Monday, April 23, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: Condo living, two (!) years later

Time flies when you're having fun! Today marks two years (already!) since we moved into our condo!  (We actually took possession the day before, but this is the day the moving van came & brought all our furniture.)  Two years later... and we still have pictures piled up in the office/second bedroom that need hanging... I still want to paint our bedroom... and we still need to get window coverings (I'm thinking vertical blinds) for the living room. It hasn't been a priority, but the townhouses under construction behind us will likely be finished later this summer/fall, and privacy will then become more of an issue.

Everything I wrote in my post last year -- "Condo living, one year later" -- still applies, some of it even more so. A couple of further observations at the two-year mark:

*  People are always asking me, "So how do you like it here?"  (Meaning, the community we moved to.)  I always respond, "We love our condo, and we love being closer to family." (And that is true.)  If I get challenged on the implied, "BUT...." I will talk about the insane traffic, exacerbated by the never-ending roadwork. :p  Even the people who have lived here all their lives and love it here will concede that it's ridiculous...! (and even dh, much as he loves living here, has admitted it's nuts)  I've only taken the new subway downtown once so far, but I love knowing that it's there if I want to get downtown quickly and without the hassles of traffic.

*  When real estate experts tell you to pay attention to the property management and reserve fund status, they're not kidding.  The property management company that was here when we moved in (installed by the builder) turned out to be completely inept, and was ousted last summer, leaving a huge mess behind them. It turned out they'd completely underestimated expenses in the budgets they'd prepared, and had been borrowing from Peter (i.e., our reserve fund) to pay Paul. Two of the three board members resigned, and the new board had to levy a special one-time fee to bring the reserves back up to reasonable levels again. The new property managers pretty much had to start from scratch, but they are far more efficient and things are operating much more smoothly these days. Thank goodness!!

* One lesson you quickly learn, living in a condo, is that you can't choose your neighbours...!  Of course, we couldn't choose our neighbours at our house, either -- we had some good ones, and some not so good.  Same here. I'm thinking in particular about the annoying neighbours directly across the hall from us, whose second-hand smoke was thick enough that it had us choking in our unit for a while. :p They further endeared themselves to us (not) by having regular screaming matches -- sometimes late at night after we'd gone to bed. :p Needless to say, we were positively giddy when we checked out the real estate listings for our building last month (as we periodically do) and discovered their unit was up for sale! They moved out at the end of March. The empty unit remains for sale -- we've seen & heard a number of potential buyers coming & going to view it -- but so far, no takers.  Crossing our fingers that the new neighbours won't be quite as, ummm, interesting, as the last ones...! (Now, if we could just do something about the people above us... we think they must have young kids -- and probably little boys -- because we hear a lot of energetic running/thumping around, starting at about 3:15 every afternoon (after school/daycare?) & continuing on until mid-evening (bedtime?).)

*  Construction on the townhouse project behind us is in full swing. It's possible that people will be moving in later this summer/fall. It's been a bit of a nuisance in terms of noise & dirt, but it's also been kind of fascinating to watch them working and watch the process unfold.

*  I find I rarely think about our old house these days, and not as much about the stuff I miss about our old community. (We still go back there every few weeks -- our family dr & hairdresser are still there, and while we're there, we usually visit Katie at the cemetery & go to the local mall.) 

*  The more condos I see -- in the real estate listings, and in "real life," the more I believe we really lucked out with this unit. It's still one of the most spacious, with the most closet/cupboard/storage space and one of the best views (yes, there's construction, but I still think it's better than looking out on the highway or an industrial park...) -- among other attributes. :)  I will admit, I had my qualms about condo living -- but overall, I feel lucky to live here. :) 

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.  


  1. I'm laughing about property management as I have so much experience. Good ones are hard to find as this is such an easy business for making money (and most boards are versed in watching their bottom line). As insanely stressful as it was, I don't regret being on our condo board for 11 years as it gave me insight into what was happening and where the money was going. Especially when it was going solely to pay for ridiculous expenses by a crappy property management company.

    Condo living is something most in your generation aren't familiar with. They are getting a taste with the arrival of HOAs. That said, as people age, I think people will start moving more into shared living communities given there are perks like no yard work, not having to worry about maintenance on your own and even community.

    Happy second anniversary in your home!

    1. Most of the people living here are either young people starting out (many of them renters) or older retired people who have downsized... you're right, they don't have experience with property managers or condo boards -- but they (the older ones) are mostly immigrants who took great pride in their homes and are VERY particular about keeping up this property too. ;) We're lucky that the current board president is a young lawyer who has some experience in real estate matters.

  2. Yes, the property management issues would worry me a little. And I sympathise about the kids upstairs. We lived in an apartment in Bangkok, and it sounded as if a child had a ping-pong ball that they would drop regularly on the hardwood floors. It was very annoying, though fortunately, didn't happen too frequently!

    I'm really glad you feel lucky to live there. That's the best feeling!

  3. The neighbours thing is a real problem. There should be some kind of guarantee when you spend insane amounts of money on an overpriced house or apartment (I'm thinking of here in ROI) that you'll get some degree of good behaviour or quietness. Our neighbours are noisy from dawn to dusk (by dusk I mean midnight). If it isn't screaming, shouting and yodelling without taking a single breath for hours on end (without wanting to sound racist, because I'm not, they're a nationality that are stereotyped for being very, very loud and gathering in large numbers to shout at one another - all true I'm afraid), it's thundering up and down the stairs, praying loudly in unison, slamming the door so hard our wall shakes or having the TV volume on 11+. Endlessly, I mean. We've tried everything (council, police etc), but the only thing is to wait for our house price to go up to what we paid for it, then leave. It seems unfair: are we not so advanced in 2018 that some kind of neighbours' 'code of behaviour' can't be made an official thing?

  4. I am happy that you are happy to live there!

  5. Oh, jeez...the property management thing would make me uneasy. I'm glad the new people seem to be much better at the whole management aspect, though, and hopefully the reserves bounce back and become more sustainable. I lived in an apartment in Yonkers for a couple years, and the guy above us had a daughter who stayed on a somewhat erratic schedule, but I swear she was rollerskating up there. Or they were having office desk chair races. I get twitchy even when we're on vacation and the people above us in the hotel are clomping around. And congrats on the vacating of the super smokers across the way! I'm glad that overall you're happy with condo living. Here's to another year!