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The Ups and Downs of Buying a Condo

A condo lifestyle is not for everyone. The pros and cons of buying a condo need to be considered along with your personal preferences. Let’s start with all the reasons why you may be headed toward condo-living.

Just a couple of decades ago, buying a condo was the logical step for many empty-nesters and retirees looking to downsize and live a simpiler lifestyle. Condominiums catering to the 55 and over crowd are continuing to pop up around beaches, golf courses, and like communities all over the country. While there are still many reasons to consider buying a condominium it is important to understand how condo living differs from standard homeownership.

A condo lifestyle is not for everyone. The pros and cons of buying a condo need to be considered along with your personal preferences. Let’s start with all the reasons why you may be headed toward condo-living.

Condominiums are often located in prime living areas, places where single dwelling homes may be too expensive. Condo communities can be found on sandy beaches, in the heart of some of Americas greatest cities, or perched lakeside in a sleepy community. Golf lovers can find condos situated right on the 1st hole of some of their favorite courses.
Buying a condo means never having to push a lawnmower again. Maintenance is a big plus for many retirees that opt for the condo-lifestyle. Similar to living in an apartment setting, condo owners usually have maintenance crews available to fix issues like leaky faucets, burned-out street lamps, and even landscaping. A yearly homeowners fee is required to cover some of these costs.

Amenities are often the biggest draw for anyone interested in buying a condominium. Many condo complexes, especially those considered retirement communities, will offer golf, a media room, tennis courts, swimming, and regular community events. Condominiums situated in an active retirement community may provide access to even more recreational options like bike trails, bowling, fitness classes, and walking clubs.

Before you lace up your golf shoes and put a down payment on a new condominium it is time to consider the pitfalls of buying a condo. For starters, owning a condo is not like owning your own home. When you purchase a condominium you are only buying the space inside the walls of your unit. The actual building and all of the land is considered community property. That means they may be restrictions on what you can do to the landscaping around your unit as well as to the unit itself. So, if you had envisioned puttering in the garden or tinkering around the house during your retirement years you will want to avoid condominiums.

If you are also fond of the phrase, good fences build good neighbors, then community living may not be your cup of tea. Condos bring people together to create a close-knit community. You will share common areas with all of the other condo owners and even share walls with some of your neighbors.

Resale value is another legitimate concern for seniors that are considering buying a condo. Condos tend to spend more time on the market and do not enjoy the same appreciation potential as a single-dwelling home. An economic downturn will have greater impact on condominium prices. The good news is that location and amenities can help make up for some of this.

In the end, choosing to buy a condominium is about personal preferences. Low-to-no maintenance and the resort lifestyle may be exactly how you want to spend your golden years. Cons, such as low resale value, can be turned into pros when you are on the purchasing side of the equation. With so many condominium based retirement communities chances are you can find a place that meets your needs while also fulfilling many of your desires.

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