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Old 08-23-2017, 03:40 PM
Location: Orlando
1,992 posts, read 2,637,223 times
Reputation: 7588


Almost two years ago, I sold my 1850-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath, two-car-garage house in the suburbs and bought a 915-square-foot, one-bedroom, one-bath condo in the city. I have never in my life been happier with my home than I am now.

Downsizing wasn't easy, but it was so worth it. SO much less work! The staff here are great, they treat me so kindly. I'm a block and a half from my grocery store. I have indoor, secured parking, a pool, a fitness center, great security, no maintenance worries. The building is very soundly constructed, so I never hear anything from my neighbors.

So how is condo life working for me as a retiree? Perfectly.
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Old 08-23-2017, 04:00 PM
Location: SW Florida
10,298 posts, read 4,871,936 times
Reputation: 21705
I'm semi-retired and have been living in a 2nd floor condo for the last 4 years. I close on my small single family house next week. I will be paying about $150 less a month for my own place (PITI) with nobody stomping around over my head (wood floors upstairs) or having to listen to anybody else's music, screaming at their kids or their food smelling up the whole floor. I will also have a single car garage which we don't have here. I will have someone do the lawn maintenance. Almost everything is going to be replaced so it will be like a brand new house. I also know people in a lot of different trades from my former church in case I need maintenance on the a/c, plumbing, etc.

Personally I would rather be in a townhouse but this house is a once in a lifetime deal so I just couldn't pass it up.
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Old 08-23-2017, 04:27 PM
Location: Florida
5,248 posts, read 3,018,567 times
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I bought a condo townhouse in 1987, gave away the lawn mower, etc and never looked back.
In 2000 we bought a one story condo townhouse in a 55+ community, no stairs.
In 2014 we returned to Florida and bought a condo apartment. I miss the garage, but otherwise OK.
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Old 08-23-2017, 05:01 PM
5,397 posts, read 6,536,800 times
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Thanks all

looks like apartment/condo living works overall.

It has taken me awhile to get to the point I would consider it, but it does seem workable.
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Old 08-23-2017, 05:13 PM
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,740,386 times
Reputation: 32304
I have found it workable too. I bought a two-bedroom plus loft, two and a half bath, two-car garage townhouse about 16 years ago. No one lives above me or below me, but I have neighbors to each side - the insulation between units must be very good because I never hear my neighbors.

I am still responsible for maintenance inside my unit, but the HOA takes care of the exterior. I do travel occasionally and all I have to do to leave is make arrangements for the newspaper delivery and the mail and lock the door. We have a few renters in the 26-unit complex, but most of the units are owner-occupied. In general the owners make better neighbors, but there are also plenty of renters who are excellent neighbors as well.
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Old 08-23-2017, 06:38 PM
10,604 posts, read 14,205,380 times
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Here's what I learned.

1. Stay on the first floor.

2. Research a condo decision. (I love mine, but still.....)

Make SURE your condo has good reserves and understand the documents because they are all potentially different.

In my condo's HOA docs, you are responsible for the plumbing in the wall, that goes from the common "pipes" to your unit specifically and only.

The HOA is responsible for the common pipe that services "multiple units".

When I first bought, I assumed EVERYTHING behind the walls was the HOA insurance. (And the drywall itself, which is true.)

SO if you have a plumbing failure - and you will - depending on your state and HOA docs the liability can get tricky.

I just had a leak LOL. My poor neighbor BFF downstairs got flooded from me but we knew someday it would happen!

But my HOA Is very good and they send maintenance right away to "referee" and help so to speak until the plumber arrives and after. Because they want to protect the community's interest, too.

Sometimes you can get dropped if you have too many claims and have to go to a high risk insurance pool - and think about it. ONE bathroom alone has potentially 4 or 5 places you may "leak" and flood yourself or downstairs neighbor. And one water intrusion might cause SO MUCH DAMAGE like kitchen cabinets!

For example are YOU responsible for the pan below the shower or is the HOA?

Not a big thing for me in the 9 years I lived here but something to REMEMBER.

I'm actually going to sell my condo and go to apartment living. Tired of all the maintenance worries and escrowing money for future big ticket items like a new HVAC every 10 years or whatever.

But overall I love my community condo living and only paying electric and internet. The HOA covers everything else including cable. And our clubhouse has internet so I COULD even drop that if I weren't the type to use it so much or if I had unlimited data on my phone.

Might want to remember the end units are usually brighter. And more money.
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Old 08-23-2017, 07:19 PM
14,260 posts, read 23,995,588 times
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When I moved from Cleveland to Chicago in 2000, I traded a 5 BR 3000 square foot house for a 2 BR 1500 square foot condo. It was the best decision we ever made. No lawn, co snow removal, no home maintenance projects.

When I retired in 2013, we downsized into a 975 sq ft condo with a lot of usable outdoor space. I have not regretted that move either.
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Old 08-23-2017, 08:22 PM
Location: Columbia SC
8,974 posts, read 7,745,489 times
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I live in a 1500sq ft patio (standalone) home. Our HOA does all outside home maintenance and landscaping. It affords me privacy with no responsibility. Places like this do exist. Search them out.
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Old 08-23-2017, 08:40 PM
15,292 posts, read 4,033,310 times
Reputation: 11037
It is really the very rare condo that has adequate reserves. The entire idea seems to be "I won't be around here when that time comes, so who cares?".....

Specifically, owners - even of a high end unit - rarely vote for increases that are for "stuff later". They will vote for increases which benefit them NOW.

There is some truth to their outlook. One property expert I know says the idea is to buy a new condo and sell it in years 10-12.

One of our properties is a high end condo. I know we don't have enough reserves. We all know. One resident asked us to do a proper spreadsheet on future costs. We came back with the reality - condo fees would have to DOUBLE (from $550 a month to $1100) to properly plan for million dollar projects like roof replacement in 15 more years, etc.....

Crickets were heard.

Anyway, buyers beware. Chances are that very few of you have enough experience in financials and construction to really know what is going on. My parents owned a top end condo in Miami Beach which ended up being "under construction" for major renovations for two years...and each unit owned something like 150K in special assessments.

There is something to be said for renting - but unfortunately it's hard to find good stuff.
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Old 08-23-2017, 09:03 PM
1,066 posts, read 517,177 times
Reputation: 1824
Originally Posted by theoldnorthstate View Post

For those of you retirees who live in an apartment or condo, how is that going for you?

Am currently in a SFR but will be selling out and moving near family. I would like to go the apartment or condo route but not sure I can pull it off practically speaking. And I am used to my own house.

It is all tradeoffs and dollars, so I just wonder how you all have done with it at this point.
When the pets are gone, I intend to sell the big surburban house and buy a condo or rent one in an east coast city.

The thing I worry about with owning is having to share decisions, particularly financial ones, with others. I've never even had to share decisions with a spouse, let alone some crazy unit owner who thinks very different from me financially.

On the other hand, renting dramatically increases my cash flow needs, and most of my financial planning has revolved around driving yearly expenses down.

As far as lifestyle goes, I won't miss the big house. Never even cared to buy one until it became impossible to rent with large dogs.
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