Jennifer & Julie write a monthly article "Condo Conversations" in the Virginian-Pilot. This article was written by Julie Ulrich, featured in the March 23 edition.
I often hear people say it’s time to downsize their lives. Sometimes that means minimizing what they own and moving into a smaller home. Other times it may mean downsizing of their responsibilities and financial obligations.
Single-family detached homes almost always come with upkeep, including cutting the grass, caring for a pool, exterior maintenance and shoveling snow. If you are ready to make a change in lifestyle, many options are available. Could it be time for you to “condo-size” your life?
A condo or townhome can be a great choice for someone looking to “downsize,” or as I like to say, “rightsize.” There are many benefits to this style of living, but there are cons as well. Let’s first explore the positive sides along with some thoughts to ponder.
Lock-and-go lifestyle: If you like to travel, a condo makes it easier to lock up and go, as the exterior and grounds maintenance is almost always performed by the association.
If you travel often, or use your condo as a second home, be sure you have a neighbor or friend look after it while you are away. You wouldn’t want a leaky pipe to go unnoticed causing a major amount of damage.
Thermostats in the unit should be kept at reasonable temperatures year round. Faucets should be run at least every couple of weeks. Most condominium governing documents will address specific requirements for absentee owners.
Condo assessments: I know, you are probably thinking, “Condo assessments are a positive? Yeah, right.”
The truth is they actually can be a positive in a healthy condo association. If the board has managed the maintenance, budget and reserves properly, you shouldn’t have any surprises down the line. Therefore, your monthly assessments will ensure your property is well-maintained, which ultimately helps protect your investment.