Should I buy a house or condo?

  1. I have never bought a house or condo. I have no "handyman skills." Now that I am older, I am thinking of buying some property and settling down. I have heard that if you buy a condo, you can get someone else to take care of the yard and maintenance problems. I have also heard that some condos don't allow pets. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I have heard that houses and condos in West Virginia are not so expensive. Thanks:smilecoffeecup:
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  2. 32 Comments

  3. by   firstaiddave907
    I would go and call a local realtor and ask them some of the questions and they should point you in the right driection or you could go online and search for information on condos and houses and how much they are.

    good luck on your search
  4. by   TazziRN
    All the condo complexes I know of around here allow pets, but they may have restrictions....such as no dogs roaming the property. The inside of the condo is yours, just like buying a house. Small dogs can be trained to a litter box so they don't have to go outside all the time.

    That said, if I were alone I would get a condo. Less upkeep because there are others to do it for you.
  5. by   Blackcat99
    Thanks firstaiddave and Tazzi. Yes, I think a condo might be best for me. I just want to make sure my 2 senior cats always have a home. From what I've been told, all the condo owners put their money together and that's how they pay for the maintenance etc. I guess everyone pays monthly for this service. I hope it's not too expensive. I have been told to beware of what a realtor might tell you. I have been told that they will tell you anything (lie) to get you to buy property.
  6. by   donsterRN
    Quote from Blackcat99
    Thanks firstaiddave and Tazzi. Yes, I think a condo might be best for me. I just want to make sure my 2 senior cats always have a home. From what I've been told, all the condo owners put their money together and that's how they pay for the maintenance etc. I guess everyone pays monthly for this service. I hope it's not too expensive. I have been told to beware of what a realtor might tell you. I have been told that they will tell you anything (lie) to get you to buy property.
    I suppose that's true of some people in the business, but as with any professional, you'll find people of high caliber and you'll find those who shouldn't be in business. This is an instance where it really pays to shop around. Get some referrals from your friends, family and coworkers. Ask what they liked and didn't like about their realtor and real estate experience. Then, call some agencies and meet some sales agents and brokers and interview them. Often, your first gut instinct will tell you if you have a good match. But I think it's a mistake to reject EVERYTHING a realtor will tell you; their livelihood depends on your satisfaction.

    That said, I like the idea of condo living. Most condos have some sort of owners association that collects dues monthly, quarterly or annually to pay for the common area upkeep, like lawn maintenance or snow removal. The downside is that sometimes you're restricted from doing much to the exterior of your home (painting and/or ornamentation), and you'll be sharing a wall with someone. Noise can sometimes be a factor. But to have things taken care of for you can be a huge plus. And I don't know a single condo association here that wouldn't allow cats, so hopefully, your furbabies will be OK!

    Good luck!
  7. by   llg
    I am single, aged 51, and I live in a condo because I didn't want to have to worry about mowing the lawn, etc. I also like the added security of living a building with a locked door, neighbors who know each other, an onsite maintance person to be here to sign for any packages delivered and let repairmen etc. in and out. Finally, I love the fact that I could get "more home for the money" with a condo. I could afford a condo on the water with a great view ... but could never have afforded a house in such a nice location.

    However ... the very big down side is that the monthly maintanence fee can be very high and I have to live with the decisions made by the condo association as a whole rather than have the freedom to make all the decisions myself. It's nice to have other people to share the responsibility for maintaining the building, the parking lot, etc. ... but it doesn't come free. I may save on having to pay someone to mow the lawn for me or shovel the snow or repair the front steps ... but I do pay monthly fees to cover the costs of those things ... and I have to live with (and pay for) the decisions of the group which may not be in sync with my preferences. I've served on my condo association board of directors, and believe me, it can get very political as not everyone has the same opinion about how much money to spend on making the condo community "luxurious" vs "basic."

    Also, don't forget that major repairs to the building or updates may be needed and the owners may have to chip in additional money to pay for those things -- just like you would have to pay for fixing your roof or water sealing a deck, etc. if you owned a single-family home. Some people forget to budget for these sorts of things, assuming that their monthly maintanence fee will always cover everything. It usually covers the small stuff, but not always the major repairs or replacement.

    Before I bought my condo 8 years ago, I bought a few books on the subject and read up the whole condo vs house decision. I went to Amazon.com and easily found a whole bunch of relevant books on the topic (with titles such as "How to Buy a Condo". The books really helped me a lot and walked me through the decision. I also used a "buyers agent" as realator -- an agent that represented me and me alone in the transaction and who did not represent the seller.

    Good luck,
    llg
  8. by   Sheri257
    I'll never go condo again. People with nothing better to do are always telling you what to do with your property.

    Yes, it's nice to have the yard work done, etc. But these associations are a royal pain. I wanted to put a laundry in my unit, instead of hauling the laundry up and down stairs. They wouldn't let me do it, even though I offered to pay extra fees.

    Same thing applies to homeowner's associations. A friend of mine wanted to put a tool shed in her back yard. They wouldn't let her do it.

    And pets? Maybe they allow pets now but, they can change their mind at any time and there's nothing you can do about it.

    I'll never get into a situation again where people can tell me what to do with my own property.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Jan 27, '07
  9. by   CritterLover
    Quote from lizz
    i'll never go condo again. people with nothing better to do are always telling you what to do with your property.

    yes, it's nice to have the yard work done, etc. but these associations are a royal pain. i wanted to put a laundry in my unit, instead of hauling the laundry up and down stairs. they wouldn't let me do it, even though i offered to pay extra fees.

    same thing applies to homeowner's associations. a friend of mine wanted to put a tool shed in her back yard. they wouldn't let her do it.

    and pets? maybe they allow pets now but, they can change their mind at any time and there's nothing you can do about it.

    i'll never get into a situation again where people can tell me what to do with my own property.

    :typing

    :yeahthat:
    i was single and in my mid 20's when i took a deep breath and bought a house. i considered a condo, but opted for the house for the above reasons.

    i also didn't like the idea of sharing walls with others. i was working nights at the time, and didn't like having to tip-toe around on my nights off, lest i wake up the people who lived in the apt next to mine. couldn't vacuum on my nights off, either.

    as for maintenence, buying a fairly new house will help with minimizing that. (though nothing will eliminate the need for repairs).
  10. by   CHATSDALE
    this is kinda like asking should you marry joe or bob...get all the facts and do what you think is best for you
    if you like to putter around outside and/or have holiday decorations being in a condo would be iffy
    hoa fees, like the poor are with you always, but if you opt for a house yu will have to replace, repair, mow and shovel even into your old and decrepit years
    read the fine print, some condos cover everything up 'to the eaves' if you have a leak you have to replace roof but you have to do so in a way as not to be a 'distraction' to the other co-owners...
    it is nice to come home from a vacation, traveling assignment etc and find the lawn mowed and leaves picked up flowers blooming according to the season

    good luck
  11. by   Fun2, RN, BSN
    Buy a house.....


    1. You can hire a local teen to mow, etc.
    2. You have a place for your pets to roam.
    3. You might as well live in an apt if you're going to buy a condo as far as privacy and noise are concerned.
    Last edit by Fun2, RN, BSN on Jan 28, '07
  12. by   Blackcat99
    Thanks all for your wonderful advice. Maybe I better re-think about getting a condo. I do want to be able to do my vacuuming at midnight. I might want to have a shed in my yard someday. I really don't want to share a wall. I am thinking now that I should find a house without a homeowner's association attached to it. Yes, if I buy property I really want the freedom to do what I want. And yes, what if the condo association decided to start a no pets policy!!!!!Thanks so much for your personal stories. I hope it will not be too hard to find a house that has no homeowner's association included.
  13. by   Fun2, RN, BSN
    A subdivision with a HOA is a good idea, but be very careful to the fine lines when reading the rules.

    1. Are the fees mandatory, and are they reasonable?
    2. Does it spell out what the fees are used for?
    3. What are the limititations? ....Things that I CAN'T do?


    (Many HOA's do not allow you to have your own pool...A real downer to me. Many do not allow campers or boats to be parked in your driveway or the street.....etc.)
  14. by   Sheri257
    Quote from Fun2Care
    A subdivision with a HOA is a good idea, but be very careful to the fine lines when reading the rules.

    1. Are the fees mandatory, and are they reasonable?
    2. Does it spell out what the fees are used for?
    3. What are the limititations? ....Things that I CAN'T do?


    (Many HOA's do not allow you to have your own pool...A real downer to me. Many do not allow campers or boats to be parked in your driveway or the street.....etc.)
    There's a lot of downside with homeowner's associations. If they don't like the way your house or yard looks, even the paint color, they can make you change it.

    Even worse ... my friend decided to rent her house out for a year. Even though the rentors were paying the association fee, they insisted that she also pay the association fee since she supposedly still had access to amenities like the club house, etc.

    Of course, she was living two hours away but, they didn't care. Basically, they were double billing her, and there was nothing she could do about it. A total ripoff.

    :typing

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