Condos and co-ops… Is now the time to buy? What to consider plus 13 options on the market

Is now the right time to buy a condo or co-op? In many cases, it’s definitely worth the research! While there continues to be a dearth of inventory for single-family homes, condos and co-ops are in many cases… aplenty.

Condos, in general, took a hit during the pandemic as buyers and renters wanted more square footage and were at times fearful of shared spaces like elevators and frustrated by amenities that were left locked up.

As the world begins to open back up, we must look at this corner of the real estate market as a potential opportunity. Many condos and co-ops are sitting on the market longer, causing inventory to creep up and prices to be strained.

When buying a condo or a co-op, you need to do your research…

  • Are there any special assessments?
  • Is there an underlying mortgage?
  • What are the monthly condo fees and what do they pay for?
  • How much have the condo fees gone up year over year?
  • Where do you do your laundry — in the unit, down the hall or in the basement?
  • Is parking deeded to the unit? Or is it assigned?
  • Does the building allow for renters?

These are all key questions that help determine the potential resale value down the line or attractiveness to potential tenants.

Now, let’s take a deeper look at some active listings and see how they measure up.

12000 Market Street #379, Reston, VA 20190, listed for $320,000 with a $405/monthly condo fee.

This one-bedroom is bright, spacious and luxurious. The best part? The Reston Town Center Metro station is set to open next year. Imagine walking less than a half mile from this beautiful courtyard-facing condo to your nearest Metro stop. This pet-friendly gem has only been on the market a mere seven days.

1800 Old Meadow Road #622, McLean, VA 22102, listed for $496,000 with an $827/monthly condo fee.

This two-bedroom unit is over 1,400 square feet, an end unit, and has a wrap-around balcony that faces both south and west. A pedestrian bridge will be constructed beginning this year to cross over the Beltway and provide easier access to Tysons. This unit has been on the market for 44 days and would make any owner happy — as long as they don’t have a pet (sorry, these furry friends are not allowed).

4200 Cathedral Avenue NW #1102, Washington, DC 20016, listed for $239,000 with a $664/monthly condo fee.

This one-bedroom is steps away from the Glover Archbold Trail in the sought-after Foxhall neighborhood of D.C. Somehow, this top-floor unit has been on the market for 104 days with no price drop.

7037-D Haycock Road #904, Falls Church, VA 22043, listed for $585,000 with a $679/monthly condo fee.

How about a condo that doesn’t feel like a condo? This two-bedroom is close to the West Falls Church Metro, has two floors, two parking spots and an extra storage unit.

3320 Woodburn Village Drive #13, Annandale, VA 22003, listed for $228,900 with a $532/monthly condo fee.

This two-bedroom condo is close to Inova Fairfax Hospital, has great outdoor space and is over 1,000 square feet. 43 days on market, folks!

4420 1st Place NE #11, Washington, DC 20011, listed for $215,000 with a $277/monthly condo fee.

A low condo fee, pet friendly and close to Catholic University… I scratch my head wondering why no one has scooped up this one-bedroom in the last 107 days.

6641 Wakefield Drive #705, Alexandria, VA 22307, listed for $179,900 with a $485/monthly condo fee.

It’s worth checking out the amenities of this Belle View building, which has a pool, tennis, basketball, walking path, and is close to dog parks and the river — especially if you are looking for something you can rent out. Well, this one-bedroom has been sitting on the market for 270 combined days, and it is tenant occupied through November of this year with a possibility for an extension.

7316 Lee Highway #204, Falls Church, VA 22046, listed for $199,900 with a $371/monthly condo fee.

This top-floor unit is in the McLean High School pyramid. The rent estimate for this home is $1,450-1,500 and it is already leased until January 31, 2022. It even has hardwood floors and a balcony – two must-haves for many tenants.

8220 Crestwood Heights Drive #210, McLean, VA 22102, listed for $574,000 with a $679/monthly condo fee.

This one-bedroom plus den is within walking distance to the Silver Line, has hardwood floors, great light, updated kitchen and bathrooms… plus a great rooftop pool. Somehow it has been on the market for 121 days. *shrug*

Some condo buildings charge several different types of condo fees… And you should be aware of these before signing the dotted line.

900 N. Taylor Street #1808, Arlington, VA 22203, listed for $99,999.

This one is in the heart of Arlington but has sat on the market for 748 combined days. The non-optional monthly fee starts at $3,021/month plus $975/month for a second resident and a $75/month parking fee. This 55+ community has several well-priced units if you can stomach the monthly fees.

940 25th Street NW #103S, Washington, DC 20037, listed for $235,000 with total monthly co-op fees and charges totaling $778.33/month.

The studio is just blocks from the Foggy Bottom Metro and has a walk-in closet, rooftop pool and views of the Potomac River. However, take note of the underlying mortgage that requires co-op shareholders to pay $113.55/month until 2037 at an interest rate of 3.94%. That is on top of your monthly co-op fee of $575. But your fee does cover your water, heat, electricity and gas. So that’s a plus.

Did you know that some buildings in the DMV are sitting on leased land?

Take River Place in Rosslyn as an example. This co-op sits on land governed by a lease set to expire in about 30 years. Last time I checked, a 30-year loan was highly sought after by buyers… right? So, how do you buy a unit with a 30-year loan, if the current land the structure is built on is teetering on a similar timeframe? Make sure you ask an approved lender about that.

My understanding is that based on how the lease is currently written, if you are still an owner in 2052, you will have to give your co-op shares back to the landowners and walk away. The current shareholders are discussing extending the lease or buying the land; however, no one knows what will happen in 30 years.

Even with views or beautiful finishes like these two units, it is always smart to do your research…

1021 Arlington Blvd #622, Arlington, VA 22209, listed for $144,000 with a $301/monthly co-op fee.

1011 Arlington Blvd #748, Arlington, VA 22209, listed for $169,000 with a $319/monthly co-op fee.

Clearly, asking key questions, taking deep dives and doing research is my jam. Let’s hop on the phone and talk about your next condo or co-op purchase. Is it the right time for you to buy or sell? Either way… Move with Mackenzie Horne.

Mackenzie Horne, MBA is a licensed REALTOR® in the Commonwealth of Virginia with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Send Mackenzie a message at 571-594-9136, [email protected] or @MackHorneRealtor.

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