Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide to Connecticut

Home Health Care
Now Clearly Part of the Solution

Several years ago, my wife and I faced a common dilemma. Our three sons had moved out of our 5 bedroom Westport suburban home on an acre of land. The thought of maintaining, mowing, raking, and snow plowing on our own started to look unattractive. We decided to look into the plusses and minuses of condo living.

For those of you who are contemplating such a move, we came up with our top 10 plusses and minuses of Condo living.

BEST

  1. Someone else shovels the snow and mows the lawn
  2. Paints and repairs the outside.
  3. You can go away for months and know unit is being managed. This is ideal for ‘snowbirds’ who go south in the winter.
  4. Heating and cooling bills are reduced due to adjoining walls.
  5. Insurance is paid using group rates. (Owner is still responsible for inside of unit).
  6. Association can maintain standards of conduct and appearance – from parking to signs to control of pets.
  7. It is easy to meet and socialize with your neighbors. You can attend condo business meetings and many condos sponsor social gatherings.
  8. You can run for the board of directors to manage the condo & vote to establish or change rules and control finances.
  9. You own your unit - no landlord to deal with. No forced moves or rent increases.
  10. You can share the cost and use of common facilities like meeting rooms, pools, and exercise rooms.


WORST

  1. It is necessary to abide by rules that restrict your use - such as pets or age restriction.

  2. You are responsible for home owners fees (HOA) & home owner fees may increase.

  3. You are responsible for your share of repairs to any building in the association. If a roof leaks a block away, you pay your share.

  4. Common walls and ceilings potentially increase noise problems.

  5. You may be restricted from renting your unit. This is often done to meet owner occupied requirements of mortgage companies.

  6. You may feel pressured to serve as a board member or officer - with no compensation. This can be very time consuming on a board of laymen.

  7. You may be required to pay your share of a ‘special assessment’ which can be very large. As buildings age, major repairs are common.

  8. If some owners fail to pay their dues, the remaining owners have to make up the difference. The condo has to pay its bills.

  9. Condos are more likely to be targets of costly litigation. Why? Because that’s where the money is. This can make your unit more complicated to sell.

  10. You are prohibited from changing the exterior or adding to your unit without permission. That dormer, or bay window or room extension you would like to make can be a major issue.


Our conclusion:

If you think a condo is right for you, do your homework:


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