5 Factors to Consider When Choosing A Condo Unit

Due to the rapid urbanization, a lot of countries and states have developed and maximized the use of their lands to accommodate not only the need for infrastructure development to support its economy but also to supply its’ population with decent and quality housing. Since there are small countries which cannot afford to give their people with their own individual lands to build their houses, high-rise developments such as condominiums, hotels, apartments and real estate became the answer. There can be several factors to take into consideration when choosing a condominium.

Location

Choosing a condo is akin to starting a business. Location is very important whether you are single or you have a family. The place should be, as much as possible, strategically located. The proximity of the place from where you work should be given consideration. Remember that one of the reasons why you are buying your own place. And that is all because you want convenience. Should it be accessible through major roads and thoroughfares? Is it near schools, hospitals and other major business establishments? Its nearness to major public amenities does not only satisfy your physical needs but also determines the true value of the assets you are acquiring. When you are buying a condominium you are not just buying a place to live in, you are buying an investment!

Type of Unit

You are buying a real estate property that should conform to your personal need, capacity and character. There are several real estate companies that offer a variety of units in a single development. You can get a unit in a condominium that has 1, 2, 3 or even 4 rooms depending on your need. If you thrive in class and luxury, you can get a penthouse which is located in the highest part of the condo building. The important thing is that you get a unit that will make you feel happy and satisfied.

Amenities

City living is all about convenience. You want to buy a place that will give you not only what you want but will also make your life easier. We are not talking here of standard facilities like elevators, laundry rooms and the likes. We mean the extras like recreational and sporting facilities. Sometimes when you get home after a hard day’s work and you feel like doing something else outside your unit, it would be nice if you can do it without leaving the building. If you are a fitness buff, then a condominium with a gym will be a suitable choice. If you are tired and you don’t want to cook, then a place that has restaurants or cafes would be perfect. Condo buildings that offer little extras like these make them great choices.

Developer

Getting to know the developer is very vital in choosing a condominium property. Generally, units in a condominium building are pre-sold, that is, they sell the units while the construction is in progress. If you are buying a unit that is not yet finished, make a study on the track record and reputation of the developer. It is always best to consider companies that have excellent previous records in condominium development. You wouldn’t want to be left out in the cold trying to get your money back in case the building construction comes into a halt. There are associations of real estate companies which can help you check the track record of a developer of a condominium.

Cost

Cost covers everything that has to do with the money that you will spend in your condominium. The buying price of the unit should be reasonable enough and within your capacity. Check out for other charges not stated in the price showed to you by the developer. Be sure that the company is straight with you about the price of the unit you intend to buy. Get to know other expenses that may come up when you decide to start living in your condo. Inquire about association dues and other pertinent information regarding the maintenance costs.

How to Build Your Own Home – Lesson 2 – The Building Lot – Part I

Because it’s easier to find or design a house plan for a given lot rather than find a lot that suits a specific house plan, I recommend you buy your land first, before you acquire any plans.

A. Where You Need To Look For Land

Once you know the size home you’re going to build, you have an idea of where you should be looking for land. You want to build your home in an area where homes are of comparable size and value. In rural areas you will see all kinds of weird stuff. You’ll see a $600,000 home next to a $60,000 home or a mobile home next to an estate. As you get closer to a city or metropolitan area, you’re going to be regulated by zoning laws and/or covenants in a subdivision. These zoning laws and covenants will normally dictate the minimum size home you can build. Even in areas with no zoning requirements, the price of the land will determine the size home you will build. For example, you wouldn’t build a $50,000 home on a $200,000.00 lot. You could, but that wouldn’t be financially wise.

Note About The Appraised Value: If you are building a home for resale, you need to be acutely aware of what it will sell or appraise for in a given area – before you purchase the lot.

B. How To Find A Lot

1. Real estate agent or broker

In most cities a real estate agent or broker can provide you with a list of many available lots for sale in your area.

2. Local newspaper

Your local newspaper is a good source for locating lots for sale by an owner.

3. Free publications

There are free publications in many areas where individuals will list a lot for sale.

4. The Internet

The Internet is providing more and more bulletin boards where individuals can advertise a lot for sale.

5. Land Developer

You may be able to purchase a lot from a local land developer. If you do not know the difference between a builder and a developer, let me explain.

A developer is an individual who will buy raw land, clear it, install the sewer lines, gas lines, water lines, and streets, and then sell the developed lots to builders. Sometimes the developer is also the builder.

When the market is booming, a developer could go into a room full of builders and choose whom they will and will not sell to. But here’s the deal -the developer may require a chosen builder to purchase a minimum of five lots. The builder may want in the subdivision, but may not want to start five homes. You could ask this builder if he would sell you one of his lots. I have bought many lots from other builders this way. The only way you’re going to know if the developer or builder will sell is to ask! When the market is slow, most developers, anywhere in the country, would probably be more than happy to sell you a lot.

Building Green – Getting Started

Building green is becoming more and more important as our resources dwindle, and we become more aware of the sensitivities to toxins that many people have. With the price of oil and natural gas rising, saving energy is a big concern. The use of green construction in home and business developments has started really taking off, and many people are interested in making their developments environmentally friendly. One survey found that at least fifty percent of all builders should be producing at least some green developments by the year 2010. However, once you’ve decided to build green, it can be difficult to know where to start. If you’re an investor or developer who’s interested in learning about the process of green building, here are a few basics to help you get going.

Currently, the building industry is centered on those practices which are least expensive, and easiest to implement. Unfortunately many of these practices aren’t all that green. From the use of adhesives and materials that can off-gas, to the creation of structures that waste heat and water, a conventional building makes a big impact on the world around us. You can make buildings greener in a number of different ways, including using natural and non-toxic materials, improving air quality, reducing waste of energy and water, employing renewable energy sources, and reusing materials whenever possible.

For those developing a property, or investing in a development, building green can be especially difficult. Individuals who are building on a small scale can more easily exercise control and find green solutions. Larger developments require advance planning, and there isn’t currently a standard process for green building. However, working with experienced professionals can help a lot. For instance, it’s often a good idea to work with an energy consultant, who can help you decide how to implement designs that will allow your buildings to conserve energy more effectively. Conservation of energy is one of the biggest concerns related to green building, since most buildings do not make efficient use of power. Correct building orientation to make use of passive solar design, efficient heating and cooling systems, and high grade insulation are just a few of the options you can put in place to make your developments more energy efficient.

You should also try to work with contractors who have prior experience with green building. This will help head off possible problems later on. A contractor who has built green structures in the past will have better familiarity with the methods and materials that are used. They’ll also be more willing to work with you, even if the process required to make the building more environmentally friendly means more work on their end.

Since building with environmentally friendly and recyclable materials can be more expensive than conventional building, developers should also make sure they do their research in advance. Look at the cost of materials available, and design your budget appropriately. Be sure to factor in the increase in sale price for green building, and the improvements in energy efficiency when you decide what materials are most cost effective. Materials that are more expensive now will bring savings down the road. Even if you’re developing the property for resale, buyers will be aware of this, and may be willing to offer a higher price.

Development often requires the removal of existing structures. Standard practice is to demolish these structures, with the rubble usually being taken to the local landfill. To make the process of getting rid of unwanted structures more environmentally friendly, focus on deconstruction rather than demolition. Deconstruction takes longer, but allows the materials to be reused or resold, and saves on tipping fees. If the structures in question are older, they may have been built from materials which are no longer available, like large dimension old-growth hardwood, which can be reused in other buildings and is superior to softwood dimensional lumber.

Another place where many modern buildings create waste is water use. Very few structures are designed to make efficient use of available water supplies. As more sources of water become polluted, and aquifiers are emptied, water conservation becomes a greater concern. Plan on using features that save water in your new development. These can include installation of ultra-low flow toilets and showers, faucet aerators and high-efficiency showerheads, efficient heating and cooling systems, and use of air-cooled equipment instead of water-cooled. In addition, it may be wise to designate a water efficiency coordinator for large projects.

The nationally accepted benchmark for green buildings is the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Standard. LEED certification provides independent, third party verification that your building project is an environmentally responsible one. Even if you do not choose to get this certification, being familiar with LEED standards can help you make the right choices when building green.

While getting started in green building can be intimidating at first, familiarity with standards and talking to experts in the field can make the process a lot easier. Energy and water conservation are two of the biggest concerns, with use of recycled or recyclable, non-toxic materials, and reduction of landfill use following. With a sound plan and the correct priorities, making your development a green one doesn’t have to be hard. Green developments are turning up everywhere, from water-saving condominiums built of recyclable materials where decaying industrial buildings used to sit, to schools and businesses designed to make the best use of energy while providing good air quality. Slowly, green building is becoming mainstream, so now’s a great time to get started.