Condominium living, particularly in urban areas, largely was a preference of Gen Xers who sought to be at the heart of city life with its conveniences and distinct culture. However, of late, empty nesters uninterested in maintaining large homes have been leaving the suburbs to dwell in urban neighborhoods.
Empty nesters’ entry into the condo market has spurred a home design trend as homeowners seek the convenience and accessibility of urban living, but without forgoing the amenities and finishes of their larger, custom homes. The trend is growing across the Metropolitan Area – including the District, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Alexandria and McLean. Projects range from pull-and-replace kitchens to remodeled master suites to whole-unit renovations. Condominium remodeling is now an increasing portion of some remodeling firms’ business.
Finding, Evaluating the Right Unit
For those of you who are looking to buy a condo and are entertaining the idea of a remodel, keep in mind that each building is unique and some projects may be more feasible than others (even within the same building). Consider consulting someone who is an expert in your particular building before making an offer.
Love Thy Neighbor
If you recently have moved to a condo, you might appreciate this play on the old real estate adage: “Location, location, relationships.” Why the edit? Relationships are a key component to managing a condo remodel. A successful condo remodel project requires the delicate handling of a residential project and the complex systems of commercial building. Managing relationships with a condo board, building manager, engineer and others requires a specific skill set so be sure to work with a remodeler who has experience in the specialized job of condo renovations. Remodelers must address noise and debris regulations, access and tenant/worker safety, which are common issues with low- and high-rise residential projects. Strategic process and communication are critical to establishing and maintaining a good rapport with your new neighbors, building management and engineers.
Customizing Your Perfect Condo
Once you dive into the design phase, you’ll soon learn that one of the greatest benefits of condo remodeling is that the dollars previously spent on landscaping can instead be spent on finishes, appliances, flooring and the other interior comforts. Those dollars can go a long way in customizing ample storage, ensuring privacy for guests, replicating a beloved gourmet kitchen or making the space feel more open – all common concerns when transitioning from a single family home.
The current trend toward condo living is exciting. There are many possibilities for turning your condo unit into a condo home.
Josh Baker is the founder and co-chair of BOWA, an award-winning design and construction company specializing in luxury renovations, remodels and additions in the greater Washington, D.C. area. BOWA has more than 25 years of experience and has been honored with 170 local and national awards. Reach him at 703-734-9050 or visit www.bowa.com.