Home Buying in Madison>Question Details

Kim S., Other/Just Looking in Madison, WI

I am looking at purchasing a condo in downtown Madison, WI. Is a 1 bdrm a bad investment v. a 2 bdrm?

Asked by Kim S., Madison, WI Mon Nov 21, 2011

I'm looking at West Wash area condos. I would like to keep costs down, as I am single, but I do not want to buy something that will be difficult to sell in the future.

Help the community by answering this question:



In our downtown market, there are plenty of 1 Bedroom buyers...and the up buy for real 2 bedrooms is so significant in costs to purchase, taxes, condo fees etc....that there are many good 1 Bedroom, and some 1 Bedrooms with den (Great new listing in Lorraine just came on) that are excellent opportunities. With Wireless home computing systems, the demand for the "2nd Bedroom/Office" space has considerably lessened over time for single buyers. Another point to illustrate the factual consideration of your question, market times for sales of units $250k and under in downtown are a THIRD of resale times for those over!
Web Reference: http://www.Troythiel.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 21, 2011
If you were buying any place else in Madison besides downtown I would say you need a minimum of 2 bedrooms for resale, however, the downtown market is quite different and I don't think that it would hurt your resale.
Sue Goldstein
First Weber Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 21, 2011
Check out our listing at 123 N Blount Street Madison Wi 53703 Unit #111
One block off E Washington Ave and four blocks from the capital.
Asking $115K
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 29, 2012
Hi Kim,

I would concur with most all of the comments from the agents. In the west Washington area, those condos are closest to the University and we see a lot of students in that area. So a 2 bedroom can be very important for those buyers so they have an extra bedroom to rent (or use as a study). For future investment, some of the larger complexes are getting great rental for those units. For example, I have a past client renting a 2 bedroom, 1 bath condo in Metro Place for $1800 per month. So for a future investment as a rental income property, there is a lot of possibility. But please pay attention when selecting a condo that you review all of the financials of the development paying attention to their budget, their P&L and their reserve fund. A healthy association should have a larger reserve fund and operating well within their monthly budget.
Web Reference: http://ForSaleinMadison.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 21, 2011
Don correctly points out the average cumulative days on the market is just under a year. That's why I included the median cumulative days on the market--which means 1/2 of the units took longer and 1/2 the units took less to sell. It is is a much better indicator of how long it will take to sell a home that is in top shape, has features buyers want and is competitively priced.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 21, 2011
Interesting answers. (I learn something new here every day. Today, it's about downtown Madison condos.)

Generally (nationwide), 2 bedroom condos are easier to sell than 1 bedrooms. The reason: Lots of people use that second bedroom for a home office, an exercise room, or some other function. And usually there isn't a huge price spread between 1- and 2-bedroom units. But . . .

It appears (from those in Madison--and conditions and preferences vary geographically) that in downtown Madison 1-bedrooms have enough of an advantage over 2-bedroom units in price, and they're popular enough, that you could go with a 1-bedroom unit.

Alex posted some useful numbers, though the differences between 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom units doesn't sound all that much. For instance, 343 versus 325 average cumulative days on market. That really tells me that either one is going to take nearly a year (on average) to sell. Same message with inventory--sounds as if neither is selling particularly well.

My advice--purely as an outsider after viewing this discussion--is to recognize that if you buy either, so long as market conditions don't improve substantially it'll likely take quite a while to sell it. Therefore, you might want to reconsider buying at this point. Alternatively, if you really want to buy, make sure you're buying at a really good (i.e., low) price going in. And if the average cumulative days on market is 325+, it seems likely that a few of the sellers--either of 1- or 2-bedroom units--might be willing to really give you a good deal just to get the darn thing sold.

And if you can buy for less, then you're keeping your costs down. And you'll be able to sell for less when it comes time for you to sell.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 21, 2011
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
Generally a 2 bedrm adds resale value......more square footage which is great for a bedrm for guests, office, storage etc. You really have to break down what is a most value to you, taxes, cost and how long you plan to stay in the area. If you can afford a 2bdrm application, resale is generally greater. I suggest working working with an agent and really laying out the pros and cons.

Good Luck. Email or call if you have further questions.

Donna Birschbach - Keller Williams Madison
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 21, 2011
I have a beautiful 2 bedroom condo for sale downtown right now. Generally a 2 bedroom is a better investment than a one bedroom. Call and we can discuss in Detail. Diane Holmes 444,4409
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 21, 2011

1. Each real estate market is unique. Within a market, say Madison, the market conditions in each neighborhood can vary significantly. One size doesn't fit all.

2. In the neighborhood you're considering--West of the Square out to Park Street--you'll do better with a one bedroom condo. Here's the data for the year ended December 19, 2011:

-27 one bedroom condos sold and there are currently 28 active listings, so there is 12.4 months of inventory for one bedroom condos in this area.
-43 two bedroom condos sold and there are currently 59 active listings, so there are 16.47 months of inventory for two bedroom condos in this area.
-For one bedroom condos sold in this time period, the average cumulative days on the market was 325 and the median days on the market was 138 in this area.
-For two bedroom condos sold in this time period, the average cumulative days on the market was 343 days and the median days on the market was 189 days in this area.

3. For any home, It is important that you buy right and when you sell you list at a price that is competitive.

The numbers speak for themselves. I hope this is helpful.

If you'd like any help buying or selling, please feel free to contact me on my cell phone anytime at 608/345-9009 or by email at saloutosa@firstweber.com

Warm regards and best wishes,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 21, 2011
"Yes" bad investments, both
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 21, 2011
I agree with Sue. W Wash is right downtown so you should be o.k. with the resale of a 1 bedroom. If you go outside of the downtown area you should consider 2 bedrooms. The Madison condo market is wonderful for buyers right now. The Madison condo market is allowing buyers to get great deals. Let me know if you need any help finding something that fits your budget and your lifestyle.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 21, 2011
For resale purposes, I would be more concerned about the floor number if considering a high rise (higher is better), the view you have (another building, parking structure, the lake, etc) and the functionality of the floorplan.
If you're considering a new project that isn't 100% sold out I might be concerned if this was a short term living situation for you. You may still be competing with those unsold units in the future.
Pam Widen
Coldwell Banker Success
Web Reference: http://www.pamwiden.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 21, 2011

With "all things equal" a two bedroom will sell sooner than a single bedroom. There will be extenuating circumstances though that will impact the "all things equal". Views, location, amenities, etc will all affect the resale value. Are you looking in a specific building or neighborhood downtown? Give me a call or text at (608) 770-2144 and I can help you determine the value of what you are looking at. You can also use the Market Insider tool on my website at http://www.SearchMadisonWIHomes.com/mimarket to help research pricing trends.

Chris Bennett
First Weber Group
(608) 770-2144
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 21, 2011
Hi Kim,
A 2 bedroom makes more sense in many ways - for resale, more space, room for guests. Even for a single person, a 2 bedroom is more functional. For the difference in price, I would strongly recommend a 2 bedroom.

I've attached a link to some 2 bedroom condo's in downtown Madison.

Please let me know if any are of interest, I would love to help you find your new condo.
Judy Braund,
Keller Williams Realty 608-235-0431
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 21, 2011
I agree with the first answer. A two bedroom is always better for resale. One bedrooms are much harder to sell. Please let me know if you have any questions finding or need anything help with your condo in Madison. As I am just a phone call away.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 21, 2011
Kim - ALWAYS buy a 2 bedroom over a 1 bedroom, way better for re-sale.
The Marie Souza Team - Top Selling on Cape Cod
Cape Cod Real Estate Services
Phone: 508-790-2000
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 21, 2011
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer