Home Buying in 20815>Question Details

Carol, Home Buyer in 20815

I want to buy a high rise condo built in 1978.I am going to live there for long time(like 30 years?)Do you think the building structure will be ok ?

Asked by Carol, 20815 Mon Oct 4, 2010

I am wondering whether the old high rise condo is strong enough to hold for more than 70 years.
I am interested to buy the 22nd floor condo in MD.

Help the community by answering this question:


Many great answers and advice below. There are many high rise buildings that have stood the test of time. I'm not familiar with your market area, but maybe you could see if there are newer buildings available.

All the best!

Ryan Smith
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 23, 2010
You should look over the past financial statements to see what the maintenance has been over the last ten years. THat will give you an idea of whether there might be delayed maintenance issues - for instance if they haven't done any work on the roof or the heating systems, the lobby or the elevator. In addition look at the reserves and how they have handled the need for major repairs. Is there a special assessment going on now? Has there ever been one? For instance, Kenwood Forest in Chevy Chase has great reserves and low maintenance fees - you can check them out at http://www.kenwood-forest.com. If you haven't made a decision yet about your condo, I would love to show you some others.
Best regards, Lise Howe
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 23, 2010
I can say that we aren't architects and have no way of really knowing that question. I would recommend looking over the board's tendencies, reserve requirements etc... condo fees are put in place to take care of the building, as long as residents pay them then the building should be maintained but again as realtors we can't truly say it will be ok as we aren't educated in structural engineering.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 4, 2010
Thank you for the advice! I will avoid the old high rise condo.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 4, 2010
It all depends on the condo board and how well they keep up the building. The important thing to look for is has the building been able to keep up on maintenance and do they have money in reserves for future repairs. If they keep assessing the owners every time something breaks or needs fixing then most likely they don't have money for maintenance to replace or repair the items before they break, ie roof, parking lots, windows, plumbing, etc. Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 4, 2010
Hi Carol,

Interesting question and one that is going to become more common as these buildings age. I would certainly think that any structure built in 1978 would still be around in 30 years but it's always best to have your own inspector/structural engineer investigate. The down side of the older condo situation is the condo fees. As the building ages the current owners are going to be responsible for the maintenance and rennovations. That could get very expensive.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 4, 2010
Hi Carol,

I would be prepared for a high condo fee in some of the older buildings. I do know that Grosvenor Towers already has a condo fee in the high 600's monthly as does the Promenade. I agree with the other agents that you need to find out when the elevators and balconies were replaced last. It will all be reflected in your condo fee. One tower that I know had to redo all of their balconies and everyone's condo fee's doubled. Most of the older buildings have laundry in the hallway. It sounds like you are looking in Chevy Chase near Friendship heights. Let me know if I can be of assistance.

Colleen Gibson
Keller Williams
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 4, 2010
Hi Carol - that's quite a long term plan!

A building will see several renovations over a 30 year period. Has your building had new window, systems and other infrastructure updates? If not, they will. I would evaluate the health of the condo association as much as anything. Have they maintained the building well? Do they have substantial reserves for future upgrades? Are they budgeting for specific future upgrades?

Good luck. I don't think I've been in one home for more than 5 years.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 4, 2010
Keep in mind that in some areas there buildings that are way much older--as for the building structure down the road--none of can really answer for sure, as none of us will know the integrity of the building in the years to come--consider having a licensed engineer inspect the property--then go from there.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 4, 2010
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