Facts to Know About Buying a Retirement Condo

Written by John Moran

If you and your spouse are looking for a new place to call home for your Golden Years and retirement, you may be considering purchasing a new home or condo.

There are a many number of reasons why condos are preferred for retired individuals. Condos require less work and allow its residents to travel without fear of break ins or damage. Condos also come with allowing residents to not worry greatly about maintaining outdoor areas such as yard work or exterior upkeep.

There is no doubt that there are great aspects of owning either a home or a condo. That being said, it is up to you to figure out which choice best fits you and your spouse’s desire for lifestyle when it comes to your retirement years.

For that reason, it is crucial that you know what it means to purchase a retirement condo. So here are some of the most important facts to know about buying a condo for your retirement.

The built-in community can be good…and bad

As an owner of a condo, unlike being the owner of a single-family home, you will be part of a community where majority rules when it comes to major decisions to make. This can certainly lead to frustration. The condo board might decide to use a portion of your monthly HOA dues to pay for amenities or repairs that you do not want.

That being said, that community does mean that you will easily be able to make friends and meet your neighbors. Whether you are simply walking along the hallway day-to-day, or engaging in some of the events that the HOA has set up, condo complexes offer a fantastic opportunity to build a community of friends and neighbors.

Either way, it is crucial that you review your buildings’ financial records, bylaws and other documents before you finalize the purchase.  

Condos often offer state-of-the-art features

It is quite often that homes require upgrades the moment you purchase them. Whether it’s upgrading appliances, turning your home into a smart home, or a more drastic renovation, it is quite possible that you will not be spending money once you make your down payment.

When it comes to condos, they typically come with state-of-the-art features already. Whether its granite counters, stainless and smart appliances, or an open floor plan, condos are typically great at keeping up-to-date with the latest (and longest lasting) trends.

That being said, if you want to make renovations of your own, there are typically more hoops that you have to jump through compared to when you own your own home. The HOA will typically require approving any renovations that you want to make, which could have an impact on the time, cost and ease in which you get those changes made.

 Condo fees generally continue to rise

This is especially true if the building is a classic or a bit older. Typically, these fees are to maintain upkeep of the building and make sure that the building is a pleasant place to live for you and all of your neighbors.

That being said, it can be quite frustrating to have to pay higher HOA fees for amenities or repairs that you are not interested in having (as previously mentioned).

Security measures can be great, or annoying

James of https://www.homeguidemyrtlebeach.com/best-myrtle-beach-real-estate-agents/ explains what security features you can expect if you choose to purchase a condo.

“Condos are widely known for having pretty fantastic security. Whether it’s multiple-door security that requires key fobs, cameras on the outside and inside of the building, or even a dedicated security staff, there is a general sense of safety that many residents of condos feel that homeowners simply do not.”

This added security can be fantastic if you work at odd hours of the night, have fears of being alone, or are older and don’t feel comfortable defending yourself should the worst happen.

That being said, that kind of security can be rather annoying if you do not want or need it.

Condos can bring basic life needs to you

More and more, condo developers have found ways to bring the basic necessities of life to your doorstep. Buildings often have markets or grocers of the first floor, state-of-the-art gyms, even dog-sitting and walking services are known to be available in condo complexes.

Of course, there are some downsides to this way of life. Some who end up calling a condo home will find that their life becomes insular as the need to leave the building shrinks. Certainly, this is something that every single person can control, but sometimes people do tend to fall back on what is easiest for them.

Selling your condo

This is something that you may not have to really worry about if you plan on spending the rest of your retirement in your new condo, but it is still something to keep in mind. Before you decide to sign on the dotted line and finalize the purchase for you condo, you should make sure to look into the future and consider the marketability of your new unit if you should wish to move.

This is also something to keep in mind if you plan on passing down your condo to your children, or want to sell it if you plan to move to a retirement home later in life.

One of the key drawbacks of buying a condo is that your unit will never be more than an identical unit, plus upgrades. Your investment relies directly on surround sales. That means that if another owner sells at a cheap price, that could very well impact your market value.

On top of that, the condo complex may not qualify for an FHA loan. That’s because the occupancy percentage of owners vs. tenants could exceed 50 percent. As a result of that, a purchaser would need to pay cash or obtain a conventional type of loan or mortgage in order to complete the down payment.

This restriction could impact your ability to sell and could impact the value of your condo.

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About LoveBeingRetired

Dave Bernard is a California born and raised author and blogger with an extensive 30 year career in Silicon Valley. He has written more than 300 blogs for US News & World On Retirement and his personal blog Retirement – Only the Beginning. He has authored three books: "Are you just existing and calling it a life?"; "I want to retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be"; and " Navigating the Retirement Jungle". Dave was also a contributing writer for the books 65 Things to do when you Retire (“Positive Aging – Old is the New Young”) as well as 65 Things to do when you Retire – TRAVEL (“Travel to Discover your Family Heritage”). He lives in sunny California with his wife, his Boston Terrier "Frank" and a passion for the San Jose Sharks.

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