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There really isn’t any significant difference between an apartment and a condo. An apartment is a housing unit that is located in an apartment complex; the apartment complex is owned either by an individual or corporation. A condo is a housing unit that is exclusively owned by an individual in an apartment complex. So the difference is that if you rent a housing unit in an apartment complex that is owned entirely by an individual or corporation, you’re renting an apartment. But if you are renting a unit that has an owner, then you’re renting a condo. Condos always have owners who are registered with the homeowner association or HOA.
In terms of rent, an apartment and a condo are usually priced around the same range. But there are times when a condo can be a tad bit more expensive due to the unit being personalised by the house owner while apartment units have standard rates depending on how many rooms it has to offer or the square feet. So within an apartment complex apartment of similar size will be priced the same. While the price of renting a condo can vary depending on the features that the homeowner includes, even if other condos of the same size are priced lower.
The owner of the condo has more often than not lived in the condo at some point and thus the condo is bound to be a lot more personalised. If you’re looking for a unit that has not been used by anyone then renting an apartment will be more ideal for you. But one thing you have got to realise is that apartment complexes have an array of amenities, but they are common to everyone within the apartment complex. But if your condo has an indoor pool, then the pool belongs only to you. It is all about preferences.
The final minor difference is that condo owners may not be present at your beck and call to sort out issues. There are some condo owners who either live out of state or abroad. Thus they can be difficult to reach should you have an issue. But an apartment complex more often than not has an office where you can go to sort out the issues that you might encounter. If at all you did experience an issue with your condo and your condo owner is out of state then go to the homeowner association to help you out with the issue.
So if you’re a buyer who is looking into investing in a condo, be it for rental purposes or it could be as simple as moving into one. You have got to be aware of certain things before you sign on the dotted lines. In this article, we look at six crucial details that you need to know before you buy or rent a condo.
Know them through and through
You have to visit the condo association to find out how it operates and whether everything is in order. The affiliated condo association is going to be your point of contact for all functions and purposes, especially if you have an overseas condo owner. Think of buying a condo like a joint venture deal that you’re going to sign, so get to know the ins and outs of the condo association to make sure that nothing flimsy is happening within the association.
Look at that Budget
No condo association is going to show you their books because it puts them in a spot of vulnerability. But that doesn’t mean you can obtain them by other means. And when we say other means we don’t refer to anything under the table. Your condo seller is your access card to check out the budgeting of the condo association. Condo owners have access to the budgeting of the association and if they wish to sell the condo, they can then show the budget and books to the buyer if he or she requests it. What happens most of the time is that a potential buyer never looks at the books of the association and only verifies the seller. The condo association needs to be as stable as the seller.
If the condo association says that their Delinquency rates are extremely low, then either they are lying or you have stumbled onto one of the best run condo associations on the market. An association with a large delinquency rate is not a red flag for buyers who are not looking to mortgage the condo at any point in the near future. But the condo association helps keeping the amenities in working condition and if there are a number of condo owners refusing to pay the association fees, you will slowly start seeing that impressive swimming pool become not so impressive due to cutbacks.
The remaining cash
A significant part of the budget details that you request from the seller is the detail about the cash reserves that the association has. So higher the cash reserves, newer the building looks and higher is the demand. So if the building you’re trying to buy does not have other offers from potential buyers, then it is a red flag and you have to see what the cash reserves is like.
Number of Absentee Owners
There is an increase in absentee owners in prime real estate locations such as Miami, Las Vegas and California. Know that a condo association can lose its license if there are more than 49% of absentee owners. And since most transactions are done with cash, paper trails are extremely difficult to find. Try to research more about your association before you agree or sign anything.
Insurance is important
Most associations don’t get community insurance coverage in an attempt to cut costs. But not getting the insurance can greatly affect mortgage rates and refinancing. So acquire the master insurance policy statement of the association to see if the required insurances including the community insurance coverage is present.