Saturday, May 21, 2011

BUYING A HOME: Pros and Cons of Living in a Condo

Ready to look for a new place to live? Maybe you're tired of renting, or recently got rid of some stuff and want to scale down your living quarters. Moving to a condo seems the logical solution after the kids have grown and left, or if you've graduated from college and want to start small. There are pros and cons to living in a condo, some of which are covered here:

Pros of Living in a Condo

1) Security. Condominium complexes often offer security services, whether it's a gated property with hired guards, or closed circuit cameras monitoring the property 24/7. You may feel safer in a condo knowing the property managers keep watch.

2) Amenities. To entice residents, condo complexes will offer features like a swimming pool, fitness center, and a clubhouse for hosting events. Some communities may also host social events throughout the year so you can get to know your neighbors.

3) Upgrades. Newer condo communities are typically built with more innovative appliances and fixtures. You may also have options to customize the way your condo looks by choosing schemes of wallpaper, tile, and carpeting.

4) Convenience. If you plan to scale down, condos offer you a spacious property that isn't overwhelming. You can be comfortable without feeling like you're hoarding everything. Also, complexes these days tend to build shops within their community, so you can walk to the grocery and drugstore.

Cons of Living in a Condo

1) Privacy Issues. Depending on where you live, your condo may be backed up against another one, resulting in zero lot lines. If you have a neighbor who enjoys loud rock music or is always parking in your space, you may have a difficult time adjusting. Of course, bad neighbor risks aren't limited to condos, but the proximity could magnify the headaches.

2) Fees. Condo owners do pay fees to maintain amenities, pay for security and staff. If you're on a budget, you should note whether or not you can manage these payments.

3) Assessments. Most condo complexes are subject to assessments that determine if repairs need to be made. The money to satisfy keeping the condos to code, of course, comes from the residents. Before you buy a condo, be sure it's not about to come up for assessment so you don't get stuck with a large bill.

4) Space. If you prefer large, open spaces, you may find some condo models offer just that, but if you would prefer a grander, gourmet kitchen for your cooking or a garage to hold your lawn equipment, you will want to thoroughly search your options before deciding on a place.

Once you decide on your condo living preference, take the time to explore your options.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on downtown Norfolk condos and Virginia Beach condos.

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