Thinking about making the leap from condo living to single-family homeownership? Read on. We’ve helped many clients when moving from a condo to a house so we thought we’d share the main benefits of making this move (plus some downsides you should keep in mind).
The upside of moving from a condo to a house:
Privacy. This is the big one! No more having to make small talk with neighbors in the elevator. No more shared walls or hearing your neighbors’ music or arguing. You get the idea.
More Space. No more one-level living. In most cases, you will have separation between bedrooms and living spaces. Maybe you can finally stop sharing a bathroom with your guests and have your office double as your guest room.
More Storage. Attics, basements, sheds, perhaps a garage, more cabinets, and closets. Enough said.
More Time. No more waiting for the elevator, finding your car in the garage, walking down the halls to your unit, or going to the basement to your storage unit. Walk out your front door and GO.
No More Condo Fees. While homeownership certainly has its own costs, you’ll appreciate not seeing that hefty charge on your bank statement every month.
No More Rules and Regulations. No more odd restrictions – you can now get a dog that weighs more than 25 pounds and play your music after 11 p.m.
Decorate As You Please. Go ahead and paint your front door red or put up that “festive” holiday light display.
A Yard! You can plant a garden or landscape however you wish. As an added bonus, you don’t have to take your pup for a walk if you don’t want to.
Your Mail Comes to You. No more trips to the mailroom. No more missed invitations or bills because you’ve not gotten your mail in a week.
The downsides of moving from a condo to a house:
Hefty Initial Expenses. Get your credit card ready for a workout. You will want to buy furniture, rugs, window treatments, etc. for rooms you did not have before. Additionally, you’ll have to buy items you didn’t need in a condo – like a lawnmower, shovels, hoses, etc.
Higher Maintenance Costs. The roof, windows, and all exterior maintenance are now your responsibility. When the exterior of the house needs to be painted, that’s now on you.
Higher Utility Costs. More square footage = higher heating and cooling bills. You will now have a water bill and guess what, it costs a lot to water your lawn. You may also now have to pay new bills you didn’t have in your condo — cable, trash, a gym membership, etc.
More Maintenance. You’ll have a lawn to mow, snow to shovel, gutters to clean, more rooms to dust. And there’s no longer anyone to call when there’s a problem.
Remembering the Trash. No more walking down the hall to the chute. You’ll have to remember to take the trashcans to the curb on the correct day(s).
The Bottom Line. As with most things, there are pros and cons when moving from a condo to a house. You will know when the time is right and you’re ready for the additional space and privacy (and responsibilities).
Allison Goodhart DuShuttle is lead agent for The Goodhart Group, Alexandria’s and McEnearney Associates’ top-producing real estate team. In 2015, she was nationally recognized by Realtor Magazine, being named to its “30 Under 30” club. Reach her at 703-362-3221 or firstname.lastname@example.org.