SIX THINGS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN
you are looking for a second home, downsizing, or just a first time
home buyer, condominiums and lofts are a fantastic choice.
Obviously, there are many lifestyle choices when choosing a
but condominium living has much to offer. Here are six
to consider before you go condo:
1 • Lifestyle / Location
doubt lifestyle and location are the biggest factors in condo
ownership. Resort style living has some great perks.
Lately, hotel like services are becoming more typical and are
designed to make an owner feel as though they are on permenant
vacation. Also, most of the urban choices offered are located
the heart of the city and are usually within walking distance to
numerous restaurants, shops, light rail, business centers, and the
airport. That's a good thing since living in a condo offers
opportunity for an owner to "lock and leave" without the worry found
with a single family residence.
Condo living also means you
part of a community that is usually much more tightly knit than a
suburban subdivision. Neighbors to the left, right, above and
below may take some getting used to, but for most, the sense of
camaraderie is well worth it.
2 • Amenities
are getting more elaborate: Meeting rooms with video hook-ups and
wi-fi, rooftop pools and spas, large patios, real work out rooms, club
houses and lounge/party rooms, and concierge services that arrange for
everything from dry cleaning to Jet-Ski rentals. Hayden Ferry
Lakeside is equiped with a 10 seat theater. But some of these
amenities come with a price. "What amenities do you want?
What amenities can you live without? asked real estate broker
Tokoph. He lives and works in the Lofts at Orchidhouse in
downtown Tempe, which has no extras. He doesn't mind paying
gym membership instead of having a gym in his building.
like that keep his home owners association fees low. A 1
condo at the Orchidhouse with no amenities has an HOA fee of $285 per
month whereas a one bedroom at Hayden Ferry Lakeside can be $800 per
month. The buyer really has to consider what amenities they
use on a regular basis.
3 • Space and Storage
come in all sizes, but cost per square foot is higher than for single
family homes, so you'll pay more to spread out.
can't be a clutter collector, Tokoph said, and think twice if you need
to store ATV's, personal watercraft, kayaks and so on. Most
condos will charge extra for storage- if they even offer it. Otherwise,
nearby storage facilites start at around $35 per month. A
price to pay to have access to your large "toys".
well-designed space with built in wardrobe closets and desks can feel
roomier. "Nine hundred square feet of space in one unit and
square feet in another unit can feel completely different" said David
Wallach of W Development. You really have to watch out for
a 1 bedroom condo will come with 1 parking space, a 2 bedroom with 2
parking spaces and so on. But don't be surprised to pay
extra for a parking space if needed at a high-rise.
you like to host parties, inspect the amount of guest parking space
provided. You may want to switch to more intimate dinners.
Also, look for available nearby street side parking or public
garages and find out the cost.
5 • Noise
in a downtown unit will naturally be noisier than in a sleepy suburb,
but it is not like apartment living. Today's newly built
high-rises tend to be sturdier and more soundproof, thanks to
If noise is an issue for you, open the
to get a sense of the outside world noise. Then close them
and see if the noise level is livable. Tokoph, for one, loves
particularly when he can see and hear fireworks over Tempe Town Lake or
listen to the music playing at the Tempe Arts Festivals. "If
open the windows, it's like we have a band in our house", he said.
"For the times when you need absolute silence, or if you are
sensitive to it earplugs are always a good option."
6 • Investment
general, condos do not appreciate as fast as single family homes,
according to research by Arizona State University. There are
exceptions, but make sure to look into the number of units available in
a given building and the prices. More units on the market can
mean lower prices and not as fast an appreciation. However,
can be the best time to buy, Tokoph said, if you're in it for the long
(Adapted from Arizona Republic's
"Vertical Space" by Geri Koeppel)
to live or work in Downtown Tempe? Call an Urban Real Estate
Broker who actually lives & works in Downtown Tempe!
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