One of the decisions I will need to make someday is whether to keep my house, downsize to a smaller place or move to a condo.
I've pretty much decided to eliminate the middle choice. I like my current home a lot, even though it is old (built in 1929), large, and has too many stairs and too much yard.
Need I say that ranch-style bred moi first fell in love with the house BECAUSE of the stairs and the yard and its age?
I live only ten minutes from city center (20 minutes if I'm traveling by bus).
But I am very attracted to life in the middle of my city--the sheer walkability, the restaurants, the magnificent library, how close the cultural institutions are.
I've never minded apartment life, and I certainly would not mind NOT having to worry about upkeep. I refer to my yardcare as 'Darwinian.' I have the lawn moved and the flower beds weeded, but whatever grows is what survived the rainy season. Nothing is planned, so I'm always as surprised as the next person to see what comes up when.
So, in general terms, I think I'm the ideal condo-dweller.
BUT, I worry a lot about monthly condo fees and how unpredictable they are. Isn't the point of paying off my mortgage prior to retirement, NOT to have more monthly fees? At least with a home, I make a personal decision as to what I want fixed or updated. It's scary to think of a condo board making those decisions for me, possibly at a cost that I could not afford.
Then, too, I wonder if I'm ready or ever will be for the rules and regulations that come with owning a condo. I've never been part of an HOA nor wanted to be. I prefer eccentricity to cookie-cutter houses.
Finally, at some level, I am concerned that condos are seldom good buys--the recession hit their market far harder than the housing market, which was bad enough.
I'm starting to read up on the advantages/disadvantages of condos versus homes See here and here--read the comments as well.