Condo/Townhome Hell

Another great read from DoctorHousingBubble.com about condo prices hitting highs in Orange county. 

I never write about condos or town homes because like my friend at Dr. Housing I feel that they are just overpriced apartments. When we bought our first house and went to insure it I wash shocked that they only wanted to insure it for ~$250k. WTF, I just paid $650k for this house. The agent explained in the event that the house was leveled it would only take $250k (in 2010 dollars) to rebuild it. So my logic is that the balance of the $400k was the value of the land.

Want to know how much land value you have in a condo? In a townhome?

Absolutely NONE. Zero, Zilch, Nada.

You saved 20-30% buying a condo vs a comparable single family house so that you can have shared walls, crazy HOAs, rules on how you can live, work, entertain and play in and around your own home. Communal issues with roofs, termites, gardening, trash, parking ….And in the event of the condo being leveled, underwater doesn’t even begin to describe your situation.

After we sold our house we moved into a town home. It had been remodeled in this decade, big enough for our family, had some nice amenities and the landlord was the only one willing to offer a six month lease. (For sure I’d be able to find a house to buy in six months right?) I learned a lesson know one wants to talk about in regards to condo/town home ownership – there are so many intangible risks that make that cost savings feel unimportant.

Crazy neighbors?
Militant, geriatric home owner’s association members?
Rules about BBQs, storing bikes, toys, where the kids can play…..
Did I mention your neighbor could be bat-shit crazy?
Being asked to vacate your own home for community repairs.

We couldn’t wait to get out of that place and as much as I wanted to scream from the rooftops how no one with kids should move into this town home community I couldn’t. That’s the secret, no one wants to air the dirty laundry associated with communal living. But if I were to suggest you move into an apartment after living in single family home you would say no way.

A condo/town home is just an apartment. A very expensive apartment.

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