Condo Living for the Birds?  Not Necessarily!

If you love the idea of owning a home but are turned off by the thought of the upkeep costs and maintenance effort needed in owning a standalone home, you certainly aren’t alone.  From New York to Phoenix and beyond, sales of Condo’s and attached multi-family dwellings are keeping pace with the burning hot housing market.  In some cities condo sales are actually outpacing those of their traditional single family detached cousins.  If you’ve been considering investing in home ownership but have been deterred by all that property, we’ve got everything you should consider before plunging into the condo market.

A Different Type of Lifestyle

Condo and multi-unit living arrangements certainly have their advantages for a number of family arrangements and individual tastes.  Multiple reports have focused on the younger, millennial generation and their love affair with everything that is smaller and more efficient living.  Aging singles and couples also find condo ownership attractive and are buying up units in retirement friendly areas of the country.

The appeal and benefits are numerous.  Eliminating private yards also means eliminating the need to mow or personally arrange for gardener service.  Exterior damages are handled by the common building management or board and most residences come with secured access meaning safety concerns are a thing of the past.  Most modern condo buildings come equipped with a host of amenities such as elevators, pools and recreation and exercise centers.  In short, there’s a lot to like about detaching from the traditional housing styles.

All Things at a Cost

As with most things in life, there certainly are some potential downsides to consider when buying into a condo or co-op.  For starters, monthly maintenance or upkeep fees are common and can be as high or higher than the accumulative value if you were to pay for those items on your own in a single-family residence.  Extra amenities require extra staff and the cost of doormen, security guards, maintenance and janitorial staff can add up fast.

And like any shared wall and floor living arrangement, neighbor quality is often a crapshoot.  If the person downstairs like soprano opera at 11 pm and upstairs has two small children and one dog that like to run laps around the sofa at 6am, you might need to invest in a good pair of ear plugs.  Similarly, your own actions may be limited so aspiring musicians or people that like to blast their video games to a dull roar may need to find ways to compromise.

As With All Things…Its About Your Living Style

As we’ve advised before, with any home it would do potential buyers well to sit down ahead of time and make a list of needs from their living arrangements.  Instead of a black and white set of musts and must-nots, try instead listing a set of desirable and undesirable qualities and assigning them a ranking of 1-10 in importance level.  This exercise can be especially helpful when more than one person is involved in the homebuying decision.  Whether a traditional layout, a condo, townhome or igloo, it’s the comfort and livability for the individual(s) that turns a house into a home.  Spending a little time at the outset in assessing yours and your family’s needs will see you making the right decision for long term, home-owning happiness.




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