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.
It may not feel like winter in Hampton Roads lately, but the winter is far from over. Our friends at 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty have some helpful tips to keep your home warm...
When winter’s chill hits, make sure your house is equipped to stay warm and cozy all season long.
Conduct an energy audit. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the first step to keeping your home warm in winter and your utility bills in check is to conduct an energy audit. An audit can help identify where your home is losing energy (and in turn money) and often leads to actionable steps that can reduce your utility bills by as much as 30 percent, according to the Department of Energy.
Use the sun to your advantage. If your windows face south, sunshine can be a free source of warmth all winter long. Throw open those curtains or raise up those blinds and let the sun warm your home.
Guard against the draft. Thermal window treatments can help keep the cold at bay. Try insulated blinds or thermal-backed curtains and see how quickly they pay for themselves in energy savings. Here’s a full list of energy-efficient window treatments.
Check the fireplace. Keeping the fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning will reduce air loss (and thus heat loss). Other tips to ensure your fireplace is a source of warmth rather than an avenue for heat to escape include installing tempered glass doors and checking the seal on the fireplace flue damper to make it as snug as possible.
Proper heating system maintenance. The best thing you can do to ensure your HVAC system will adequately and efficiently heat your home is maintain it. Among key steps to keeping it running in tip-top shape are replacing your furnace filter regularly and scheduling service when a problem arises.
Set the right temperature. Whether you do it manually or with a smart or programmable thermostat, set the temperature at the lowest possible point for comfort at hours you will be home and even lower when you’re away from home or asleep in bed.
To help manage unexpected costly repairs and replacements, ensure that your home is protected with a systems and appliances warranty from 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty!