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Unread 03-26-2007, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Somewhere East of Laramie
27,101 posts, read 15,929,824 times
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Default House to Condo Move?

I'd be interested in hearing the experiences of anyone who has made the move from long term residence in a single family house to a condo.

The Good? The Bad? The Ugly?
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Unread 03-26-2007, 06:28 PM
 
Location: Happy wherever I am - Florida now
2,803 posts, read 6,512,688 times
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I didn't exactly do that. I did move from my custom designed 4000 sq ft four story waterfront transitional home over to my mother's to take care of her after my kids left home. I'm in approx 1100 sq ft in the finished bottom part of her walk-out ranch.

It's not bad. I have one very large room that's like a studio apt w a bathroom, kitchen, sm dining area, dressing alcove w walk-in closet, and combo LR/BR. There's also a small room I use as an office and for storage of my sports equipment.

I like being able to turn the single tv on it's turntable to be able to see it from the kitchen/DR and LR, or from the bed. I've got quite a bit of stuff in here in the main room, a six foot wide bookcase, an upright grand piano, two leather couches and an overstuffed one w ottoman and coffee table, a round oak table w six chairs (two of which I use in front of the bookcase), two large antique etegeres a rocker and a carved oriental chest in the alcove, and a full BR set on one end of the room including a writing desk, etegere for my electronics and cedar chest. There's also a large deck. Besides a couple of work desks in the office I also have shelving units for clean storage.

It would take me at least five rooms in a regular house to put all this stuff. I like having it open and in one huge room. Did have to get rid of a lot of things, mostly those I didn't need and mostly stuff from the garage. I was able to keep all of my expensive things by plotting out a floor plan before I moved in and keeping it well organized. Quite a bit of artwork did end up in the bathroom as wall space is at a premium. The walk-in closet is indespensible as I've got a huge amount of clothes. It's a lot less to care for. Good for one person.
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Unread 03-30-2007, 02:55 PM
 
8 posts, read 45,597 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burdell View Post
I'd be interested in hearing the experiences of anyone who has made the move from long term residence in a single family house to a condo.

The Good? The Bad? The Ugly?
I made that move several years ago. Although I am not sorry about the move, it can be a very frustrating experience. Let me share my insights.

It all depends on who is on your Board of Directors and how active the residents are in supporting them. I moved into my condo and found out way too late that the Board of Directors (who had been in charge for several years) had decided not to fund the "reserves" so as to keep their maintenance fee down (two of them knew they were going to be selling their units). This is sooooooo wrong. It ended up with my original $302 monthly maintenance fee going up to $505 within 4 years! Plus there were all types of assessments made to finally bring the place up to a like new condition once we got rid of the former members ($10500 assessment for roof replacement was our major one). You will find that NO ONE wants to be bothered attending meetings, etc. They pay their maintenance fee and think that is enough. Unfortunately, the same people get stuck with being on the Board of Directors unwillingly. I, for example, am on the Board not because I want to be, but a trouble maker was running for the Board. The members thought I could beat her since I am well liked so I had to run.

Worse yet is the constant complaining by those who do nothing.

So, make sure you read the documents (if dogs allowed, up to how many pounds?). Then take a look at their budget for the year. If they do not fund the Reserves, then don't even think about moving into that condo.


Okay, let me get positive now. You feel safe as you are surrounded by many people. Being 60 and single, the younger residents look out for me and the older residents are always ready to help you fix something. Since I am outgoing, I have many friends but if you like to be left alone, well you can do that too. Just don't be friendly and they will leave you alone. I also like putting down the hurricane shutters, shutting off the water and away I go for weekend trips or vacations.

Best of all, though, is where my condo is located (on the water). I would go through Hell as long as I have this beautiful view. So make certain your condo is attractive, has lots of windows (many of them are dark (like mine), and the buildings are surrounded by trees/plants/flowers. How they keep the outside of the buildings is a good indication on how they maintain the building.

Hope the above helps.
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Unread 03-30-2007, 04:01 PM
 
Location: Springfield, Missouri
2,813 posts, read 8,751,654 times
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When it's your own single family home, you know what the parameters are. When it's a condo, just hope that the complex is run well and that the owners are residents and not renting out to renters. I just don't trust the idea of being at other's mercy by owning a condo.
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Unread 03-31-2007, 01:27 AM
 
3,842 posts, read 7,515,450 times
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I am debating the house vs. condo idea too. Condos seem much cheaper and give you all those little "HOA" benefits like a pool or gym.

I am quite curious as to how the taxes are. Does my HOA fee pay for that? Also how does appreciation work. I mean you are buying a small portion of a larger building does it work kind of like buying shares in a corporation?
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Unread 03-31-2007, 09:44 AM
 
8 posts, read 45,597 times
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Default Be Careful on Buying A Condo!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by killer2021 View Post
I am debating the house vs. condo idea too. Condos seem much cheaper and give you all those little "HOA" benefits like a pool or gym.

I am quite curious as to how the taxes are. Does my HOA fee pay for that? Also how does appreciation work. I mean you are buying a small portion of a larger building does it work kind of like buying shares in a corporation?
Taxes you pay are based on the Assessed Value of your unit (also includes like units in your surrounding areas) from your local Property Appraiser's Office. For example, my taxes are about $2400 a year based on a 5 years ago property value of $148K. Today, if you buy my condo at $350K, then your taxes would not be on the $148K but would be based on the $350K that you paid for the unit (approx $5000 per year). A lot of the elderly people are complaining about this and legislation is currently being considered here in Florida.

It varies on what HOA fee pays. You need to read the documents of any condo unit you buy. Your HOA pays for the insurance for the buildings in the event of fire, hurricanes, etc. You, though, must buy insurance for the inside of your condo. Reason: If the unit next to you catches fire and the fire comes into your condo, then you are responsible for all repairs. If you have "inside" condo insurance, then they would pay.

HOA sometimes includes, water, sewage, garbage pickup, cable.

Your unit appreciates in value like a house. If your Condo Association takes care of the outside property and you take care of the inside, then the values appreciate accordingly. Of course, my realtor always told me "location location location" is the most important value to consider. I bought on the water so my property has doubled in value. But....there are thousands of condos now sitting vacant since the Real Estate Bubble is starting to lose air.

If you are considering buying a condo, I would suggest that you wait for a few more months as condos seem to be on the downside and you might be able to pick up a gem. Read the Condominium Documents and ask questions about the "Reserves" before you buy any condo. If the Reserves are not funded, walk away. Reserves is a fund (in addition to your Maintenance Fee)
that is used for other things besides maintenance. For example, if the Reserves are funded, a portion of your Reserves Fee would go towards the future replacement of the roof or painting of the building or resurfacing of the swimming pool or replacement of the elevator. Don't think that the HOA gives you anything. You pay for it through your maintenance/reserve fees!!!! We have a gym that is only utilized by the gal who vacuums the room. We have a jacuzzi that no one uses. But, me and the other residents pay each month for these underutilized benefits.
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Unread 04-04-2007, 05:53 PM
 
56 posts, read 133,302 times
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I lived in an apartment, "graduated" to a condo, then rehabbed a house. I look forward to selling the house with its 4 bedrooms and going back to a small condo. Both have their plusses, but I am not up to getting up on the roof, laying brick, pointing, painting and such. Having been a condo President and board member I cannot stress enough as was done earlier to look at the budget, reserves, special assessment history. In any offering I make, I plan to make it a condition that I see the minutes from the from the most recent annual meeting and most recent board meeting. I will also need to know how many units are owner occupied. Take a walk around the grounds. Are there any obvious things you don't like are which against the rules - such as TV dishes on balconies - if so walk away - to me it means there is even more going on. Is there enough to replace the roof? Upgrade elevators? I am prepared to be active in the condo to watch over my investment. The only thing I will miss about my house is the garden.
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Unread 04-04-2007, 07:38 PM
 
1,715 posts, read 4,915,323 times
Reputation: 1236
Default house to condo

Quote:
Originally Posted by fonz43 View Post
It all depends on who is on your Board of Directors and how active the residents are in supporting them. I moved into my condo and found out way too late that the Board of Directors (who had been in charge for several years) had decided not to fund the "reserves" so as to keep their maintenance fee down (two of them knew they were going to be selling their units). This is sooooooo wrong. It ended up with my original $302 monthly maintenance fee going up to $505 within 4 years! Plus there were all types of assessments made to finally bring the place up to a like new condition once we got rid of the former members ($10500 assessment for roof replacement was our major one). You will find that NO ONE wants to be bothered attending meetings, etc. They pay their maintenance fee and think that is enough. Unfortunately, the same people get stuck with being on the Board of Directors unwillingly. I, for example, am on the Board not because I want to be, but a trouble maker was running for the Board. The members thought I could beat her since I am well liked so I had to run.

Worse yet is the constant complaining by those who do nothing.

So, make sure you read the documents (if dogs allowed, up to how many pounds?). Then take a look at their budget for the year. If they do not fund the Reserves, then don't even think about moving into that condo.
I second each of the above with my own experiences. In fact I'll go a step further and state that I don't think that I'll ever go back to a condo since I purchased a house a few years ago. If you are not in an area where the price of a house is out of your range, and if you're not a senior citizen, then I would buy a house. The economics and hassles of both condo and condo-villa living just aren't positive (unless of course you plan to rent out in a profitable touristy area). If you're in a place like right around NYC, then that's one thing... but if you're not I think most anyone would be happier in a house. You'll have much more control of your investment and property and unless you have a funky mortgage your monthly payments will stay the same over time rather than go up as they inevitably will in a condo situation.
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Unread 04-05-2007, 05:50 AM
 
Location: Prospect, KY
5,070 posts, read 10,006,368 times
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I just want more privacy than a condo offers me...and I don't trust HOA Boards....condos are not something I think positively about.
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Unread 04-05-2007, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Somewhere East of Laramie
27,101 posts, read 15,929,824 times
Reputation: 11118
Thanks to all for your input.

I now find out about what's called 'fee simple' ownership of a townhouse type property which seems almost midway betweena house and a condo.

Decisons, decisons, decisions
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