Real estate tip: Why buy a condo?


sponsored post by Lauren Hruby and Scott DeVouton

Houses dominate the Kansas City housing market. So much so, that condos may not even be on a home buyer’s radar.  In many cases, a condo may meet a buyer’s “wants” and “needs,” and could even feature benefits not imagined coming with a house.  Houses will indeed continue to be the right fit for most buyers out there, but a condo may be a great choice for a whole host of buyers.

Who might be in this house/condo crossover area?  If maintenance-free living is a high priority, a condo could be a great fit.  Anyone looking to downsize might look at a condo or two.  Anyone who travels frequently would appreciate the turn-key features of a condo.  Anyone who enjoys a social setting close to lots of activities might enjoy condo living.  Condos can also be wonderful city getaways.  Any buyer who hits any of these points should include condos in their home search.

Location. Condos are typically located conveniently close to all sorts of amenities and activities.  Shopping, restaurants, health care and other amenities are usually a short walk or drive away, if not in the same building. Most people associate condo living with city living, for good reason, but the same convenience is found throughout the greater Kansas City area. One reason for this is all the new urbanist developments that have popped up around the area over the last 15 years.

Turn-Key. A distinct advantage condos have over houses is that condos are maintenance-free.  There is typically no grass to mow, no leaves to rake, and no snow to shovel. This can be enormous for someone who’s schedule, physical limitations or simple lack of interest make home maintenance an extra burden. Tools, time and supplies are also costs associated with routine maintenance. Under a typical monthly condo fee, all of this is taken care of for you.  Condos also typically cost less to heat, cool and clean. These aren’t “sexy” factors, for sure, but they can become significant for someone who lives a busy life, seeks to conserve energy, or just wants to spend time and resources on other things.

Security. In addition to regular modes of home security, condos offer an on-site social network of watchful neighbors and feet on the street. Author Jane Jacobs wrote about the safety found in mere activity in a neighborhood. Each condo offers this sort of active micro-community. Condos also offer the basic support of neighbors that are close-by and can provide all sorts of help, including that emergency cup of sugar.

Extra Amenities. Condos frequently offer amenities that a buyer doesn’t want to install or maintain in a house.  Amenities such as swimming pools, exercise facilities and grilling patios are all attractive condo pluses. Some condos also provide concierge service, meeting and event space, walking trails and heated underground parking, all luxuries that any homeowner would enjoy.

Proximity to Parks and Culture. Condos are often located close to cultural attractions, such as museums, entertainment and restaurants.  They can also be found near parks and community centers. For the buyer who enjoys getting out into the world, this is a great feature.

The Condo Search.  At this point, you may have identified with a few of the above condo-friendly situations. You may indeed be in the house/condo crossover area.  Looking at condos is not much different than looking for a house. Most buyers work with their agent to set up an automatic search of what’s on the market and what comes on the market each day. Your can set up condo showings just like house showings, so you can check out not only the condo, but its amenities and grounds as well.

Buying a Condo. Buying a condo tends to be a slower process than buying a house.  In addition to a little extra paperwork, condo financing is a different animal from house financing.  A higher down-payment is typically required, for example.  FHA financing also operates differently with condos.  It’s important that you talk to a lender right away, and that the lender understands condo financing.  If you and your agent are on top of things early in the process, buying a condo should be just as smooth as buying a house.

Some of you will know right away that a condo is the way to go, while some of you are squarely house owners.  But many buyers are house/condo crossovers. If you are indeed in this zone, we encourage you to include condos in your home search.  Kansas City will remain a single-family home town, but don’t overlook condos. You might just find your hidden Kansas City gem.

Author’s Note – If you enjoy reading our Midtown KC Post articles, and might be buying or selling your own home, please contact us. We enjoy writing these, and love helping people.

Lauren Hruby Real Estate


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