Posted by Frank Chin on February 20, 2002 at 15:55:46:

Hi Stacie:

While I pointed out some downsides to Condo living, there are plusses, particularly if you’re involved.

My sister lives in a condo unit, the same complex that I have the rental. My brother in law is a very helpful chap, and shovels snow at the parking spot for an elderly lady neighbor two parking spaces down from his.

An indoor parking slot came up for sale, and this lady bought it. She kept her outdoor space for infrequent visiting relatives. When she was told I was was coming to visit, she said its OK for me to park in that space, anytime. Just let her know.

Its a big help, as they only have a handful of visitor spaces, and its usually filled.

My brother in law is also the condo crime liason with the police department, changes lightbulbs in the complex, and is on the gardening committee. So we got to know many of the residents.

I hate to say I lived in SFH, 3 families, and only know a handful of neighbors after living there 8 to 10 years. Its ironic I know more about a town that I don’t live in than the one I do.

Frank Chin


Posted by Redd(CT) on February 19, 2002 at 15:12:56:


I have been investing for about 3 years now & have had the fortunate advantage to live with relatives in the meantime. I have flipped & i even own a house but I don’t have my own place.

I will be looking in about 3 months but I am a young single female & I don’t want to buy a house & take care of it. It’s funny how I ‘have to’ take care of maintenace of my tenant’s house but I am lazy to do it for my own house.

Anyway, I am thinking about getting a townhouse or condo instead of buying a house. I have thought about getting a 2family & living in the other unit…but I want my own ‘private’ quarters w/o tenants next door or maintanence headaches.

I have heard that buying a townhouse is a waste & they are hard to sell. Townhouses/condo’s are also cheaper (1/2) the price of a single family house in my area.

Any thoughts in purchasing a townhouse or condo as a keeper?

appreciate it.

Re: IS ‘LIVING’ IN A TOWNHOUSE A WASTE OF $$ - Posted by Frank Chin

Posted by Frank Chin on February 20, 2002 at 07:05:11:

Hi Redd:

You have some good advice already so I’ll add several observations:

1- If your plan is to live in it, and then rent it out when its time for you to move on - be careful. Many of the better complexes have restrictions on rentals. Too many absentee owners, and the place will go down hill fast. The better complexes restricts occupany to owner-occupants. I own a condo in a complex that restricts rentals to 25% of the total, and owner occupants have to get an exemption to rent if they cannot sell, and the exemption is renewed year to year.

2- If you think living in a townhouse gives you peace and quiet, think again. The condo I rent out one time had an adjoining unit also rented out - to two female college students. When my tenant complained about the loud music to them - they told him to get lost. So he complained to my sister managing the unit for me, who had to complain to the board of the HOA, who in turn asked the management company to write the owner of the unit a letter.

This happened a number of times, and in the last letter, the owner was threatened with fines if music is played during quiet hours. The female students were then evicted.

As the OWNER of a two family house, all I have to do is to march over to the tenant’s unit, and tell them to lower the music. If they don’t they know they can be evicted. This I have done, and the tenants never told me to get lost.

3- Condo owners often complain about high carrying charges without thinking that they usually bring it upon themselves, because they don’t want to do anything to keep the place up. Then, after paying the charges, they put themselves in the hands of an incompetent management company, unable to provide services they paid for.

If you buy a newer 2 family, have the lawn mowed, there’s not that much maintenance. You have better control over your tenants, and you’ll be able to rent it out later without worrying about HOA restrictions.

I have two sisters who live in my area owning a fourplex. They have their lawn mowed by a service, the roof checked once a year by a roofing company, and occasional jobs done by a local handyman. Never once had I seen them out there with a hammer.

Frank Chin


Posted by Carey_PA on February 19, 2002 at 22:11:22:

I’m currently living in a th that i just bought for $60k…I could sell it TODAY for $85k if I wanted to. (I’ll wait 2 yrs. though, so I get that money tax free though :slight_smile:

It depends on your market as another poster stated…here, these th’s sell like crazy in this development.

Good luck and go for it…it’s cheap, cheap, cheap and you don’t have to take care of much :slight_smile:


Re: IS ‘LIVING’ IN A TOWNHOUSE A WASTE OF $$ - Posted by Heidi W

Posted by Heidi W on February 19, 2002 at 21:52:07:

I bought my townhome in 1989 for $229. If I put it on the market today - it would probably sell between $390-$400. My homeowners association is pretty strict. No garage sales, I got a letter once for not roling up my hose enough…but that’s why things look good.

I think it depends on your market. If housing is really expensive - lot’s of people can only consider a condo/townhome. So if you get the right property - it should go up in value because the demand for deluxe townhomes/condo’s in the right neighborhoods will be higher.

If you go the condo route - seems like it would be wise to get one with as many ‘home like features’ as possible (such as attached 2 car garage, laundery INSIDE, small yard/patio, minimum of 2 bedrooms, big as you can afford, nicest area.)

Good luck!

The value down of the SF can also go down… - Posted by Fox_IL

Posted by Fox_IL on February 19, 2002 at 20:40:27:

by not keeping it maintained.

It doesn’t matter what people say, what does the market say? How long are they on the market? What do they sell for as opposed to the original purchase price? Those are hard numbers that won’t lie.

I believe the main thing is that you said you didn’t want to be bothered maintaining the SFH. I felt the same way when I first moved into my own townhome. I travelled a lot and did not want to be bothered with yard work, etc. I barely could get the “inside” chores done with the time I had.

From someone living in one. It’s great. We’ve been fortunate to have a secluded area of the subdivision. Snow removal in the winter is the best. Summertime mowing can be noisy, but you’re not doing the work! The rules are basic rules, nothing that cramps your style.

And that’s also what you want to look for. I know of many townhome subdivisions that won’t let you do certain things between the hours of … and no satellite dishes, and no car washing. And most importantly, no renting. Be careful to find out about the association rules AND how often the fees go up.

As far as value, I live in an area where everything is appreciating because of the excellent schools, constant new constructions and overall expanding. The area was already affluent, it’s just continuing to grow in size as well as affluence. You will want to look for the same. Or the case of a condo, look in a trendy area where singles want to live and hang out.

Hope this helps you…


Re: IS ‘LIVING’ IN A TOWNHOUSE A WASTE OF $$ - Posted by Brian M. Powers(MI)

Posted by Brian M. Powers(MI) on February 19, 2002 at 20:14:53:

A good Condo/Townhouse if in the right area will appreciate in value just like any other property. Pull some comps on some condos you might be interested in…see what they have sold for recently versus what was paid for them. Find out how condo values have moved in relation to homes in your area.

You’re an investor so you know the bottom line is if you buy on the right terms in the right area it won’t be a waste of money.
And don’t forget, this is YOUR HOME, not just an investment property. So “Quality of life” should be a huge factor in your decision.


Not really - Posted by NCPaul

Posted by NCPaul on February 19, 2002 at 18:01:01:

I don’t think they are a waste of money. It’s true that they are generally harder to sell than a sfr, but there is generally a market for them. If you are looking at specific advantages of a townhouse or condo then it sounds likely that it may be the way to go for you. By the same token, when you are ready to move, it will be the way to go for another buyer! From what you have said, if I was in your shoes I would go for a townhome. Not wanting to maintain your own home is like a mechanic who’s car never runs! Spends all day fixing other people’s cars and never fixes his own! (I have a friend like that!)

Good Luck


Posted by Brent_IL on February 19, 2002 at 15:54:33:

As a general observation, townhouses and condos are harder to sell than SFH. Townhouses are easier than condos in most areas. Whether they are hard to sell depends on the market.

In addition, a quick sale is influenced by monthly fees and the attitude of the HOA toward repairs, maintenance, and rentals.

If the numbers work out, and you can rent it forever when you move on, why not?

Re: IS ‘LIVING’ IN A TOWNHOUSE A WASTE OF $$ - Posted by Stacie

Posted by Stacie on February 20, 2002 at 14:12:25:

Hello, I currently live in a townhouse that my husband and I bought. Like some others said, you don’t have to mow the lawn, water is included in our maintenance fee, so is insurance for the building itself (not the contents of our home) the pest company people come every so often to spray, the trees in the area are trimmed, etc. The only thing we take care of is the inside of the house. However, we do pay $178/mo maintenance fee and a $35 per month association fee. That amount could probably go toward having someone come and “maintain” my yard at my house if I lived in a house instead.

But I do like where I am living, I have great neighbors, it’s a good location, and the other units in the area are selling for about $20,000 - $25,000 more than what we owe on this unit because we bought it from the bank after a foreclosure (and that’s with the ugly origial carpet, we got a nicer new carpet :)).