I'm suddenly aware of why people want a house, not a condo

Well, it’s because I’m a jerk.

…not intentionally of course. But I am.

I moved into this condo a year ago.

I was pretty sure the unit below me was vacant. Hell, it was always dark. Plus I’m in an area where a lot of people have vacated…

So I didn’t much mind my music volume. Until my neighbor very courteously rang my doorbell at 3 AM to say, “WTF, man?!”

I felt like a complete ass. I apologized like a madman, it was indeed entirely my fault. I took a bit of a tongue-lashing - again, completely deserved. I was too loud. I made a tenuous bit of peace by promising it wouldn’t happen again. Justifiably angry neighbor said - “look, just keep it down after midnight”.

Shame-faced, I agreed. Hell, he was right. My mistake. My fault.

I pushed that a bit tonight. 10:00 PM - well, let’s play some music. Doorbell rings. It’s the neighbor on the other side (who I’d swear hasn’t lived int the unit for a year). He very politely asks me to turn it down a bit.

Again, I’m justifiably an ass. I feel terrible, and apologize. He tells me his teenage daughter can’t sleep with the bass boom-boom-booming. Again I apologize. I promise him I’ll turn it down. We shake hands, he’s a friendly guy. I feel bad for causing him trouble.


I’m just not a normal hours guy. I don’t blame these guys a bit for calling me on my volume. Hell, if I was either of them, I’d do the same, and be even angrier than they were.

But man, I just can’t get used to 10 PM starting quiet hours. Sure, I use headphones now past then (because they deserve quiet at those hours). But it’s like learning a foreign language. 10 PM? Quiet? Yeah, I guess some people do that. I certainly should respect that…it just feels…strange.

Good on you for being a nice neighbor!

But I’m not sure it’s all that different in a house. Where I live the noise ordinance is 24/7, and there are still people who play their music loud enough that I can hear it blaring/booming/pounding even if I don’t share a wall with them.

I lived in a condo for 5 years and I am back in the same condo now (about a month now). I have never had the guy on the other wall complain about the noise.

The real reason people don’t like condos is because the condo associations are a bunch of psychopaths.

Read the Bentley Little book The Association. Even though it’s not a “condo” association - you get the drift.

My roommate recently found a buyer for his condo. We are both looking forward to the day of the closing so we can get the hell out of here.

A condo is a glorified apartment. Period.

All the responsibilities of a detached house, with none of the benefits. I have never understood why anyone would want to live in one.

Yeah… pretty much sums up why I’d never want to buy a condo. They really are just apartments you can buy. Just nicer, generally, and with maintenance fees and (usually) better upkeep as a result. But at best, you’ve got at least two condos connected to you at any given time.

I rent an apartment and I’m used to it, but if I were going to spend a few hundred grand on more permanent living quarters, I’d really rather an actual house. Sure, 'd have to do my own maintenance of the lawn – but I’d also get the pleasure of telling the damn kids to stay the hell off’n it. :slight_smile: And assuming I got a fully detatched, I also wouldn’t have to worry too much about music volume, and could even properly enjoy my home theater setup, which I really can’t do right now.

I’m an apartment dweller and I was spoiled for my first year at my current place because of the vacancy rate in this part of the state. So when I got upstairs neighbors, it was intrusive even though they weren’t really loud. I’d just gotten used to there being NO sounds above me. But of all the sounds that make it through the ceiling, it’s the sound of someone peeing at midnight that annoys me the most. I mean, I can’t tell the guy to not pee after hours!

Ever had to shovel snow?

We have one neighbor, about an acre or so away. Except for the gun incident a couple months ago, we have no complaints and either do they. I don’t know if I could get along in a suburban tract house anymore after all these years of doing whatever the hell I want. It’s a luxury, for sure.

Not all of them. If you live in a detached house, you have to do yard work and other outdoor maintenance tasks, or else find someone to do them. Someone living in a condo has that taken care of for them. They pay for it, but so do owners of detached houses who can’t or don’t want to do those jobs themselves.

Ha! When we lived in a condo we’d purchased, we had to shovel snow like crazy. Okay, it was a very unusual blizzard, and a lot of the owners were elderly or not up to shovelling, but we had to shovel quite a bit to clear a path from the underground parking to the street. (Blizzard of '96, for Victoria area Dopers.)

At any rate, I don’t want another condo, either. I want a house.

It’s just that a house will cost $400,000 and up and a condo will cost $300,000 and up.

Exactly. Not having the responsibilities of a detached house is half the point. They’re great choices for lots of people.

For younger people who want to own their home but have a limited budget it can be a great way to get into something that feels a little nicer. In my area, you can buy an old or slightly run down detached single family home for about the same price as a similarly sized condo that’s likely to be at most 10-15 years old and - thanks to condo association fees - much better maintained outside.

I grew up in a farm house my family has owned for 7 generations, so I never thought “new” would be appealing to me. Until I looked at some single family homes I could afford and realized that vinyl floors and cabinetry from the 70s isn’t very charming. For the same price you can buy a condo with reasonably nice hardwood floors and everything a bit more up to date. They’re not perfect, but it’s a good choice if you want something ‘nice’ you can live in for a number of years before you need something bigger.

On the other end of the spectrum, avoiding the responsibilities of a detached house is a real boon to older people who want that convenience. It doesn’t matter if you’re actually old and would have a hard time doing the work yourself or if you just spent a quarter of your life with a big house and a yard raising your family and are fucking sick of it. :slight_smile:

Many people dislike yard work and will gladly trade a little privacy for it. I happen to enjoy cutting the grass and raking the leaves so it wasn’t a hard decision between the two for me.
Although the derelict suv that has been in this guys driveway for over a year down the street and apparently the HOA has no power to get removed makes me wonder sometimes. :mad:

The problem with condo fees and maintenance in condos is that you have no way to guarantee you’ll get what you pay for.

In this complex, the condo fees have gone from $115 per month to $200 month since my roommate moved in, 8 years ago.

Initially the fees went up for what was supposed to be a limited time. And, that was done because the management company mismanaged funds and they needed the extra money. So, the owners had to bail them out. After they did the bailout, they never lowered the fees.

The yard work has gotten better. But, getting them to trim bushes is a nightmare. They don’t pick up fallen branches after big storms. They seem to think leaf blowers are a good idea.

As for snow removal - horrible.

First of all, they always take forever to do the snowblowing of the walkways and the plowing of the driveways. The city owns the streets so they do the removal there. The condo guys will do the driveways but never come back after the city does the streets so the end of the driveways get blocked in.

They don’t believe in fully uncovering the sidewalks so there’s always packed down snow and ice in all the walking areas.

There have also been times when they take so long to remove the snow that we just give up waiting and do it ourselves.

It wouldn’t be so frustrating if we knew the condo fees were at least going to something good. They’re not.

The unit owners actually tried to sue the association but it didn’t work (I don’t know why, I wasn’t here then).

I’ve watched a few of those home buying shows and whenever they look at condos the maintenance fees run about $15,000 to $25,000 a year. If you pay a lawn service it may run $100 to $150 a month. AFAIK you still have to pay for repairs of your condo, right? So what else are maintenance fees covering besides upkeep of the outside and community areas?

Security, mostly. I used to work security/concierge at a swanky waterfront condo complex in Toronto, where maintenance fees were often higher than the rent on an average 2 bedroom apartment in the city. (Typically $1500-2000/mo) To its credit, the place was kept spotless and in good repair pretty much at all times, though building security for both towers consisted mainly of 2-3 concierges at any given time. (3 during the day, 2 at night) However, this being in the city, there really weren’t any “grounds” to speak of; no grass to mow or anything like that. The residents didn’t seem to care though – but they were generally pretty rich to begin with. (They were usually high ranking businessmen, local radio and television personalities, local sports figures, etc.) But for such a high profile complex, even I thought the amenities were pretty sparse.

Speaking of amenities, fees also went into maintaining the pool, spa, exercise room, etc. A friend of mine used to work that crew, doing cleanup, testing the pool’s pH levels, etc. Condos usually include some sort of fitness and recreation amenities like this as well.

Mind you, my apartment building features such amenities as well, though they’re not nearly as cozy/swanky as some condos I’ve been to.

Where I live condo fees are more likely to cost $100-150 a month. I think anywhere the condos are priced similarly to a similarly sized detached home, the condo fees will be pretty reasonable. They’ll also pay for major maintenance like putting a new roof on or maintaining the plumbing between units. Things that might not be routine but that need to be paid for eventually.

We lived in a high-rise condo for 20+ years and the only problem we ever had with sound coming from another appartment was a kid bouncing a ball on the floor above a few time.

We have now lived in a house for 3 years and are often disturbed by the neighbour’s music till 1-2 am. We have complained to them a few time with no effect and I’ve called the city.

It is nice to live in a house, but not only do you need a house, you need a house with some acres around it. If your house is close to other houses you still have the same problem, they will be able to hear your noise and many localities have noise ordinances after a certain time.

I have a neighbor on the left about 1/8 mile away across a field, other than that no houses in sight, just woods. I can blast music all night and nobody cares, it’s pretty damn nice.

LionelHutz405, you are right. I live in California, and have never had to shovel snow. I can only imagine what a pain that must be. How do people avoid slipping and falling all the time, anyway? I’ve always wondered.

I live in an apartment, and we’re just really lucky to have great neighbors. We make ridiculous noise once in awhile, they make ridiculous noise once in awhile. We don’t hassle each other. But I did have to get some good headphones. :slight_smile:

Even if your maintenance fees are only $150/mo, like Wile E. says you can definitely get someone to take care of your yard for that much. I think my dad only pays $175 for an entire SEASON of having his driveway plowed.

My friends who live in condos also complain about the lackadaisical-ness of the maintenance. The one friend is getting ready to sell and I suggested that we take some time to clean off the outside of her entry way. It’s kind of gross looking. The reason? The condo association used a sprayer to put down mulch - in April - and it got all over her front door and window. Now it’s October and it still hasn’t been cleaned up. So now we have to clean it up, even though that is something that she is technically paying for to be done.

Parking at condos sucks too. At the aforementioned friend’s condo, each driveway has enough room for one car and there are 6 spots in a little area down the block. At my brother’s condo, everyone has 2 parking spots in their driveway and there are 4 spots in a central area for about a dozen condos. In the winter, the condo association lets the plow person leave their plow blade in the parking area, leaving only 3 spots. What a ripoff.