by Glenda Brass, MBA
In a previous issue, I discussed H.R.3700—Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016—and how it will impact condominium purchases. (Update: It was presented to the President as of July 19. It’s now just a matter of time). Now, I’d like to give a little attention to some of the pros and cons of living in a condo. This will give you a slightly better understanding as to whether condos are a good fit for you and your family.
Size – In general, the size of a condo is limited. Or course this is not always the case – there are plenty of condos that have square footage to spare. However, condominiums are forced to build up more than out and you can expect them to be smaller on average.
Maintenance – This is another area where some buyers actually prefer condos – especially older buyers that no longer feel up to keeping a yard. The dues you pay usually cover the maintenance of the grounds, with the exception of any patio or balcony you have attached to your individual unit.
Home Owners Association (HOA) dues and Financial Health – When you own a condo, you pay fees to an HOA that cover the things you share with the other owners, such as landscaping, water, repairs, pool, sauna, security, trash, fitness center, and other amenities.
The drawback to having an HOA is that some owners may become delinquent which can affect the overall financial health of the association and may result in hefty special assessments that can put a strain on your pocketbook. You may also experience increases in the dues payments over time that can increase your overall monthly payment.
CC&R’s – When you purchase a condo, make certain to thoroughly review their covenants, codes, and restrictions (CC&R’s) to see exactly what you can and can’t do. When you live in a condo, there are rules that you have to abide by. Some of these rules may or may not be comfortable to you, but must be followed. Rules like, no screen doors, or pets, or swamp coolers, or things hanging from your balcony. With a condo there can be age, pet, and rental restrictions, which can be a good or bad thing, depending on the individual. Bottom line, you agree to abide by the rules and they are legally enforceable!
Privacy – Units in a condominium shares space with other units by definition. This is a major point to consider. If you value privacy and want space from your neighbors this may not be the best option because owning a condo is more like owning an apartment with rules. If you don’t like your next door neighbor…oh well!
Frills – A condo may afford you the ability to have frills you may not otherwise be able to afford like a pool, clubhouse, gym, tennis courts, recreation room for parties, security, etc.
Overall, condo living can actually be enjoyable. My daughter lives in a condo and has shared rich, enjoyable relationships with some of the other owners. From time to time, however, there is a “falling out” due to the close quarters. Other times owners may not be completely on board with the decisions made by the HOA Board, which is comprised of other owners and outside management. There are both advantages and disadvantages. But, all in all, it is still one of the best options for affordability and purchase ease for most first time or down-sizing buyers.
Glenda Brass has been in the real estate industry for over 16 years. She is CEO of Brass & Brass Enterprises, LLC, located at 2639 W. Manchester Blvd. For more information on buying, selling, or renovating real estate call Glenda at 310-345-9707 or 323-905-1111.