Betty Epperson of Epperson Realty Group
Downsizing to an Austin Condo - Can you do it? (and should you?)
Are you tired of cleaning a big house and mowing an even larger lawn? Do you want the freedom to travel more without being tied to the heavy maintenance of a home? We hear that often from our clients that are considering downsizing to an Austin condo. For many homeowners, this is an attractive idea, but it’s also a big step. Here are some things to consider to help you decide if you’re ready to make the move from house to condo.
Downsizing: For most people, moving from a single-family Home to a condo (even if you invest in a two or three bedroom unit) means downsizing. While some condos are spacious, many are on the cozy side with less nooks and crannies to stuff your belongings. There are fewer cabinets and closets and no attics or basements. You probably won’t want to cram all the furniture from your house into your condo. Are you ready to sell some of your belongings or give them away?
The happy downsizer is ready to dump the 3 boxes of outdoor Christmas decorations, the lawn mower, the extra furniture (or heck, dump it all and buy new!) and all those things that haven't been used in years. The reluctant downsizer gets stressed thinking about it.
One solution is to consider a townhome with a garage. You still get some of the freedoms of downsizing from a home, but don't have to give away everything you've currently stashed in the garage.
Condo Size: Be realistic. If you’re accustomed to living in a large house with spare rooms for visitors, you may not transition well to a smallish one-bedroom condo, even if it is more affordable. Do you anticipate frequent over-night guests? If so, a two or three bedroom unit is probably going to make you happier in the long run. Plus, you can use spare bedrooms to stash your things when they’re not in use. Consider a variety of communities in different locations. You may need to compromise on location in order to afford a condo or townhome that is visitor friendly and affords you more space.
Privacy and Security: You’re used to privacy if you’ve lived in a single-family house. No neighbors above you running across the floor. No tiptoeing at night to show courtesy to the neighbors below, and certainly, no sharing the pool with strangers.
If you don’t want to sacrifice your privacy, a townhome, patio home, or a community like Austin’s Courtyard townhomes is the perfect solution. This gated community features free-standing buildings that look like townhomes. They offer private driveways and garages and even small, grassy backyards.
Security is a priority for most people, and many of Austin’s condo communities are gated. Others offer security guards, secure entrances, or a combination of all. It’s important to choose the one that feels right to you.
Parking: Some complexes have attached garages, some have detached garages, and some offer only covered spaces to park your vehicle. We've talked about the advantage of having a garage for better downsizing, but keep in mind that even if the condos do have garages, many of them are smaller than those attached to homes. If you go the high-rise route, examine the parking situation with care if your vehicle is important. How many spaces come with the condo? Are they deeded to the condo or assigned by the CC&Rs? Who will be parked next to you? Are the parking spots easy to get to?
Expenses: Though HOA fees are what makes condo living care free, you'll want to be prepared for that expense. HOA fees cover things like maintenance, landscaping, security, community amenities like pools or tennis courts, and often water, sewer and garbage.
You’ll also need condominium insurance. While HOA fees include insurance, every policy is different and coverage varies. The only thing HOA policies have in common is that they don’t insure personal belongings inside a unit. That’s what your condo insurance will provide. In general, condo insurance is very affordable, but we don't suggest skipping it as it often covers problems in your unit that spill over into other units (like a broken pipe flooding your neighbor below).
Maintenance: One of the major draws of condo life is that your HOA fees take care of much of the maintenance and landscaping for you. On the other hand, if you enjoy tinkering around the yard or working on a project in your garage, moving to a condo might prove to be a bit of a shock. Consider a townhome or patio home that has a smaller yard or at least a condo with an attached garage. They give you just enough room to tinker without having to spend all of your time cleaning and mowing.
Brodie Heights is a good choice for those who like their own backyard space but are attracted to to condo living for other reasons. It is a beautiful community surrounded by wide open spaces. Homes offer spacious floorplans, attached garages, fenced in backyards, and covered patios.
Amenities: Condo communities vary in the types of amenities they offer. There are those that only offer a community pool and clubhouse, others that pamper their residents with a variety of luxurious amenities and those in between.
Barton Place is a new condo community that likes to spoil. This complex features on-site and virtual concierge service, a state-of the art fitness center, an outdoor exercise and stretching area, guest suites, a resort-style pool and lounge area, and an outdoor kitchen and dining area. If amenities are a big draw for you, then consider Barton Place. We have several other condo options that fit the bill for great amenities as well.
If you’re ready to compromise a little on privacy and space and love the idea of living in a low maintenance home that offers amenities within walking distance, you’re probably ready to make the move from house to condo. There are so many beautiful condos in Austin to choose from. Contact us. Tell us what you’re looking for, and we’ll help you make the exciting transition into your new dream home.
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The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on color, race, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability.
Information Deemed Reliable But Not Guaranteed. The information being provided is for consumer's personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. This information, including square footage, while not guaranteed, has been acquired from sources believed to be reliable.
Last Updated: 2021-09-22