It’s always been the American dream to own your own home—to be the King or the Queen of your castle, to have your own backyard, and maybe to plant a few vegetables.
But suppose you have obtained a strata title to your place, in other words, you bought a condominium. You own your four walls, but you have to share everything else with forty or four hundred other owners.
The condominium is a fairly new concept. Utah attorney Keith Romney came up with the idea about 55 years ago, and in 1960 in the fair city of Salt Lake City had the first, 120-unit, condominium built.
Does a condo fulfill our American dream of owning a home?
It depends on the way you look at it. From a commercial point of view, such as credit card applications or questionnaires, yes, you are a homeowner. But if you wish to be Queen of your castle, a condo may fall short. There are CC&R’s and House Rules to be obeyed, monthly homeowner dues to be paid, common area restrictions to be followed.
Many condos do not allow children or teenagers to be in the pool area or gym without parental supervision. Your dog, if the association allows you to have one, may be banned from the condo grounds. You may even be fined if your best friend barks at the wrong time or your music invades your neighbor’s space after ten o’clock at night.
Condo living is ideal for an adult who doesn’t want to be bothered with fixing the roof or mowing the lawn, a person who can tolerate a change in the lobby furniture or the color of the building, a person who doesn’t mind or care what the neighbors are doing.
Condo living provides great ease for its residents. They can leave town without being too concerned about burglars. They can enjoy the association’s amenities without having to buy and maintain them.
On the other hand, condo living requires a tolerant attitude—you need to be able to live and let others live too. Luckily, it’s only once in a great while that you come across a person who perversely rejects the idea of being neighborly to other residents.
So when you consider buying a condo, ponder your preferences and attitudes, and think about meeting your future neighbors. I plan to come back to the topic next time.