Were you born between 1946 and 1964? If so you are part of the generation known as baby boomers. And if you were born in the earlier part of that period are you ready to start downsizing?
Your children have left, you are rattling around a huge home and realize that you have no need for something that big. The home itself may be showing signs of wear and tear and you cannot keep up with the maintenance. It is time to look at simplifying your lifestyle.
Let’s assume you are going to move to a condo which is the option the majority of boomers are choosing, here are a few of the plusses and minuses to consider:
- Low maintenance. You are responsible for your unit and the HOA will take care of the common areas
- Security. When you go on vacation you can just lock your unit and leave. And when you come home at night you drive straight into your gated garage.
- The overall cost of owning a condo should be lower than a home because of diminished maintenance costs.
- Amenities. If you move into a luxury building you should have at the very least a gym and a pool and maybe even a 24/7 concierge and valet and much more, especially if you move to the Wilshire Corridor or Century City.
- Neighborhood. Chances are you are going to be in a more urban and walkable part of the city.
- HOA fees. This can be intimidating to those not used to a monthly fee.
- Assessments. There could be an increase in your monthly dues for needed repairs, upgrades, etc. Always look for a building with good reserves.
- Neighbors. You will be sharing walls and cannot control whom you will be sharing them with.
- Size. It is unlikely the condo is going to be the size of the sprawling home you just left.
- **Rules and regulations. You will be governed by these, so make sure you can live with them. Also, read the minutes to see if there are any issues you should be aware of.
Choose your condo carefully. These are some things to think about before you make the move.
- What are you willing to keep, give away, or sell? Your condo is going to have to meet those needs. Check out your storage options.
- **Make sure your pet is allowed in your new abode. Some buildings have a size limit so your Great Dane may a limiting factor.
- **Can you barbeque? This may be important for you.
- **What are the leasing rules? Many luxury buildings are now limiting the time period before you are allowed to lease your unit, usually one or two years, and then there is a long wait list.
- There is generally a move-in/move-out fee in condo buildings.
- Any changes you make to your unit will require Board approval and they are probably going to require you to use licensed contractors.
- What is the parking situation? Is it side-by-side or tandem? How much guest parking is there? In a congested area this is important.
- *Noise. Try and check out the neighborhood at different times of the day. Ask about your neighbors. You do not want to be woken up by your upstairs neighbor snoring, or heavy footed people walking around on hardwood floors. **By the same token, if you would like hardwood floors, check out the rules covering them.
- If you are buying for the view research whether there is any construction planned that will block that view. Nothing is guaranteed, but if you know for sure then you will not wake up one day facing a wall where the ocean used to be.
Overall the move from a house to a condo makes sense in terms of comfort and ease of life. But you do need to pick wisely and go into it with your eyes open so there are no unpleasant surprises down the line.
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