Snagging your first (or second or third) apartment is great, until it isn’t. Tired of unresponsive landlords, unrealistic rent hikes and sharing a bathroom with a revolving door of roommates? It might be time to consider the next phase of your living situation. We think the condo lifestyle has a lot to offer. Check out these condo living tips to see if you agree.
Adulting is easier in a condo
Is a condo a good first home? Absolutely. Condos were once considered “starter homes,” and were treated as a stepping stone to adulthood by allowing equity to be built up rather than just throwing rent money out the window. But today’s condos are so much more. The options and amenities provided by condominium complexes today are making the condo lifestyle so attractive that many are choosing to upgrade from a similarly-priced apartment and pass on stand-alone homes altogether.
Some advantages? You’re not at the mercy of a landlord’s schedule when it comes to minor repairs.* Security systems and gated communities provide more peace of mind. Services like valets and trash collection are a no brainer. And in many areas of the U.S., condominiums appreciate faster than single-family homes. Your resale value, when it’s time to move again, might be better than if you bought a single-family home in the same area!
A sizable bachelor — or bachelorette — pad
Space is always an issue for new condo buyers. A one bedroom condo is a perfect size for a single millennial. If you’re already coupled off, a two bedroom condo won’t cost much more and the extra bedroom can pull double duty as an office or guest room. Drive to work? Many condos come with garages. And even if you don’t think you own a lot of stuff, look for storage space. Many condo buildings offer extra storage, so you won’t have to cram skis, bicycles and Christmas decorations in your bedroom.
Bonus: With a condo, there’s no need to rush out and buy a larger home if you later find yourself starting a family. Thanks to IKEA, converting the spare room into a nursery is simple, and a kitchen table makes a great remote office (that’s the beauty of Wi-Fi and a laptop). Plus, you’ll be surprised at how many condos cater to young families, allowing them to remain in neighborhoods they love a little longer.
DIY repairs? L8R!
You’ll find that living a condo lifestyle can eliminate much of the stress commonly associated with homeownership — especially because you only have to deal with maintenance and minor repairs within the four walls of your unit, not outside like you would with a house. Most issues will be small, like a blown fuse or a leaky faucet, and can be handled quickly by a handyman. And most condo boards will gladly recommend contractors familiar with the building.
The absence of major maintenance responsibilities is why many people love the condo lifestyle — from millenials upgrading from apartment life to baby boomers looking to downsize. No more time spent cleaning gutters, doing yard work and shoveling snow: it’s all covered by a monthly condo fee.
Be where the action is
Condos are typically built close to the things that are important in our lives: grocery stores, pharmacies, medical services, dry cleaners, art galleries, coffee shops, bars and restaurants. It’s all probably within walking distance if you’re in a city, or a short drive if you’re in the ‘burbs. Commuting to work can be much more manageable, too, as many condo buildings offer shuttle services to public transportation.
With impromptu cocktail parties, pick-up basketball games and movie nights right on the property, you won’t need to call an Uber to get home, you can take an elevator. You can’t get more convenient than that.
Finding an animal house
According to a recent Realtor.com survey, 75% of pet-owning homebuyers will pass up an otherwise perfect home if it doesn’t meet their pets’ needs. That’s especially true for younger buyers. And while you won’t get a large private yard with a condo, you will find that many condo buildings have private dog runs, indoor play areas and are not far from parks, pet supply stores and veterinarians.
With other pet owners living in the building, you’ll likely connect with someone who can check in on your cat, suggest a pet-sitter or feed your fish when you’re running late. Plus, owning a dog is a proven ice-breaker and a great way to meet new neighbors.
Customize your crib
Many apartment buildings don’t allow you to personalize your place, so you’re stuck with white walls and standard window treatments. But in a condo, you’re in control**. From choosing the perfect paint color to installing modern lighting or built-in bookshelves, condo ownership means you’re finally able to create the ideal space to crash at the end of a long day.
Hint: keeping your condo clutter-free and minimal in design will save you tons of time cleaning and organizing. Check out these simple decorating and furnishing tips for first-time homeowners.
Call the concierge
With online shopping being so popular, it’s great to know that most condo buildings have attendants who can accept deliveries while you’re out. But many also offer concierge services: a few hours a day when a helper is physically at the property. Concierges assist condo residents with tasks ranging from picking up dry cleaning, organizing an event, snagging hard-to-come-by dinner reservations or concert tickets, or overseeing contractors for bigger jobs. You may not think you’ll use concierge service, but they’ll eventually come in handy. Just wait.
Won’t you be my neighbor?
The surest way to determine if the condo life is right for you is to visit a friend who has recently moved into one. They’ll probably sell you on the benefits firsthand and may even know of a unit or two available in their building. If you’re moving across the country for a job where you don’t know anyone, you can count on the fact that many of your new neighbors will be in a similar phase of life, facing similar challenges.
Having a nearby network to complement long-distance relationships with family and friends is pretty sweet. Many condo boards even organize activities, much as they do at all-inclusive resorts. Cooking classes, beer tastings, Super Bowl parties and potluck barbecues make coming home to your new condo even sweeter.
Our loan officers can chat with you to discuss first-time homebuyer programs with exceptional rates and low-to-no down payment***. We even have specialized condo loans available. Contact a local loan officer to see what it’ll take to get you into the condo of your dreams.
*Consult your landlord. **May be contingent upon HOA, city, state or federal restrictions. ***For qualified borrowers.