The Complete Guide to Purchasing a Condo, Townhouse, or Apartment: What Smart Investors Need to Know - Explained Simply


While many of the steps in buying a home are the same as buying a condominium, townhouse, or apartment, there are many critical differences. This new book offers a complete overview of these special, usually smaller, residences. These units can be good options for first-time home buyers, for those who want a vacation getaway, investors, and those who want to downsize their living space. These housing units are usually less expensive than a single family home and can include ...

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While many of the steps in buying a home are the same as buying a condominium, townhouse, or apartment, there are many critical differences. This new book offers a complete overview of these special, usually smaller, residences. These units can be good options for first-time home buyers, for those who want a vacation getaway, investors, and those who want to downsize their living space. These housing units are usually less expensive than a single family home and can include attractive amenities.

In purchasing one of these units there will be a lot of people to deal with, from realtors, condo boards, attorneys, to bankers. There is a ton of paperwork with terms and vocabulary that read like a foreign language. In this new book you will find vital information and great strategies for finding the home you want faster and feeling confident about the purchase. You will learn to avoid some of the most prevalent and potentially dangerous and expensive mistakes made by others.

The book covers the entire, unique process of buying one of these shared living houses in an easy-to-understand way, pointing out dozens of hints and suggestion as to what to look for as well as demonstrating the many mistakes common with these types of investments. You will learn how to find the best opportunities, to negotiate, finance, budget, handle pre-construction issues, set values, and make the offer. You will be able to define what you are buying (and what you are not) issues on your right to sell, lease, or mortgage. You will be prepared for restrictions pertaining to children, pets, parking, vehicles, boats, music, maintenance of windows, doors, screens, air conditioners, plumbing, club memberships, recreation facility leases, use of recreational facilities, and common areas.

In addition, you will learn the advantages of using credit reports, home warranties, insurance, creative financing, closing procedures, moving plans, closing and settlement inspections, and certain legal contracts. You will have instruction in obtaining mortgages which government agencies can help, considerations for veterans, IRA use, hiring an attorney, calculating monthly payments, and establishing an escrow account. The real estate and mortgage glossaries alone are invaluable resources, even for the old hand at property acquisition.

Atlantic Publishing is a small, independent publishing company based in Ocala, Florida. Founded over twenty years ago in the company president’s garage, Atlantic Publishing has grown to become a renowned resource for non-fiction books. Today, over 450 titles are in print covering subjects such as small business, healthy living, management, finance, careers, and real estate. Atlantic Publishing prides itself on producing award winning, high-quality manuals that give readers up-to-date, pertinent information, real-world examples, and case studies with expert advice.  Every book has resources, contact information, and web sites of the products or companies discussed.

This Atlantic Publishing eBook was professionally written, edited, fact checked, proofed and designed. The print version of this book is 288 pages and you receive exactly the same content. Over the years our books have won dozens of book awards for content, cover design and interior design including the prestigious Benjamin Franklin award for excellence in publishing. We are proud of the high quality of our books and hope you will enjoy this eBook version.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781601380364
  • Publisher: Atlantic Publishing Group Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2007
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,504,242
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Complete Guide to Purchasing a Condo, Townhouse, or Apartment: What Smart Investors Need to Know - Explained Simply

    Susan Smith Alivis makes sure that all the misconceptions about condo ownership are broken. To prove that buying a condo, townhouse or apartment is easier then one thinks. She does this in a light easy tone. This book has a great layout with a lot of useful information. She also includes some very interesting case studies provide by others in the Real Estate field. These case studies give the reader more insight in the Real Estate market.
    This book is full of practical advice that even a first time buyer can understand and use to there advantage. Alivis even goes as far as to explain that Condo ownership is not for everyone. She make sure to cover the not only the good points, but also the bad ones. One thing I found really help was the section on how to deal with Homeowners Associations. This book is excellent for first time buyers and seasoned veteran who want to down size or expand.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2008

    perfect for the shared housing occupant OR investor

    Realtor turned author Susan Smith Alvis knows how to generate a profit-- and in her latest title, 'The Complete Guide to Purchasing a Condo, Townhouse, or Apartment', she provides a no-holds-barred, handy reference aimed at maximizing your multi-family property investment dollars. Here, Alvis draws upon her considerable knowledge and 'insider's' perspective to lay bare the complexities -- from shopping to closing-- of these unique transactions utilizing a deceptively simple, straightforward tone and format while her expertise is apparent throughout each chapter, the book's major strength lies in its easy readability and common-sense advice. Another plus -- though it is primarily oriented toward the first-time investor, the author has devoted substantial material to the buyer intent on occupying a shared housing unit full-time. No consumer is excluded, and, indeed, it is a fair assertion that even the seasoned landlord will glean new and relevant information from this guide. Clearly, the work is tailored to the conscientious buyer. As such, Alvis: defines -- in a logical, step-by-step fashion -- the differences between these specialty properties illustrates: the necessary considerations based upon the buyer's goals uncovers: the challenges specific to these structures via varied scenarios and, more importantly, educates. And, in addition to her own hard-earned insights, this veteran real estate professional includes solid counsel and oft-unknown purchase tips from colleagues representing a cross-section of national markets. These tips -- all gems and presented in a fun, 'classified case study' quote context -- outline realistic scenarios designed to navigate the prospective condo, townhouse, or apartment owner through unforeseen wrinkles and avoid potential pitfalls so as to culminate in a successful sale, regardless of occupancy or investment intent. Ultimately, 'The Complete Guide to Purchasing a Condo, Townhouse, or Apartment' is an invaluable reference for the homeowner or investor considering a shared housing unit(s) acquisition.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2007

    A Complete Guide

    The author takes great pains to dispel those lingering myths about condo ownership. She does this in a light easy tone. The book has a good layout in an easy to read format. The chapters flow nicely into one another. The author has included some very interesting case studies and anecdotes provide by others in the Real Estate field. The book is full of strong practical advice. It also pulls no punches, she makes it clear that condo townhome ownership is not for everyone. She makes sure to cover not only the good points but the bad ones as well, especially in the area of Homeowners Associations-she explains their importance and how to deal with them. All of this done in an easy friendly manner with a welcome touch of humor. The book is an excellent checklist for anyone considering buying.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2008

    Location isn't everything...

    Despite all the fluctuations in the real estate market these days, buying a place of their own is still high on the list of priorities for many people. However, an increasing number of buyers are examining the advantages of shared housing space, as opposed to purchasing a house. Whether you¿re thinking about investing in a condo, townhouse or apartment for yourself or as an investment, first pick up a copy of Susan Smith Alvis¿ useful guide. Alvis offers potential homeowners a better understanding of the difference between the different types of properties, and examines the benefits and drawbacks of shared housing. While some might prefer the greater degree of privacy provided by a single-family home, the alternative offers advantages such as low maintenance and a sense of community. But, Alvis notes, real estate professionals always say, ¿Location, location, location,¿ for a good reason. Whether you¿re buying a condo, townhouse or apartment as a place to live or as a rental property, bear in mind that it is important to ask questions such as: Why is the property for sale? How many bedrooms and bathrooms does the place have? Is it close to schools, work, and shopping? In addition to explaining important documents such as disclosure, and insurance forms, Alvis closes her book with an extensive glossary of property-related terms that are clearly defined. She also includes a financial table that will allow potential homeowners to calculate their monthly payments. So, before you buy, first invest in a copy of Alvis¿ valuable guide. She¿ll help you get the best value for your money.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2008

    A jewel of a find!

    You would be surprised at the differences between purchasing a house and opting for a condo, apartment or townhouse! This guide totally demystifies the documents and the process, laying bare the restrictions (the plusses too!) associated with shared living. My own changing lifestyle necessitated a move from a house with all its trappings, to a townhouse complex, and at first my misgivings left me with an air of uncertainty as to what to expect. The invaluable information I found in this handy manual took me step by step through the process, covering areas I am sure would have been overlooked. Those important documents including clauses relating to disclosure statements and warranties, options and ordinances, became a lot less threatening after my virtual tour of the entire process through this exhaustive guide. I even found to my utter delight, a full amortization table based on 30 years, a glossary that simplified much of the industry terminology, sample condominium rules and regulations, and last but not least, a questionnaire that prompted me to think of issues which may have later resulted in pesky little problems! The Complete Guide was for me, a jewel of a find!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2007

    ideal for people who have never bought a condo

    This book is ideal for people who have never bought a condo, townhouse, or apartment. Each type of property is defined, and myths about different properties are dispelled. The ideas are explained in straightforward language. It¿s full of useful caveats that revolve around such topics as upcoming assessments, homeowner¿s boards, restrictions, types of neighbors, and amenities. Quite a bit of the book is dedicated to discussion on the pros and cons of shared housing. There are also discussions on home warranties, subleases, lease options, and vacation homes. In the back are a glossary, appendices with checklists, and an index, so the book can serve as a resource for later use. The amortization schedules in appendix probably aren¿t necessary because you can find this information online, but it doesn¿t hurt to have them there because they¿re in an appendix, not in the text.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2007

    Highly Recommended

    Buying a home is a serious investment, and more and more people are turning to shared housing. 'The Complete Guide to Purchasing a Condo, Townhouse, or Apartment' provides the know-how you need to approach shared housing responsibly. Perhaps the best thing about this book, besides its thorough analysis of the subject matter, is its style. Alvis writes as a friend who is there to look after your interests. You even get the feeling she¿d like to hear from you, to see how your investment turned out. Alvis warns, ¿be sure you know what you are buying!¿ This might sound obvious, but unless you¿re thoroughly familiar with the details of shared housing, you could be surprised. Alvis admirably lays out those details in an easy-to-read and enjoyable format. Her book is full of useful tips on all aspects of shared housing, including buying and maintaining your shared housing, as well as enjoying your communal living experience. There¿s even a highly informative chapter on vacation getaways. The detailed discussion of lease options will prove useful to first-time buyers, while the shared housing questionnaire will be useful to anyone willing to take shared housing seriously. If you are considering shared housing, this book is sure to help focus and direct you towards the right decisions.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2007

    A reviewer

    As the baby boomer generation ages, more and more retired couples will be looking to sell their houses and make the move into a condominium or town home. This book focuses on the ¿shared housing¿ market (ie, condo, town home, apartment, co-op) and why it can be a great choice for retirees, busy professionals or young families, as well as an excellent investment tool for those looking to expand their portfolios. Susan Smith Alvis has a considerable background in real estate and the shared housing arena and she puts her knowledge and experience to good use in this very informative and readable book. Touching on the simple (the difference between a condo and a town home) and the more complex (how an investor can find a niche market in apartment or condo real estate), she covers both the advantages and disadvantages of shared housing. Benefits of purchasing a shared housing unit include, for instance, having a swimming pool, waterfront view or exceptional location which may not be available or affordable with a standard home. However, Alvis also realistically addresses some of the sticking points shared housing brings and that should be taken into consideration by potential buyers. She stresses the importance of researching the homeowners¿ association in the building, the board of directors and any condo fees, dues and special assessments that may regularly impact owners. She advocates potential buyers to do their homework before buying and provides plenty of avenues to explore to get accurate information before making a decision. As well, the book is quite up front about the ¿culture shock¿ of shared housing and what to expect during your first few months in a unit. Concerning the actual purchase of a shared housing unit, the book guides you through the steps of viewing properties and negotiating a good deal with the seller or developer. Alvis also details creative financing methods (she has written another book specifically on this topic and I would advise anyone that is looking to finance outside of a conventional loan to read it) and encourages those who are not 100% certain of shared housing to try renting or lease-purchase options first. While Alvis is certainly pro-shared housing, she does emphasize that it is not the perfect option for everyone A notable aspect of this book is that it gives equal attention to those looking to purchase shared housing as a primary residence as well as those who might be purchasing units or buildings as an investment. An interesting idea that Alvis also brings up is purchasing a shared housing unit as a vacation get away ¿ whether for yourself or for renting out to other vacationers. Again, with shared housing, you get a lot of bang for your buck with locations and amenities that are attractive and much more affordable than you would get with a conventional home. Alvis¿ comprehensive indexes include a checklist for going through complexes and units in preparation for buying, good locations to invest in for vacation rentals, sample association bylaws, a sample engineering/inspection report and financial charts with amortizations tables to help you determine how much you can afford (including those easily forgotten condo fees!). The very broad glossary is useful for anyone involved in real estate (not just shared housing), even for those who just want to sign those papers and move into their new home! Overall, this book is definitely a resource you should have if you are even remotely considering purchasing some type of shared housing. It is comprehensive, easy to read, balanced and full of tips and tricks. On a side note, a portion of the proceeds of this book are being donated to the Humane Society of the United States in memory of the publisher¿s ¿vice president of sunshine¿ so when you purchase this book, you can feel doubly good about it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2007

    A Good Guide for the New Homebuyer

    The Complete Guide To Purchasing A Condo, Townhouse, Or Apartment What Smart Investors Need To Know¿Explained Simply Susan Smith Alvis This book is a good guide to the absolute beginner learning about real estate. Recent college graduates, young families, and those looking to downsize from a larger home will find helpful basic information. In addition, those who are thinking about buying condos as investment or vacation properties will also find direction in this book. Covering all aspects of homebuying from the initial analysis of home needs through the ongoing relationship with the homeowners association, this book comprehensively addresses all aspects of shared residence living. Tips and case studies from investors and realtors sprinkle the book with real-world advice. Some helpful ideas: ¿Drive by your property at different times of day to see whether the activity level fits your lifestyle¿ ¿Buy a two-bedroom even if you only need one, since this will be easier to sell in the future.¿ Information about how to set boundaries with new neighbors and how to represent yourself on the association board is particularly helpful in establishing someone in a new home. Alvis has organized her book into chapters that lead the buyer or investor through the process. Though some chapters could have been combined, leading to less repetition in ideas, information is easy to find. One wonderful bonus is the Appendices offering useful tools, payment calculators, sample homeowner¿s and legal documents, and the like. Alvis¿s writing style and anecdotes help the ideas to flow. Much of this information will be familiar to people who have already owned a home, but the new investor will find this guide to be helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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