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Condo living in Coastal Delaware a great option

Until I became a Realtor, I always thought that a condo was an apartment-style home. Well I learned differently. Condo refers to the method of ownership, not the style of home. Not all condos share common walls.

What is the difference between condo living and one of the new planned communities with a homeowners association?

Paynter's Mill offers a mix of condominium living and traditional Fee Simple single family homes and townhomes. This is a mixed use planned community that also has retail and restaurant space including The Kitchen, one of my personal favorites. There are flat style condo buildings with either 1st floor or 2nd floor units. These are part of a separate condominium association responsible for maintenance for these buildings. There is another condominium association made up of single family homes with white picket fences. Then, there are single family homes and townhomes that are not part of any condo association. All belong to the same community or homeowners association and membership in the community center with a Fitness Center, entertaining space and a wonderful outdoor pool is shared by all.

Another condo community is the gated community of Nassau Grove. This entire community of single family homes is all part of a condominium association. In this case, the clubhouse, pool and other amenities are covered by the one condo fee. All lawn and grounds maintenance is also covered.

All condo association fees cover the Master Insurance Policy on the physical structure and typically cover sidewalks, decks, lawn care, snow removal and common area maintenance as well as access to any amenities like a pool, clubhouse and more. The master insurance policy may be included in the condo fee or billed separately, but the only insurance you need to carry separately is to cover your contents, sometimes called renter's insurance.

A homeowners association will never cover your physical structure maintenance but may cover many of the same amenities and lawn care, snow removal and common area maintenance - it all depends. Today more than ever, you need to review the relevant condo or HOA documents before you make a purchase decision. In Delaware, disclosure requirements are the same for condo associations and planned communities with a homeowners association that charges a fee of more than $500/year. When you write an offer, make sure you receive the disclosure documents (DUCOIA) and review them thoroughly.

Is condo living for you? If you are looking for true "lock and leave" living, a condo is the perfect choice. If it's a second home or you like to travel, the no maintenance style of living in a condo home or flat makes the most sense. And, the fees may be comparable to those in many homeowners association.

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