Thread: Condo, Condo, Condo? Board: Heaven / Ship of Fools.


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Posted by LutheranChik (# 9826) on :
 
We are house hunting -- planning to move to a part of our state that we love. Our dream would be to have an old- skool, downsized cottage on a body of water or in the woods. Unfortunately, cottage- sized cottages are a rare commodity these days. And, frankly, neither of us is in physical shape to handle the kind of home maintenance we used to be able to do ourselves.

So...we have been thinking about buying a condo. We were resistant at first, because our younger son and his wife have been pushing us to get one...because we're not crazy about living so close to other people...and, frankly, for me it's elicited a sense of defeat and loss; never again will I have a vegetable garden or a yard buffered by trees. We also have not been impressed by some condos we've visited (Other Grandmother's comes to mind.) And we've heard stories about oppressive condo rules and outrageous fees.

But a year of apartment living has made us a bit more amenable to dwelling in close quarters. And we've recently been in a couple of condominiums that made us think, " You know...we could live in a place like this."

Any Shippies eith condominium experience? What advice would you give us as we house- hunt? What are the pros and cons of going this route instead of a traditional house? What has been your experience of having pets in a condo environment? Are you in an apartment style unit or a freestanding unit?

Thanks for any insighrs.

[ 28. September 2017, 14:01: Message edited by: LutheranChik ]
 
Posted by georgiaboy (# 11294) on :
 
Lived in two condos -- several years in each.

1) an apt-like unit in a 10-unit older city building. Quite satisfactory. Owners' assoc. congenial. Assoc. rules not onerous. Would go back there.
2) suburban setting. Nice pool & party room. Large # of units -- two story townhouse style. Each building had 6 or 8 units. Each unit had a small front lawn and a somewhat larger patio/lawn in the rear. Management helpful and responsive to reported probs. Only moved from there because I got a better deal elsewhere. Would go back there.

The secret is in the management style, IMO.
 
Posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe (# 5521) on :
 
Just sold my condo -- a one bedroom unit in one-story courtyard rows of six units each in an over-55 community.

Pros:

o It's your place so you can do what you want with it (renovations, choice of appliances, decor, etc.)

o Somewhat larger than the average rental apartment.

o Condo association takes care of everything "walls out" -- roof, exterior, landscaping, etc.

o (At the risk of seeming smug) Somewhat better class of people than your average renter.

o Mortgage fairly stable -- monthly amount changes slightly from year to year depending on fluctuations in the property tax escrow.

o Mortgage payments are a great tax deduction.

Cons:

o Condo association dues keep going up each year.

o You're paying condo association dues for amenities you never use (pickleball court, new carpeting/drapes/paint in the community room, etc.)

o If something goes wrong, it's your responsibility (and expense) to fix it -- no simply calling the landlord. And trust me -- something *will* go wrong! In the 11 years I owned my condo, I had it painted and recarpeted, and replaced HVAC unit, washer/dryer, refrigerator, and hot water tank. I also replaced windows, door, toilet and bathtub, but because I wanted to, not because they had failed. Had I not sold it, I would have replaced the toilet again (this time because it needed it) and would have had it repainted again and either recarpeted or have tile flooring installed.

o If you want to move, you have to sell the unit first -- no simply waiting until the lease expires. No guarantee how quickly it will sell or what the market will bear.
 
Posted by LutheranChik (# 9826) on :
 
What are some general condo association pet rules people have dealt with -- specifically dogs? I know they probably vary, but I'm interested on some of the issues that come up. One of my concerns is that our dog needs some enclosed space to burn off her energy -- simply going on walks on a leash doesn't do it for her. If we have to send her to doggie daycare a couple times a week, That's an added expense.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
o (At the risk of seeming smug) Somewhat better class of people than your average renter.

Smug? No, that's not what I would call it.
 
Posted by LutheranChik (# 9826) on :
 
What are some of the rules about outside plants you've encountered?
 
Posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe (# 5521) on :
 
Plants in pots on the porch allowed. Artificial plants allowed so long as they were not visible to passers-by. (Not enforced, though -- my plants on the porch were all artificial and clearly visible.)

Plants in the ground not allowed.
 
Posted by simontoad (# 18096) on :
 
Amanda B. wrote:
quote:
o You're paying condo association dues for amenities you never use (pickleball court, new carpeting/drapes/paint in the community room, etc.)

Pickleball? Pickleball? Vo ist das Pickleball?

I am extremely prejudiced against apartment living. I just came here to dance to the catchy tune the title elicited in my head. [Yipee]
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
Plants in the ground not allowed.

Say what? [Eek!]
 
Posted by BabyWombat (# 18552) on :
 
Condo for about 8 years after several years in rentals:
Pros: usually upscale and comfortable, larger than rental units, more security than rental units.
Cons: Condo fees kept going up, and ‘special assessments’ for such things as those on upper floor wanting faster elevator installed, replacing carpet in hallways, etc. At the mercy of those eager to/financially able to push through “improvements” you don’t think necessary or can’t afford. Also nasty fights at condo association re grilling in courtyard, loud music and open windows, laundry room use early morning, etc.

Now in smallish house in semi-rural town, have own flower and veg garden, yard to sit in, porch to dine on. Neighbors at some remove. Down side as we age is maintaining a house and yard, but we still find it far superior to our condo days and can better plan repairs as budget allows
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
BabyWombat--

Your house sounds lovely, especially the garden!
[Smile]

I doubt I'd get on well with any kind of home-owners' association that was rather full of itself and its rules. I'd have the sense to put anything they'd find objectionable in the backyard (hopefully, fenced). As far as the front yard: if they told me not to put something there, I would be tempted to find a way around it--even if I didn't particularly want the thing.
[Biased]
 
Posted by jedijudy (# 333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by simontoad:


Pickleball? Pickleball? Vo ist das Pickleball?

Hostly sigh.

Please remember when posting anything in any language other than English to provide a translation for those who may not understand.

Thank you!
jedijudy
Heaven Host of half German heritage

 
Posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe (# 5521) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by simontoad:
Pickleball? Pickleball? Vo ist das Pickleball?

Tennis dumbed down for old folks.
 
Posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe (# 5521) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
Plants in the ground not allowed.

Say what? [Eek!]
To their credit, they did the landscaping very well in the community where my condo was. But you weren't allowed to alter or enhance it yourself.
 
Posted by LutheranChik (# 9826) on :
 
A friend of ours was able to do a landscaping project outside her condo -- brick pavers and some miniature shrubbery, a place to put a small table and chairs. On the other hand, our son and SiL live in a subdivision with draconian homeowner association rules about what and where tgey are allowed to plant anything. Other Grandmother,may have a nothing- in- the- ground rule, since I only ever see potted plants at her freestanding unit.

Again, my perfect house woukd be an honest to goodness cottage on a lake or river, with minimal landscaping necessary, but my spouse ha caught the condo bug, The one we visited rwcently was admittedly appealing -- on a river in a gently gentrifying bohemian neighborhood with a food coop within walking distance, professional offices close by and a hipster neighborhood of restaurants and .icrobreweries within blocks. I'm concerned about our dog and cat adapting to drastically restricted room to roam, since these are townhouse style, with no yards to speak of. And DS has difficulty with stairs. I'm lobbying for a modest independent dwelling, or at least a,freestanding condo unit that doesn't feel like an apartment.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
[slight tangent]

Not about condos as such, but about fees and rules ...

Earlier this year we bought a mini/mobile on an estate, and while it's a very nice little house with all the things we wanted (three bedrooms, two bathrooms, appliances - you name it), because it's mobile*, we don't actually own the piece of ground on which it's built, and for the privilege of living on it, we have to pay quite a lot of $$$ every month to the (very nice) owner of the estate. This came as quite a shock to a Brit who expects ground rent to be about £10 a year.

I wouldn't mind so much if we got anything tangible in return, but unlike in a condo (where the fees seem to be considerably less) we have to cut our own grass (or pay someone $20 a pop to do it) and shovel our own snow. In fairness, when we got 2½ feet of snow the day before our stuff was to be moved in, the estate office sent someone to clear the driveway, and didn't charge us for it.

It's a nice, quiet place to live, with a view to die for across to the river, but the fee seems a bit excessive (and, unlike a mortgage, it'll never be paid off). We also had to sign our assent to a fairly long set of rules, and be approved before they'd let us buy the place.

* Technically, there's nothing to stop us moving it somewhere else, but I don't think that's going to happen ...

[/tangent OFF]
 
Posted by simontoad (# 18096) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by jedijudy:
quote:
Originally posted by simontoad:


Pickleball? Pickleball? Vo ist das Pickleball?

Hostly sigh.

Please remember when posting anything in any language other than English to provide a translation for those who may not understand.

Thank you!
jedijudy
Heaven Host of half German heritage

The implication here is that I got the German right, rather than posting some incomprehensible private version of pidgin German. Wow. I'm definitely telling my wife. [Smile]

Thanks for reminding me of the rule Jedijudi!
 
Posted by jedijudy (# 333) on :
 
[tangent] I'm glad to be of assistance, simontoad! I do think Vo ist das should be Wo ist das, which I believe means where is this. But, the last generation of the family that actually spoke German was my Dad's grandmothers! So, I may be off somewhat! [/tangent over]
 
Posted by sabine (# 3861) on :
 
LutheranChik, I'm a city gal and have lived in apartments/condos most of my life. Flowers can be grown on a patio or balcony, of course.

But if you enjoy a garden for growing your own food and herbs, perhaps there is a public garden with rental plots nearby.

The other concern you have--living close to nature and not very close to others.... I think it is very important to listen to the inner voice on things like this. I once found a great building in a terrific neighborhood and chose not to move in because there were no trees. My inner voice reminded me that, no matter how deep in the city I am, I love the sound of birds in the morning. So I'm living in a building with a tree outside my window.

good luck,

sabine
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by jedijudy:
[tangent]...I do think Vo ist das should be Wo ist das, which I believe means where is this...[/tangent over]

Ja.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
Have lived in rented apts, owned condo, owned detached house. Re condos, to comments already made I would add

Cons:
1. Doesn't appreciate in value at the same rate as detached houses, may even lose value/equity. That's a biggie
2. Many condo units will be rented out so the "sort of people" who live there will vary. We lived downstairs from a unit I swear the owners must have advertised in marijuana monthly given the regular stream of drug busts in that one unit
3. Noisier than a detached house. You'll be disturbed by others and you'll be constrained in your own music/tv/partying
4. May have shared laundry facilities which may be inconvenient/ not available when you want them

Pros:
1. Community. It just promotes getting to know your neighbors more than detached houses
2. Safety-- as per above, knowing your neighbors means someone's watching out for you and your property. Someone to help out in an emergency. That's a biggie
3. Low maintenance. Since you're only responsible for "walls in" that makes traveling or being gone for longer periods of time much easier

We're about ready to downsize from our big family house so thinking thru these pros and cons ourselves

[ 03. October 2017, 15:21: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]
 
Posted by Hooker's Trick (# 89) on :
 
Read the rules. Read the rules again. And read them again.

They can vary wildly so it's difficult to generalize (and they can generally be changed according to some process -- it's good to know and understand that process).

And there is no universal rule what is included in the fee, so you'll want to investigate what if any utilities, what if any maintenance, parking may or may not be included. Is there on-site management staff, or on-call staff?

For what it's worth, I'm a happy (apartment style) condo dweller and have been for 17 years, but a quick survey of my condo-dwelling friends & associates reveals there is a wide variety from condo to condo.
 
Posted by jedijudy (# 333) on :
 
I'm so glad we dusted and vacuumed today...is there any lipstick on my teeth?

Hooker's Trick! Welcome to Heaven! [Big Grin]

Anyway, that's good advice for any new venture.
 


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