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Small home/condo

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I don't post here that much, so I'm not sure if this is a good place for this. DH and I recently moved to a new city, and we are currently renting. We signed a six month lease, which will be up at the end of January. We are in the position, if the price is right, to pay cash for a house/condo. (The move happened too fast for us to even consider buying when we moved). We've started to look a houses/condos and have been shocked at the difference in the housing market down here--much lower house prices, despite being a bigger city.

Anyway, we value a smaller space overall for various reasons. There are a lot of condo communities down here, and we're kind of leaning that way. However, most of them are 2 bedroom condos. We have 1 DD and one on the way--we're waiting to find out the gender. Is it a bad idea to go with a 2 bedroom condo? From our perspective, it seems to make sense to stay within our price range that would allow us to just pay cash, so that we can free up our rent money to save up for a condo/house that has more bedrooms, should that become a necessity in the future. We're thinking that realistically, though, the necessity of more bedrooms would only happen if we have two kids of different genders, and not until they are much older, since we cosleep and all that jazz. At what age does it become inappropriate for two different gendered children to share a bedroom?

Also, people that we've mentioned the possibility of a condo to have said that we would regret not having a yard with little ones. Any yardless people want to weigh in? The city we live in has a ton more to do with little ones, (including a lot of low and no cost options) and with me staying at home while our kids are young at the very least gives me the flexibility at least to get out of the house.
post #2 of 10

A few things to keep in mind with a condo.  What are the monthly mainteance fees or hoa fees?  You might find those vary from place to place.

Room sharing is going to depend greatly on personal preferance.

Not having a yard, does the condo development seem 'child friendly'?  does the development have a play area, green space etc?  what is the common area used for?

I live in a condo, which backs up to a golf course.  My kiddo is older so I dont need outdoor space but this is NOT a little kid friendly development.  (no space for ride on toys, no place to go 'play' no playground etc) But for my 13 yr old its great, not so much for a 3 yr old, ya know?

My water and HOA fee is included in my rent.  The hoa just billed all owners a 'special fee' for something-- i have no idea what.  My rent stayed the same and all owners needed to come up with $1500 each last month.  I think it was landscape and upkeep but I'm not sure.

Also think about the resale of your potential purchase.

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Those are some very good points--I will definitely keep those in mind. We've driven around in some communities, and a couple seemed somewhat kid friendly from the outside, so it seemed hopeful. HOA fees are definitely something for us to keep in mind. So far, they seem reasonable, but will need to see what is included.

One of the biggest draws for us, is the fact that exterior upkeep is taken care of (as we understand it), as well as how new the places we've been looking at are. The houses in our price range aren't as new. Our first (and so far only) experience as homeowners left us rethinking what we value as priorities in our life. To keep costs down, DH did as much around our 1953 house himself (mostly cosmetic--for one, he updated our bathroom, including tearing out old tile and installing a new shower surround), as well as having some pricier updates, like new roof, and AC/furnace. We were left exhausted from that house, and the time (and money, from a newer place) that we could potentially gain from not having to worry about landscaping, etc., seems worth it to us. DH works long hours and he has voiced wanting to gain more family time that maybe a condo could provide.
post #4 of 10

My kids (girl and boy)  shared a room until June and they just turned 10 and 8 (and it was a pretty small room!)  We were in a tiny apartment with no outside space.  We moved to a condo with a loft that my DD uses as her bedroom and there's a big grassy area (that I don't have to take care of ;)) that's right out front for them to run around and play.  One of the big draws of this place was the pool in the complex, which was awesome this summer for my kids.  However, now I realize I liked the location where I was before MUCH better than where I am now!  I was a lot closer to the places I go on a regular basis there and now I feel like I have to drive all the time to go anywhere.  Had I really thought things out, I may have tried to squeeze one more year out of the small apartment to save up some money to afford a bigger rental in that same neighborhood.  Anyway, I would make a list of what's important to you and rank those things and then decide if the condo allows you all of those things (for me, location is really important, but you may have different things on the top of your list).  Regarding b/g room sharing, I think it depends on the layout of the room--I think my kids could still share a room if there was a way to allow them both some private space.  GL!

post #5 of 10

I agree with honeybee on the location.  I live where I do because DS can walk to swimteam 3-5x a week.  We basically live at the country club.  Again not exactly little kid friendly but great for teenagers and older kids who dont need a playground or such.  We also have a pool here.  Also I'm with in a mile or 2 of the library, grocery, urgent care, hospital etc.


A condo is not with out 'expenses' as well.  You are responsible for the inside, it very well may need updating, maintence etc.

post #6 of 10

If you are inclined towards a condo, maybe you can look at the ones with a den...say, 2 bedroom with a den / sunroom. The den is usually the same size as bedroom but without a closet. You can buy a standalone closet or install a small one yourself. 


Sunroom is very similar to size as a bedroom, but with lot of windows. Some condos in downtown will be very small. Check out many - see whats included in the monthly condo fees... see what free amenities they have - swimming pol, gym, kids playground, etc... Some condos have large lawns as well. One of the condos my friend lived in, had community gardening space that they could rent - for $10 per year in a closed area. 


Also, see what other areas are walkable / easily commutable - grocery stores, schools, etc

post #7 of 10

We lived in an apartment for a while.  There was a playground right outside, but I couldn't just send my oldest out to play by herself until she was about four.  So I'd have to take the baby out, too, and there wasn't any nursing-friendly seating.  If one child had to go in to go potty, everyone else had to come along.  But it was nice to not have to deal with the yard work or maintenance. We chose a larger 3-bedroom apartment, since we were home all day and indoors all winter.  Then we filled it up with crap to hide the ugly walls and carpet.


Currently we are in a house, which is actually smaller than the apartment was, so we had to downsize a lot.  There is more yard work, but we have a reel mower, so I can mow while babywearing.  (Also we have a snow scoop for shoveling.)  The back yard is fenced, so all the kids that can walk can go in and out all day long if they want.  There are fewer children in the neighborhood for them to play with, though.

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Well, so far a condo still seems to be the way to go for our situation. There is a condo available that is across the street from the pool and fitness facility, in a very quiet, low traffic area. (Speed bumps throughout the subdivision). We did a walk through yesterday and the inside...definitely needs some cosmetic work. DH is not concerned, it's easily fixable. If we could get this condo for a price that takes into account the renovations needed, it looks very hopeful. Haven't talked to any neighbors (gonna let DH do that one!) but a drive around the subdivision revealed signs of other younger people, so that looks promising too. It's literally down the street from where we currently live, which is a really great location--work, grocery and parks all within a 1-2 mile radius. Keeping our fingers crossed on this one while we look at a couple other places.
post #9 of 10
For my family, separate bedrooms were needed due to personalities, not gender. BigGirl needed her own space at 3, YoungSon coslept till 12! I loved apartment living when they were 4-10: they could play in the common area with minimum supervision and there were always many other kids around. A private home might have been more isolating in that stage. I am not the play date type of mommy, so I was glad their social life was not my responsibility.

I agree that location is a huge factor. Could a 6 year old ride a bike around independently? Perhaps in a condo property, maybe not on neighborhood streets.
post #10 of 10

I live in a condo building with a young dd. While my building really doesn't have much for kids, I am in a good location in an urban area where I can walk to museums, parks, libraries, etc within 10 min. When dd wants to ride her bike or scooter we just go to the park. It's worked well for me.


She's had a few friends with a boy and girl that shared the same bedroom. I think it could work until one hits puberty/pre-teen years.

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