Kids gone? Too much house? Tired of stairs? Want to travel more?
Each of these are great reasons to consider downsizing.
It’s important to know your options to choose your perfect “next place.” Sometimes a downsize is as simple as finding a home with smaller square footage and a main floor master. It may be moving to an Active Adult community with many amenities. It might be a condo, townhome or patio home where all of the exterior landscape maintenance is handled by an HOA, leaving you free to wander the earth. Here’s a bit of info on all of these:
Patio Homes are similar to standard "single family homes." They are usually one level and can be stand-alone, or possibly have a shared wall. Yards are typically much smaller, and exterior maintenance (lawn care, snow removal, painting, roof) is usually provided by the HOA (Home Owners Association). They often have attached garages, and homeowners share common area amenities.
Condos are similar to apartments. Depending on where your condominium is located in the building, you could have neighbors above, below or on the side(s). Condo ownership is "from the studs in" - you only own the interior portion of your unit. If there is covered or indoor parking, it may be located away from the residential building. Mortgage lenders are very diligent when it comes to approving a condo loan since you only own "studs in." The lender must be sure that all of the external features of the building are adequate, that there are ample funds in reserve to take care of building maintenance, and that there aren't any pending legal actions against the condominium community. This can require additional steps and time in your lending process. Condos usually have HOA's that cover exterior maintenance and landscape care.
Townhomes come in many shapes and sizes, but the important differentiation from a condo is that with a townhome, you own the land below and the airspace above your unit. Mortgage lenders prefer this (over condos), and you'll find the loan process much simpler. People generally think of townhomes as two-story units, but there are often ranch-style models available. Many townhomes also offer attached garages that lead directly into your unit. Townhomes usually have HOA's that cover exterior building maintenance and landscape care.
ACTIVE ADULT COMMUNITIES
Active Adult or “55+” communities” are springing up all over Colorado. Generally, one buyer must be at least 55 years of age to qualify for the purchase. These communities are usually full of activities and opportunities. Many offer huge club houses with amenities like art studios, wood working shops and ball rooms. They often have pools and spas, workout rooms, bocce and pickleball courts. They almost always have a variety of clubs to join – everything from Bunco to home towns to favorite sports teams. Many of the homes are ranches or models with main floor master bedrooms.
WHATS THE SAME***?
If you are considering a transition from a traditional home to a condo/townhome/patio home, buckle-up for HOA (Home Owners Association) fees. This is an amount you pay each month (in addition to your mortgage payment). HOA fees can be hundreds of dollars a month. These monies are used to maintain common areas, pay for snow removal, landscape maintenance and some property insurance if applicable. Some of these funds are held "in reserve" to pay for large maintenance items for the entire community, such as painting buildings, replacing roofs and more. The purpose of the HOA is to maintain the community and keep your property value as high as possible. Be sure to work with your real estate agent and your lender to calculate how HOA fees will impact the amount you owe each month. REMEMBER: These pesky HOA fees pay to take work and worry off your plate, freeing you up to enjoy life to the fullest.
Your condo/townhome/patio home community will probably have "common areas" that are shared among residents. These can be as simple as a small, grassy area, or as complex as a clubhouse with pool, tennis courts and more. When you own a property in one of these communities, you also own a proportional percentage of the common areas. For example, if there are 50 units in your community, you would own 1/50th of the common areas. A portion of your HOA fees are used to maintain these common areas. Therefore, you can expect higher fees in communities that have more complex common areas. It costs much more to maintain and staff a clubhouse and pool than it does to water and mow a small grassy area.
TIP: Every community is different. Even within the same city, you'll find vast differences in requirements, fees and rules for these communities. Your real estate agent should help you understand everything before committing to a purchase.
Colorado Transitions Real Estate Expert
P.O. Box 646
451 Oak St. #208
Frederick, CO 80530-0646