To keep it 100, I’m going to be brutally honest about my situation with buying a condo.
In August 2017, I bought my condo and it was the best decision back then. Everything was updated besides the appliances and I had much more space than in an apartment. Plus, no pet rent which is a biggie.
I was over the moon because it was just me and my dog.
But, I’ve learned a lot when it comes to my condo. Like, sending a billion emails to my HOA and management company when I need something done. Or dealing with someone else’s schedule when it comes to snow removal.
There are pros and cons to everything.
I know my first place isn’t my forever home — I need a backyard and tons of space with Chase and Cannon.
My experience with this place has taught me a lot, thankfully. I know what I like and don’t like and I know what I will tolerate and what I won’t.
Fingers crossed, I’m in a house in a year.
Positives of a Condo
There are a handful of positives when it comes to a condo. They’re perfect for many people especially the people that have lived in my community for 10+ years.
Outside Work is Handled
This is probably my favorite thing about my condo. I hated shoveling snow as a child and that thought of doing it with my own home is annoying. Total first world problem, I know. My outside work is always handled. The snow is removed by a company and the paths are shoveled which means I don’t have to do much. At least, the first year I didn’t. The second year, we switched to a new company of slackers who did it every so often. But, it’s a positive especially when you have a dependable team.
This is first because not everyone is a fan of yard work. I don’t mind it but I dread thinking about how I would have had to cut grass if my first investment was a house. I’m not good at cutting the grass — ask my dad. I’m the only kid that cut the grass like three times and was never told to do it again. Landscapers should be doing it all. From cutting the grass to trimming your bushes and edging the grass. They’re in charge of the garden, as well.
Pool & Gym Amenities
If you’re like me, you don’t want to buy a membership to something that you won’t always use. I’m terrible at getting to the gym especially with a baby. Before Cannon, I was somewhat dedicated and went in the mornings or evenings to LA Fitness. I loved LA Fitness but I didn’t love the payment. And, I’m not a person to pay for a pool membership. I’ve always lived in a complex with a pool or visited a friend who had a pool. With my condo, both of these amenities are paid for in my HOA so I have access whenever. It’s in walking distance and I don’t have to worry about it being crowded because a lot of people aren’t using the gym (including myself in that lot!).
Rent it Out
The one thing to consider if you can’t sell it is to rent it our or AirBnB your spot. I bought in a pretty popular area — the condos sell fast and the Columbus market is wild right now. If I were to struggle when it comes to selling it, I would rent it out as many do in my neighborhood. It’s a great investment and a stream of income for me. My advice would be to match the rental market with the cost but consider the amenities your condominium offers compared to an apartment complex. My condo is pretty affordable compared to the apartments they are throwing up in this city. At the end of the day, there’s nothing wrong with utilizing investment homes.
Negatives of a Condo
Your Homeowners Association controls a lot, including the budget which could inflate your HOA fee. Since I have lived in my community, mine has gone up twice. From $186 to $202 and I wouldn’t be surprised if it continued to go up. The one thing I think that bothers me is the HOA doesn’t reflect within the community. You might have a wonderful management company or you might have one that does half of their job. I have a pretty mediocre management company with pretty good coordinators but the people they have hired to take care of things are not great. That’s where I don’t see the HOA reflect within the community.
Yes, I love to blast my music but I don’t like to scream outside between the hours of 2 am to 4 am. Unfortunately, I moved across the street from a guy that would get drunk and argue with his many girlfriends. It’s terrible and I’ve been tempted to call security on him but I don’t want to be that person. It has been better — I think he’s AirBnB-ing his home so he hasn’t been there and I’ve been able to get some sleep. Just remember your condo will be attached to someone else’s condo. Not fun if you live next door to a lady that will only talk to you when she has to yell at someone taking “her” parking spot. Other than that, she screams in her home throughout the day and it’s pretty irksome and worrisome.
I don’t want to say that everyone is in your business but there are a few people that just peek out their windows and watch people. Weird and I know that could happen with a home but still, so weird. Attached walls limit your privacy because people can hear your conversations and know what is going on in your life. I’m sure my neighbors have heard Chase and I argue and all of Chase’s phone calls because he’s always on the phone. Attached walls are no bueno.
The one thing that irks me is that it can take your HOA forever to replace something that is broken in the gym. Or, they just might never replace it which is what I have to deal with on my end. Other than that, our community trash compactor breaks once a month. You would think they would come up with a better solution since people just pile up their trash rather than find another trash compactor but yeah. This is a big issue and irritation of mine. You could avoid it all with a house and a membership to the gym because the management of those companies will always be on it.
At the end of the day,
You need to budget for what you can afford and what you can tolerate.
I would never turn my nose up at the thought of buying a condo because it’s given me my first taste of ownership and I love my place.
When it comes to buying something like a condo, home, or car, I think you should evaluate everything and not just rush into it. It’s never a good idea to rush into anything.
With my condo, I started looking in April/May and I finally found a place that I liked until the end of June and I didn’t move in until August because it’s a process. Always remember that. Don’t get your hopes up because of one place.
My experience will never be someone else’s experience. Maybe a condo is an investment home for some or ideal for others that want to keep a small family — that’s perfectly fine.
I have no real bad thoughts on condos overall. All communities are different and offer different things.
It’s really up to you and your preference. What do you want to do?