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Old 10-07-2014, 11:13 AM   #41
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We loved condo life prior to the arrival of our son. We moved so he could have land to play on and more kids around. There's nothing scary about condo life, as long as you research it prior to jumping in.


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Old 10-07-2014, 02:25 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Tree-dweller View Post
We are kinda/sorta looking at condos (i.e. being lookie-loos at open houses) because we would consider it a treat to move from a close suburb sfh to our oceanside dream location. But I admit I am scared off by the great unkown (to me) of condo living. Articles like this don't help: Home sweet hell: Falling into the condo trap - The Boston Globe

We visited an open house recently for a "penthouse" condo (i.e. the top floor of a converted four-family) at a beach location. Nice view, with another buildings parking lot the only thing between the condo and the water. When I expressed concern that the view could be ruined if that parking lot was developed, the respone was "Oh, that won't happen they need the parking". When I asked what happens when a dispute arises about needed maintenance when there is an even number of 4 units in the building, the response was " I don't know, that hasn't happened before". I bid them good-day. I realise the potential losing the view issue is more a general buyer beware concern, but the thought of sometime down the road being in a 2 against 2 (or worse 3 against me) over some special assessment gives me the willies. Is the grass always greener? At least you don't have to cut it, I suppose.
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Just read that article. Another reason why I will never buy a condo.
Tree-good instincts to avoid the "unknowns" from your evidently incompetent open house host. But, this experience shouldn't turn you off looking for what you want.

DW and I have moved a lot in the past 30 yrs, SFH, townhomes, and condos included, and we haven't found your open house experience or the Boston article to be the norm. I don't know that we're experts but, we do have a lot of data points from coast to coast and in between. We've lived in 14 different homes during that period, 4 SFHs and 10 Condos/THs, owning 5 of them (2 SFHs, 1 TH, and 2 Condos). All of the Condos/THs were in HOAs. We've had the occassional 'discussion' with a neighbor about noise but, have never experienced the hostage taking events described in the Boston article, which is certainly not the norm. In fact, I think the Boston article is a good illustration that dumb (dumb=ill informed) choices should be avoided. The first lessons one learns when buying into a HOA are: there's safety in numbers (>50 units is desired), and study the HOA rules and finances. These two basic rules will help one avoid virtually all nightmares; not all but, virtually all.

So, I'd suggest you not limit yourself to SFHs if you really want what a condo/TH provides; just do your homework.
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Old 10-07-2014, 02:59 PM   #43
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Just read that article. Another reason why I will never buy a condo.
The first lessons one learns when buying into a HOA are: there's safety in numbers (>50 units is desired), and study the HOA rules and finances. These two basic rules will help one avoid virtually all nightmares; not all but, virtually all.

So, I'd suggest you not limit yourself to SFHs if you really want what a condo/TH provides; just do your homework.
Yeah, I subscribe to that "more is better" POV. I see all these converted 2- or 3- or 4-family buildings and wonder how often / quickly enemies are made. You are right: you must do your homework.
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Old 10-07-2014, 07:16 PM   #44
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We have downsized from about 3000 SF SFH to a 1600SF SFH rental. Forced us to get rid of a lot of crap which was not as hard as I feared it might be. Also forced some asset allocation changes. New place is OK but doubt I would buy in this neiborhood. No privacy, parking is tight and noise is a moderate problem. Great for the time being because at this point we don't know what we want next, where? or when we will pull the trigger on Fire. Stuck in several mental ruts, particularly OMY and would like the luxery of seeing where the kids put down roots before considering buying again.
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Old 10-08-2014, 11:20 AM   #45
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Yeah, I subscribe to that "more is better" POV. I see all these converted 2- or 3- or 4-family buildings and wonder how often / quickly enemies are made. You are right: you must do your homework.
That's why I doubt I will ever live in a city like San Francisco, or anywhere else where condos are so prevalent. Not just from the noisy neighbor issues, but from the standpoint that so many in SF are small buildings.

If I did ever buy such a thing, I'd have to be a > 50% owner so at least I'd have a better chance of dictating terms. That means I could probably only buy the larger unit in a 2-unit building. And it would have to be an upper floor unit because I refuse to live underneath somebody (again, bad past history with noisy upstairs neighbors).

But given all my prejudices against shared wall ownership, I seriously doubt I'd ever buy such a thing because when I buy a house, it has to feel "right" to me, and I've never felt a condo, townhome, or apartment is "right" for me.
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Old 10-08-2014, 12:30 PM   #46
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...I will never buy a condo.
+1 DW sold condos for a number of years. Her stories of HOA member egos, fights, poor decision-making, etc. will mean no condo for us ever. Rent? Sure. Buy? Never.

We're currently downsizing, but only to a less expensive house since we've never owned a large home.
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Old 10-09-2014, 06:15 PM   #47
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We downsized as a part of our move, from 3000 sf to 912 sf. Loving it. The more space you have, the easier it is to let cleaning tasks back up. Now no yard (yay!), no car (double yay!) and we have room for everything we could ever actually NEED.
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Old 10-09-2014, 06:23 PM   #48
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We haven't downsized yet, but I will have a hard time adjusting to it if I don't get a workshop in the deal. The yard, car, boats, big house, and most of my stuff can go, but I have to have tools and a place for woodworking.
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Old 10-09-2014, 06:26 PM   #49
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We haven't downsized yet, but I will have a hard time adjusting to it if I don't get a workshop in the deal. The yard, car, boats, big house, and most of my stuff can go, but I have to have tools and a place for woodworking.
There is no rule that says the workshop or garage has to get downsized. Only the main living areas!
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Old 10-09-2014, 09:14 PM   #50
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Ok thanks! I was worried about that!


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