Darryl Carter - Modern Condo Design

Darryl Carter – Modern Condo Design Found on elledecor.com

The growing trend towards condo living comes at no surprise, especially since condos offer a budget friendly option compared to costs of owning a house. Condos also offer so many more conveniences, such as optimal locations to metro stations, downtown living, and access to entertainment and other amenities.

While it is true that condominium living comes with perks, it also has it’s drawbacks.  The following will reveal the benefits of living in a condominium complex along with the difficulties that come with sharing a property:

Condo Association Fees

Condos appeal to many buyers because the property is shared, and the upkeep isn’t something they have to worry about. This makes it possible for condo owners to live in luxurious settings, such as an oceanfront property or a complex in most desired areas of a busy city in a semi affordable way without having to lift a finger.

Additional monthly fees, better known as condo fees come with condo living. These fees can be really high, especially if the condo has many facilities that require maintenance.

Fees often cover expenses such as landscaping, property and liability insurance for the building’s exterior and common areas.  This also includes certain utilities, such as the water or electricity used in common areas. Condominium fees often do NOT cover insurance for individually owned units. Developments with swimming pools, tennis courts, and fitness centers will have higher maintenance and liability costs.  Large, multi-level developments – with elevators, fire suppression systems and extensive HVAC systems – may also result in higher condominium fees.

  • Prior to making an offer on a condominium unit, it is important to investigate the development’s condominium FEE HISTORY. This will give you an idea how much the fees have increased over time, and what to expect when you move in.
  • Compare the development’s fees to others in the area.  If the fees seem to be lower than all the others in the area, the development could be behind in repairs.
  • Fees could be lower when developments first hit the market.  Lower fees entice buyers while the developers sell the units, but once the property is turned over to the condominium association, the fees could  significantly increase.

The price of the unit itself may be low, but the monthly fees may be more than what your budget can accommodate.  At times condominium fees may be equal to or greater than the mortgage itself.

Special Assessments Are Above And Beyond Monthly Fees

A percentage your monthly fees may be placed in the development’s reserves. These funds are often used to pay for expenses such as replacing the roof, painting the exterior and general yearly upkeep.  IF a reserve fund is not large enough to cover these expenses, unit owners may be charged a special assessment to help cover the costs.

These “special assessments” can range from one hundred to several thousand dollars depending on the project.  Rising insurance costs can drain a development’s reserve funds, as this has become an increasing problem for those who are near the coastlines and are often hit by hurricanes or earthquakes.

Less Maintenance

One of the most attractive perks that come with condominium living is its ease of maintenance. Most people choose condo living because of their access gyms, pools and hot tubs.  The best part of it, is you don’t have to clean these areas, or maintain them yourself.  Condo living can be compared to hotel living.  In addition, if you’re having trouble with your heating or water pipes, an electrician or plumber can be sent for you at no cost.

Controlling Condo Associations

Convenience does comes at a cost: more restrictions.  Sharing a property with many other unit owners also means you cannot alter your own home unless it is approved by the members of the homeowners’ association.   This means that you cannot pick out the types of plants that are seen in the gardens, nor can you paint the exterior of your unit the color you please. The layout of the condo for the most part doesn’t change.  In many cases, condo complexes also limit pet ownership, and the number of people who can live within your dwelling, or what you can do in your interior.

The Horror of Homeowners’ Associations – Gawker

5 Real-Life HOA ‘Horror Stories’ | Zillow Blog

Home Owner Association Horror Stories | San Diego Reader

-What are your Home-Owners Association (HOA) Reddit

Close Community Living

Many people enjoy being a part of a tight-knit community. Who wouldn’t enjoy meeting up with a friend to work out with, or an afternoon of great conversation with a couple in the pool or garden over an afternoon of cocktails?  You can easily make friends in a condo setting, and help is within reach if you need it. Those who work full time, leaving for a vacation isn’t a problem.   There would be almost zero chance of break-ins, or pipes breaking without someone noticing.

Less Privacy

On the other hand, not all people you will meet will become pleasant neighbors.  You may have a neighbor that’s too loud,a couple with small loud kids.  You may live across someone who enjoys cooking with smelly herbs that leak into the hallway and make you gag.  Tenants may like to look into your mail because neighbors like to pry. You may hear couples fighting, or loud tv or music.  People also like to work out in their homes, or do repairs beyond midnight.  Perhaps you are the type of person who keeps to yourself, and also doesn’t like to be social ….  condo living might not be for you.

Does A Condo Work For You?

Are you a busy professional that jets from one place to the next?  Condos would provide that stable living that gives you almost no obligation to keep up with the lawn or the weeds that we all have to battle through the summer months.

Are you older in your years, and want to avoid the shoveling of snow through the winter?  Condos, might be a way for you to start enjoying life than maintaining your home over the weekends.  You can leave for vacations, road trips, and not worry about your home.

Are you a social butterfly?  If you like company, a condo might be good for you.  On the other hand, if you enjoy your privacy, condo living might be unnerving.

If you find yourself on a limited budget, be sure to expect costs to pop up from time to time living in a condo.  Be sure before you get into a condo, that you can sell it when it comes time to leave.  Is it marketable, in a great location?  Ask yourself all these questions before deciding on condo living.

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