Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Why I hate living in a condo...

Living in a condo/townhouse sucks. I'm glad for the anonymity of this blog because I can say what I really think. We bought this townhouse because we were tired of condo living and this was the next step up. We could not afford a single family home anywhere near the city, and this was a compromise.

But anyway, we need to repair the retaining wall holding up the parking pad of our townhouse. We don't park there, the neighbors do, but it's association business. The problem is that everyone has different financial situations and different ideas about how to handle this project. So tomorrow night we are meeting to discuss two different options and the costs. Also we need to decide when should people pay. This will not be a pretty discussion.

A second topic under discussion is the fact DH and I flooded the lower unit with a pipe burst in January. We were gone to my grandfather's funeral and though the heat was on, it got really cold and a pipe burst. So we submitted it to insurance and turns out instead of our personal insurance being charged, the master condo insurance is having to take the claim because of our condo by-laws. Yep it won't be on our record so when we move we'll be claim free. Also we only pay 40% of the deductible instead of the entire thing, not exactly fair, but I'm not sure what we'll end up doing. So another issue to argue about tomorrow.

Third we have to discuss the fees for our 3 home association. Part of the problem is one of the tenants hasn't paid his dues since August. This confrontation about paying it will again be horrible. Arm-twisting someone for money is never fun.

All these issues combined along with many other issues have caused us to hate living in our townhouse. This is the 5th year we've lived in a townhouse/condo and we're ready for a single family home. Of course that probably is another 3-5 years out from now so we'll have to deal until them.

My advice live somewhere cheap, such that you can afford a single family home. We have lived in 2 out of the 5 most expensive RE markets in the US and it's not fun. But hopefully we're on track to get into a single family because we're building equity by paying down the mortgage and slow appreciation.


Matt said...

Stay out of HOA markets too, or you'll just be trading your condo-board problems for HOA-board problems that look and quack exactly the same.

Honestly I can't see why anyone buys such properties. You get all the hassle and interference and lack-of-privacy of renting, but at a higher cost. Gee, what a deal...NOT.

Living Almost Large said...

We have lived in a condo since 2002. DH was on our old HOA board which was a 114 unit condo complex.

We knew we were going to be in trouble when we bought this condo. Condos are always more trouble than it would seem.

But there is a reason why people buy condos, especially where we've lived. They are cheap. Well relatively speaking.

You still pay $200-300k for a 1 bd condo, but it's certainly cheaper than the $750k price tag on SFH in our area. Average SFH in SD was $675k and that was a larger area, but if you looked more exclusively where we would want to live, it would have been $800k+.

There is no way living the top 5 cities in US (SF, NY, LA/OC/SD, DC, Boston) that you can afford a single family home on your first purchase without having saved for 10+ years or help from others. No way.

That being said buying a condo and trading up by building equity is the way to go. We bought young and are now able to afford a townhouse where we live.

So I hate condo living, but it's a compromise based on where I've chosen to live thus far. Hopefully when we move one day we can easily afford a home for less than we'll sell our townhouse for.

limeade said...

I hate it when I see the HOA fees go to pay for stupid things. Out little community on one street has a christmas decorating contest and a halloween pumpkin carving contest and they give out cash prizes and things.

Why am I paying for that? Maybe they should trim the trees or beautify the neighborhood a little.


Zachary said...

We live in an apartment and someone from upstairs vomited onto our patio last night. It is definitely time to get out of the apartment/condo lifestyle!

Anonymous said...

I'm with you. I have lived in a small one bedroom condo in the DC market for the past 4 years now and can't stand it - so much bull shit.

Living Almost Large said...

Anonymous, I agree fully, but living in expensive markets is not condusive to moving.

condo manila said...

I love to live in a condo but when I read your post, now I don't. Great blog in here.

Deirdre G

Anonymous said...

I hear you...I hate living in our townhouse. At the begining things were good, but politics have taken over. After 4 years here, we're nearly ready to move, we just have to find a home that we can afford with what we'll get for this place. Hang in there.

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