Home Buying in 19154>Question Details

Ann, Home Buyer in 19114

Is a condo better for an older couple?

Asked by Ann, 19114 Sun Apr 4, 2010

My friend's parents want to downsize, but they don't want to live in an apartment. Would a condo be a reasonable choice? They are in good health and not looking for any kind of assisted living. Thanks for any feedback!

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Ann,

I actually think that condos can be a great choice coming from someone who lives in a condo herself however, it really boils down to the actual condo association and management company. I have sold many condos to clients and have seen many buyers buy condos and their Realtor never went over the condo documents with them and the documents are them most important part to the transaction. The documents must be given to the buyer within a specific period of time because the buyer has a certain amount of time to review them and can cancel the transaction if they do not like what they read.

Buyer agents should make a huge stink about the condo documents with their buyer or advise them to consult with an attorney. They can consult with an attorney at any time though.

Buyers of condos need to know what the board does for the unit owners, how much money is in reserve, how many times has the condo fee been raised, are there any assessments scheduled or currently going on, is there a contribution fee at the time of settlement and much more. This in addition to the actual unit.

If the association and management company are horrible, then the living experience will be much worse.

I would love to explain condo life more with you or with your friend's parents. Feel free to email me at reneeporsia@mac.com or give me a call at 215-669-0589.

Happy Easter.

Renee Porsia
Associate Broker
(215) 669-0589 Direct
(215) 358-1100 Office ask for Renee
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 4, 2010
Dear Ann-
The answer to your question is Yes! Condo's are great for older active people who aren't interested in taking care of the mundane duties of life such as shoveling snow and cutting grass. It can free them up to join a gym, go bike riding or just pursue their favorite activity without that "oh I got to take care of that" feeling. Also condos tend to be more secure if that is an issue. Condo resale value is not the best, but if this is not an issue then I say tell them to go for it!
Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 12, 2010
I concur with Gloria, in that they could try out a choice by renting and not get stuck in what they don't like. Not sure how easy it is to rent in a 55+ community but there has to be opportunities out there.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 6, 2010
This will only work if is only in ground floor, there are many advantages such as maintenance outside of the cond, however the home owners association fees can be very high, I subjest to get with a realtor that can help you in this area, also there are many positive ooptions
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 6, 2010
I suggest that you retain a Buyer's Agent who can show you & your parents their options for a new home. Ask the Agent to show a selection of condo/cluster home properties & small ranch homes on the market within your parents' price range. Help your parents make the decion that is right for them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 6, 2010
Yes, a condo would be an excellent choice.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 6, 2010
You said they are older. That means they want to buy a house to stay in for their retirement years. They should be considering things like handicap accessibility. That means wider doors, and the ability to change things around with minimal expense if it becomes necessary to be in a wheelchair or use a walker for awhile.

A condo is really like an apartment. You have a neighbor just on the other side of a wall who can make to much noise for their comfort. I would really look at a small ranch. SIngle story, easy to get around in and no noise from neighbors 6" away.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 6, 2010
I'm helping a couple right now downsize from a 5 BR colonial to a condo. The benefits of the condo are that they are in a secure community with loads of amenities (including parking, onsite restaurant, hair salon, pools, maintenance, shuttle bus, etc.), and they don't have any of the maintenance that would be necessary on a house. The downside is the condo fee but then again, that covers all of the amenities and in some cases, it includes utilities.

If your friend's parents would like that environment, it makes a lot of sense. If they would like to have more room for grandchildren and children to stay with them, then that's different. There does come a time in everyone's life where we need help to maintain a house. A condo is a great way to go and it's an investment that after they are deceased, will not be a huge burden on the family. The couple will have already downsized their possessions and the children could choose to keep it and rent it out. They should of course do what it right for their family and consult their financial advisor/estate planner but there are a lot of benefits.

Best of luck to them!

Rachel Carter, AREP, ESRES, ASP Stager
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 6, 2010
It depends on your parents' livestyle preferences. In my mind condo's have very much the same feel as an apartment. "A person's space" is more contained. Do they want low maintenance and more freedom from outdoor maintenance issues? Do they prefer ground level housing or do they mind stairs? Many condos are two or three-story. Are they active with outdoor actiities? There are a number of issues to consider. If they want to scale down in size, yet have their own space and prefer to have their own property to piddle around on, they would probably be happier in a single family home. In our area, the Texas Hill Country in the Highland Lakes, and probably everywhere today, there are both nice condos and nice homes on low maintenance lots. They can have their choice. My suggestion is for them to preview both in areas they like, as well as meet some of the neighbors in the area.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 6, 2010
Hi Ann,

Patio homes, townhomes and condos are all good choices for those who would like to enjoy retirement and have low maintenance--exteriors and lawn/landscape maintenance is generally included in those type of homes. However, if one of them prefers to get their exercise by working in the yard, then they would likely prefer a single family home on a smaller lot or a patio home or townhome--little yard but, can still enjoy working outdoors.

Good luck to your friend's parents!
Web Reference: http://www.SoldByDebe.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 6, 2010
Ann -

It is great that you want to assist your friend's parents. A condo may be the reasonable choice but other options include Active Adult neighborhoods which can be single family houses and the yard work is done for them through the HOA Association. They may also enjoy a single family house and have all the yard work done for them - this will be a less expensive choice as HOA dues may be higher than what they would like to pay monthly. Review all the options and tour neighborhoods offering all 3 choices. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 6, 2010
It depends.
They might want to consider an active 55+ community for a lot of the social activities to keep them young at heart.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 6, 2010
Good Afternoon Ann,

In response to your question I'd like to say that living in a condominium requires less maintenance than a home because they are governed by the Home Owners Association which means maintenance and repairs are the responsibility of the HOA (Home Owner’s Association).

Condos are typically built near sections of the city where there are lots of amenities and luxuries for an active lifestyle, such as banks, grocery stores, and retail stores, and even hospital.

Condos have security systems for the safety of the residents. Living in a condominium is a wise choice and maybe safer than a single family home for someone in their retirement years.

I agree with Renee Porsia who stated below that the time to consult a buyer's agent is when you're first thinking about making a location move. Look for a buyer's agent who specializes in working with seniors a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES).

Should your friend's parents need further assistance or just have a few questions, I'm only too happy to help if I can. Feel free to direct them to my website at http://www.dianeschmitz.com

Best of luck to all of you.

Diane Schmitz, ABR, SRES
Broker Associate
369 S. San Antonio Rd.
Los Altos, CA 94022
E-Mail: dianeschmitz@serengroup.com
Phone: (650)947-2955
Web Reference: http://www.dianeschmitz.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 6, 2010
I vote yes to a condo for your friend's parents. The only downside is that it is not as easy to "get away" from each other because there will be less space. If they are resisting, then before they buy a condo, perhaps they should rent an apartment first and see how they like that kind of lifestyle. Condo living sure does make things easier from a worry point of view and they can travel without care.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 6, 2010
If they can emotionally get rid of all their furniture and stuff without alot of heartache. I suggest a security alarm and ground level so when they travel they can lock up and go. That's going to be my MOTTO. Lock and roll.

Make sure they get in at a good price so when they depart to the allmighty, the kids can liquidate quickly without a loss. And watch those condo "FEES"

Best to you
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 6, 2010
So, Ann, I think we need to distinguish what type of structure they want to live in.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 5, 2010
Hello Ann,

Condo life is supposed to offer all of those luxuries they are looking for. A condo might just be what they want but it will all depend on the condo documents. That's where all the good stuff is. : )

Their best bet would be to devise a plan which would include where they would like to be, how big they would like the place to be, what they need it to have or can't live without, know their budget and then hire a buyer agent who can answer all of their questions even if they are not yet ready to make a move. By finding their very own buyer agent, they can begin to build a relationship with the agent and when they are finally ready, they will not rush out to find an agent who might not be a very good fit for them.

I always tell people, the time to hire a Realtor is not when you are ready to do something. You need to have one way before and build the relationship. The Realtor can answer all questions and provide all of the information the buyer or seller needs.

If there is anything I can do or provide, please do not hesitate to contact me. I service all of Philadelphia, Bucks and Montgomery Counties.

My website: http://www.reneeporsia.com. Which you or they might find very helpful.

Renee Porsia
Associate Broker
(215) 669-0589 Direct
(215) 358-1100 Office Ask for Renee
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 5, 2010
They are looking for something that they would own. They currently have a larger home and want something smaller.They are trying to avoid yard work and shoveling, but they are fine doing inside repairs. Stairs are not an issue. Thanks for the helpful input so far!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 5, 2010
What sort of "condo" do you have in mind?

"Condo" is a type of ownership, not a type of property. An awful lot of condos are, in fact, apartments; an apartment being merely a room or suite of rooms that is part of a larger structure.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 5, 2010
Definitely! A condo offers a virtually maintenance free living experience, but still accumulates your asset. Be sure to check into locations and individual condos, but they can be the right choice for someone who's tired of mowing their lawn!!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 5, 2010
It is really is a matter of preference, based on their personal wants, needs, lifestyle.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 4, 2010

There are communities that have amenities that are geared toward older adults. Del Webb comes to mind. Most associations on condos cover the maintenance on the exterior, landscaping, pool, etc therefore eliminating this chore for the homeowner. Buying a condo is a better alternative to renting an apartment whether you are young or old. They are usually less expensive than a single family residence and sometimes at a price that would be the same as rent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 4, 2010
I recommend for anyone who is coming from a single family home belief they might like a condo / townhouse type of environment, TRY leasing in a that complex OR close where they want to reside, for 6 months to a year.

Which some either LOVE IT or they hate multi family dwelling.

FYI - many home buyers based on age prefer reside in a single story or a garden home for fact with age many don't want to climb stairs see portions of home in years may not be areas they would no longer enjoy due to physical restrictions of walking up and down stairs.

Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
Web Reference: http://www.lynn911.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 4, 2010
Hi Ann, I think a condo would be a great option - it would allow them to live independently, pay their own mortgage rather than someone else's, and not have to worry about exterior home/property maintenance.

Recommend they work with a great agent to help them with their search and guide them through the process.

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 4, 2010
Hi Ann,

There is an interesting article at http://www.buy-and-sell-house-fast.com/buy-house/buy-a-condo.shtml

Actually, this is a matter of preference.

Feel free to give your friend’s parents my contact information, so that I could better explain them the difference.


Gene Fish, CRS, GREEN
Broker Associate,
RE/MAX Elite
1456 County Line Road,
Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006
(215) 962-0880 cell
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 4, 2010
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