Post # 1
My fiance & I are leaning towards getting a condo instead of a house, for multiple reasons (read below for more). We’re also planning on it being our “forever” home. Has anyone else done this? Do you wish you’d gone with a house? I just can’t shake the feeling that you’re supposed to have a HOUSE to start a family, even though a house probably wouldn’t be the best fit for us personally.
Until about a month ago (we’re looking to buy between this coming fall & the very beginning of 2013, so we’re pre-researching), FH and I thought we would be buying a house. Everyone buys houses. It’s what you buy! However, his mom was talking with us & we realised that it might not be the best fit for us personally, and so we’re considering getting a condo instead. Here’s why:
- FH is severely allergic to dandelions (and he’s asthmatic to boot), so he wouldn’t be able to do yardwork; and I view gardening/weeding/lawn maintenance as a chore, rather than something fun. I’ll also be a nurse as of April, so that means shiftwork (unless I transition into community at some point), which could definitely impact my desire to do anything at all for the yard/exterior/etc.
- Neither of us wants to deal with snow removal or renovations. Ugh.
- We do NOT want to rent (both of us view it as just throwing money away, and we have enough to make a downpayment so why not buy)
- BUT at the same time, we can’t afford a house that will be “nice” enough for FH (he’s very picky…and really, so am I, but I can live with things not being nice, whereas he’ll bitch & whine, LOL), and we CAN afford a “nice” condo
- I am very much stuck on wanting our first home to be our “forever” home, so I don’t want to buy a “starter” home & then move 2-5 years in (I could come around on this one, though, but there’s still the issue that neither FH nor I wants to deal with maintenance)
So it sounds all well & good, right? Just get a condo. Well…I’m having a bit of trouble with it, not because I don’t like condos (love them), but because it just seems…wrong? Everyone buys a house! How do you entertain or have family over for the holidays or have a family of your own in a condo? I know it’s all very POSSIBLE, but gah! My head is swirling!
We have considered townhomes, but we’re wavering. FH definitely does NOT want to live in a duplex-type environment, but if we were to live in a complex where there’s a condo association which enforces yard maintenance/does snow removal/etc., it might be worth it. However, we’d still have to deal with a yard. And both of us like high-rises if we’re going to live around other people much better.
Does anyone here live in a condo? Are you planning staying in one as your “forever” home? Do you/are you planning on starting a family (we want one child)? Do you manage to entertain? My mom says we’ll definitely want a house with a yard once we have a child…have you guys experienced that? Help, please! I really want to be at peace with this decision, but I’m the indecisive type, so I’m agonizing!
ETA: Our “family” plans are one child, a small dog (preferably a Havanese), and possibly a cat.
Post # 3
We currently live in a three bedroom condo with small (and I mean small enough for light gardening/strip of grass) yard that is good enough for our two pomeranians.I consider it perfect for the two of us and would even be okay with a small child.
That being said there are quite a number of families in our complex with multiple children and there is an enormous grassy area with fencing that they play in. I’m sure for some this isn’t ideal but they are super affordable, low maintenance and meet their current needs so its a win/win in my eyes.
Post # 4
@Treejewel19: Do you live on the bottom floor of a high-rise? Or do you have a detatched/townhouse-style condo?
Post # 5
No one *wants* to deal with snow removal and yard work and renovations, but its the accepted trade off and so call pride in ownership… well at least the yard work part, we actually like seeing the direct results of our hard work. I dont think you *need* a house and yard for a family, there are trips downstairs to the yard, down the street to the park. It’s fine to raise a family in a condo/apt.
For us, we definitely did not want a condo. We didnt not want to be at the mercy of the board determining our condo fees. We wanted the freedom to do what we wanted to our property without having to ask permission. And we didnt want to share walls with anyone.
Post # 5
I don’t think there is anything wrong with living in a condo as a “home.” This is a new era, and I think condos make a lot of sense! I would do it. And maybe I will 🙂
Post # 6
There’s definitely nothing wrong with a condo. Keep in mind that there are different types of HOAs, though. Some you pay to enforce the yardwork and some you pay to DO the yardwork. It’s obviously more expensive but don’t write of townhomes just yet, I’d find out a bit more about HOAs in the area you’re looking at.
Post # 7
I bought a combination of the above. It’s a townhouse that belongs to a condo association. It’s big enough that if it turned into a forever home it would be cozy and as a first home it’s low maintenance because of the condo association. The people before us raised 4 kids in this house. We have our own patio and the common grounds are big, grassy, and manicured. And we don’t have to maintain anything, the association hires grounds keepers. Best of both worlds really. And the townhomes we found have super thick walls so we NEVER hear our neighbors.
Maybe the decision would be easier if you didn’t look at it as a starter home or a forever home but rather just your home. Just because it’s a starter home doesn’t mean you have to be out in 2-5 years. Get what you love, get what you can afford.
I think it would also help for you guys to determine what your non-negotiables are. My SO and I are picky as well and we came up with a list of things we wouldn’t sacrifice – closets, patio, nice kitchen. Because be it a condo or house, you still might not find something that has everything on your list but it should at least have your non-negotiables and you should lovei it.
Post # 8
Everyone is different but it seems to me that a condo would suit you and your Fiance better.
My Darling Husband and I went for a house as a yard is important to us and we didn’t want to be attached to anyone but that is personal preference. DH actually likes getting out and mowing the lawn, doing maintanance etc so its not a problem.
My sister and her husband however brought a condo and it suits them perfectly. They didn’t want to be bothered with yard work and they only want 1 child and are more than happy to take their future child down to a park on nice days etc.
Everyone has different opinions on where they want to live and what is best for them. After reading your reasons I would go for a condo if I were you. 🙂
Post # 9
Thanks everyone for your input! : )
For those of you who have a condo/know people who do — are you/they able to entertain at all? Or can they only have teeny tiny parties? The condos we’re looking at are all pretty much over 1000sqft (they range between 900-1500ish, and all are open-concept kitchen/dining/living rooms, so about 1/3-1/2 of the floor plan is available for eating/socializing in). I’m not sure how big the rooms are in the townhomes that I peeked at; most of them don’t have floor plans on the Internet!
Post # 10
@Jenniphyr: We have a single story detached condo…almost like a mini-house at 1,000 square feet. 🙂
Post # 11
I think for you guys a Condo sounds best. 🙂 I know we all think of the white picket fence, single family home with a yard kind of deal. But that’s not for everyone. And let’s be honest, yard work sucks! We got a big lot for our dogs and don’t regret it since they have so much room to play when we go out….but again, yardwork is icky. :p
As far as entertaining, I don’t find that you’ll have any issues size-wise. Maybe parking, but I’m sure there are solutions to that depending on the area. One of our couple friends live in a townhome and had a party of well over 20 and it didn’t feel too terribly cramped. No more cramped than our house would have.
Post # 12
I had a townhouse for 8 years before my Darling Husband and I were married. It was perfect for me as I didn’t have the time or inclination to deal with a yard (the HOA arranged for all yard work). We bought a house a few months after getting married because it was too small for us. One thing I would check on with a condo or townhome is the resale market for them. Here, it isn’t as easy to sell a townhouse or condo as it is a house, so we had a hard time selling it. I don’t think that is the case everywhere though. I would talk to a realtor about that.
Post # 13
My biggest issue with a condo would be neighbors– it’s hard to know before moving in if your upstairs neighbors are loud or stomp around, or the people next door blast the TV early in the morning, or whatever. If, like PP said, they have really good sound proofing, than it’s no issue, but I personally rent in a condo building right now and my upstairs neighbors are SOOOO lound.
Other than that it sounds like a condo would be the right fit for you. As long as you buy big enough for your future plans, sounds ideal. The only downside I see is not being able to just let the (future) dog out in the yard and instead having to go down the elevator to walk him. Same with the baby, but I am pretty sure you have to go outside with them anyway 🙂
We wouldn’t buy a condo because we do want a yard to let the dog out in or for the kids to play ball in, etc, but not until the right time comes.
Post # 14
We live in a condo apartment but it’s not our forever home. I love our little condo, it’s perfect just for the 2 of us but it’s only 1 bedroom plus den so there really isn’t much space. The other downside as a PP mentioned is neighbours. I am starting to hate mine. Apparently no one on our floor knows how to gently close our fire safe doors (they slam on their own). We’ve also had to make a few noise complaints to our concierge for our downstairs neighbour who thinks his place is a nightclub at 2am on a Tuesday.
There are amazing condos that are definitely big enough to entertain guests, some are even bigger than some townhouses, it just depends on layout. We entertain in our place as well, and it’s only 670sqft!
Here is the best thing you can do, look at all 3. Even if you’ve already discounted a house because of the yard work just look to make sure you’re 100% sure. Once you get in touch with a real estate agent they should be able to point you in the right direction of what would work for you. There are various types of condo townhouse and apartment associations so there may be one that works for you! Here in Ontario we have single detached home condominiums! Basically you are part of a condo association but the fees you are paying are just for road and lawn maintenance, otherwise the house is yours to take care of!
My only question is why your FH doesn’t want to live in townhouse (you say he doesn’t want to live in a duplex environment)? But the walls of condos are all shared, so if it’s noise/privacy thing then you certainly have WAY less privacy in a condo.
Post # 15
@Jenniphyr: 900 sq/ft will be a tight squeeze and you might not want to raise a child in it. It’s totally possible, but I’m only saying that because my apartment before we purchased our townhouse/condo was that big and it was TINY. After combining 2 households with one person that barely had any furniture we still didn’t have a dining room table. Was it possible? Sure. But you’ll be cutting down to the bare minimum.
Our place is 1532 sq/ft and it’s more than enough room to entertain. Open concept. If you don’t want to feel the urge to leave in a couple years I suggest going bigger, if you can afford it. The space is wonderful. And you don’t feel like simply bringing in groceries suddenly made the house feel cramped. We can entertain here just as well as any house. The fact that we have an enclosed patio helps as well in the summers.