You’ve certainly heard the phrase Location, Location, Location. Well, truer words were never spoken.

When you’re considering what home to buy, the most important factor is where it’s located. Not just what city or neighborhood it’s in, but also how it’s positioned.

For instance:

  • Does it back to a busy street? Is it noisy?
  • What is its directional orientation and what does that mean to you?
  • Does it have a lot of natural light?
  • Will it receive excessive afternoon sun, increasing your cooling costs?

These are just a few examples of things you’ll want to consider when selecting your home. Don’t worry, we’ll help you to notice important factors.

Other factors you’ll also want to consider:

  • Schools and school scores
  • Crime rates
  • Commute time
  • Access to parks and hiking trails
  • Proximity to shopping
  • Future development


Condominiums and townhomes are the “starter home’ of choice for many home buyers today because they are generally smaller and less expensive than conventional single-family houses. The term “condominium” does not describe a particular style of architecture, but rather a type of joint ownership. Each living unit is individually owned, while the facilities and common space (the surrounding land and any recreational facilities) are owned collectively by the owners of each unit. In addition to their monthly mortgage payment, condominium/ townhome owners pay a “homeowner’s fee” that pays for the management of the complex, upkeep of the common property areas, and occasionally the cost of some of the utilities.

Condominiums/townhomes combine some of the advantages (and disadvantages) of apartment living with those of home ownership. Condominium/townhome owners reap the same financial benefits(tax breaks and equity buildup) as other homeowners without many of the traditional chores of home ownership (such as being responsible for the gardening and hiring a contractor to fix the leaky roof). Moreover, condominiums/townhomes often offer such amenities as landscaping, security gates and recreation areas.

A townhome is the same as a condominium in that the unit will share common walls with other units. However, a townhome differs in that each unit has its own ground space, so you will not have other units above or below your unit. Selecting a condominium/townhome is more complex than buying a single-family home because it also involves joining a social group and buying into a business. As a result, you need to investigate not only the specific unit in which you are interested, but also the entire project, both from a physical and financial standpoint.

IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS for you to review prior to closing escrow on a condo or townhome are:

  1. Copy of the Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions (CC&R’s)
  2. Budgets and By-Laws (usually incorporated in CC&Rs).
  3. Recent HOA Board meeting minutes and financials.
Thousand Oaks home buying options

Here are some questions you might want to ask when you contact the condo association or items to review when the CC & R’s are in your possession:


What percentage of units are owner-occupied?
What percentage are tenant-occupied?
Generally, the higher the percentage of owner-occupied units, the more marketable the units will be at resale.


What covenants, bylaws, and restrictions govern the property?
What grandfather clauses are in place?


How much does the association keep in reserve?
How is the money being invested?


What does and doesn’t the HOA dues cover – common area maintenance, recreational facilities, trash collection, cable, water?


What special assessments have been mandated in the past five year?
How much was each owner responsible for?
Some special assessments are unavoidable. But repeated, expensive assessments could be a red flag about the condition of the building or the board’s fiscal policy.


How much turnover occurs in the community?


Is the project in litigation?
If the builders or homeowners are involved in a lawsuit, reserves can be depleted quickly.


Ask residents about their perception.
Is the management company responsive to homeowner’s requests?


Are multiple associations involved in the property?
In very large developments, umbrella associations, as well as the smaller association into which you are buying may require separate dues.

The following links will provide valuable information on the home buying process:

    • PRE-APPROVAL VS. PRE-QUALIFICATION Pre-approval involves a comprehensive review of your financial background by a lender, while pre-qualification is a preliminary assessment based on basic information provided by you.
    • CLOSING COSTSClosing costs are the fees and expenses associated with finalizing a real estate transaction, typically including loan origination fees, appraisal fees, and title insurance.
    • PROPERTY TAXES – Property taxes are assessed by local governments based on the value of a property and are used to fund public services such as schools, roads, and emergency services.
    • BUYER DO’S AND DON’TSAdvice for buyers on getting pre-approved for a mortgage, researching neighborhoods thoroughly, and more, while covering things to avoid, such as making major purchases before closing and skipping the home inspection.
    • MAKING AN OFFER When it comes to making an offer on a home, Dore and Geoff Baker advise careful consideration and strategic planning to ensure you present a compelling offer that aligns with your budget and goals.
    • KEY CONCEPTS Understanding the key concepts in making an offer on a home, including earnest money, escrow, contingencies, and title insurance, is crucial for a smooth and successful real estate transaction.
    • DISCLOSURE & DISCOVERY Disclosure and Discovery rules ensure that buyers are fully informed about the property’s condition and any potential issues before completing the purchase.
    • HOME INSPECTION Home inspection is a crucial step in making an offer on a home, providing buyers with a detailed assessment of the property’s condition to make an informed decision.
    • CLOSING ON YOUR NEW HOME The final step in the home buying process, where ownership is transferred from the seller to the buyer, and all remaining paperwork and payments are completed.
    • BUYER’S ESCROW PLANNING TIMELINE Use this chart to draft your buyer’s escrow planning timeline, ensuring you stay on track and meet key deadlines throughout the home buying process.