of sports membership such as Golf/Tennis.
It’s key to take a look at your wants and needs and find the community(s) that suit those needs. I’ve worked the Notre Dame housing market for over 15 years and will put my knowledge of this market to work for you.
As a Secondary Residence, you’ll still be focused on upfront cost but from there, things change dramatically.
It’s a given that Snow Removal and Lawn Maintenance will be covered, but if you’re not living here full time it’s imperative you know what else is covered. Some of the more established HOA’s will include some utilities in your dues such as Water/Sewer or Trash Service. I’ve seen it go as far as to include Basic Cable and Natural Gas!
Do you need some of the luxuries? Some complexes have a pool or tennis courts, a luxury you probably don’t need if you’re only here part-time. Perhaps a lower HOA amount could put you into a higher price range that accommodates a better experience! Let’s look at the total monthly output, not just unit cost.
Do you have a fuzzy critter? Some HOA’s restrict pets, either by size/type or prohibit them altogether. Pets are family, let’s make sure you can bring them with you!
Looking at ways to offset the cost? Most of the HOA’s now restrict renting in an effort to preserve overall complex value. Restrictions can include the term of the lease, type of lease, or inability to lease at all. Let’s look at your overall plan and determine which areas will work for you!
Notre Dame Condos and Townhomes-
For you Notre Dame Buyers… Take everything written in the Secondary Residence section and add a Lack of Inventory and Residency Restrictions. Some Homes and Condos cannot be purchased as a Second Home in South Bend. You should work with a Realtor that is aware of these properties!
As of 2020, New Construction has slowed and units are not readily available. When you create an account here at ND-Condos.com you’ll receive updates when new listings become available. As an added bonus, my years of working in this market often give me a “heads up” when new listings will be coming on the market. When I know, you’ll know!
Distance is a factor, I know many of you cannot get here quick enough to submit an offer. Most of these new listings sell the first day leaving you no time to arrange travel. While writing an offer sight-unseen is not always the best option, sometimes it’s the only option. No problem, you won’t be relying solely on the Photographers version of what’s for sale! It’s a digital age and we’ll be prepared. I will request a showing on your behalf and do a video tour with you via FaceTime or Facebook Messenger. If this still isn’t a viable option, I’ll record a video tour and send it to you. Either way, it’s important to me that you know what you’re purchasing!
Some of you are looking at a property to rent to Notre Dame or Saint Mary’s Students. Some recent residency restrictions have affected this market but it’s still a strong one. Contact me for a list of Complex’s that allow Student Rentals.