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Old 10-27-2007, 06:03 PM
73 posts, read 487,474 times
Reputation: 31


Would like to hear what you guys think about these options. I'm 25 years old looking to get a place within the 5-10 mile radius of Columbia. This probably includes EC/Columbia/Elkridge/Laurel. At first I had my heart set on a townhouse w/garage, but now I'm afraid that there won't be a decent enough option for under 350k. Recently I started thinking that perhaps a condo wouldn't be such a bad idea. I could probably save myself a good chunk of money, give up the yard that I don't care about anyway, and get a "better" location. Is it safe to say that I can probably save +50k by going to condo route while getting a "better" location and possibly a more enhanced interior? This is my first purchase so please throw all thoughts at me, even the most elementary. I know that by going to condo way there are condo fees to deal with, but I am under the impression that it works itself out due to the cheaper home insurance and property taxes. I have a garage requirement, I have a car that I race that I swap tires on often as well as change oil for example. Is that something that would be permissible in a condo type garage?

Obvious cons for me are that there is probably more noise in a condo, I couldn't have a grill on the deck, and my garage can't be accessed from the living space. The pros are that I really don't need much space, much rather have a nicer interior, have a better location, and save some money.

Anyway, I'm open to all thoughts, pros and cons.

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Old 10-27-2007, 07:49 PM
339 posts, read 1,415,526 times
Reputation: 239
Originally Posted by ChosenGSR View Post
I know that by going to condo way there are condo fees to deal with
Even if you are in a townhome, chances are you will have a hoa (home owners association) fee. Some Single family home communities will have a hoa too so you should be sure to check about this no matter which route you go.
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Old 10-28-2007, 08:20 AM
Location: Howard County
72 posts, read 420,100 times
Reputation: 22
jaindow is right. Communities with ammenities such as a club house and pool also tend to have high HOAs and condo fees.

As far as your garage requirement, as long as it's all self contained in your own garage, you shouldn't have any problem. But I'd read the HOA/condo rules very carefully before I purchased, to be sure. Actually, you want to read those rules carefully anyway, as they will dictate other things, such as appearance of the exterior of your home (paint colors on door and trim, what you are allowed to do with the exterior without getting approval from the HOA, etc.).

Personally, I believe location is just as important as the actual amenities of a property. So if you can only afford a condo, but it's in a nicer area than a townhome, then go for the condo.

One more thing, no matter where you want to live, ALWAYS scout it out at various times of the day to get an idea of the kind of area it is. Many condos and townhomes are rented, especially in this real estate market. I'm not making any blanket judgement of the people who rent, but in some cases, these properties are not as maintained as others. To avoid this situation, I'd look for a place that has a STRONG HOA/condo association. To some people, these organizations are a pain with annoying rules, but after living in a place with NO HOA, I can appreciate living in a place that has a strong HOA. They can keep folks "in line" with fees, and sometimes even liens on their property.

Hope this helps!
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