First, remember that those who can't afford to purchase a house still want to own.
This means that a condominium purchase is "just the ticket" for many buyers. And considering how relatively expensive Seattle-area real estate is, a condominium purchase will always be the "first home" purchase for many people.
Condominiums are a good long term investment, just as a house is. But there are many issues you need to consider with a condo purchase, chief among those issues is the financial health of the building and owners' association.
A vital difference between the documents we use to negotiate a house versus condo transaction is the "resale certificate" or the "public offering statement". These documents are used in the sale of a "used/resale" unit or a "new construction" building, respectively. These documents- provided by the owner or developer, will disclose all financials and relevant matters pertaining to the building, the budget, improvements and assessments, recent community and other maintenance matters, etc.
A buyer's purchase of a condo is, as required by Washington State law, subject to that buyer's review and approval of those disclosure statements. These and other important factors of condominium homeownership will be covered in our initial counseling session- before we even start looking at property!