UrbanTurf Reader Asks: How Do You Feel About Your Condo Purchase?

by Mark Wellborn


In this installment of UrbanTurf Reader Asks, a prospective condo buyer wonders how people who bought condos in the last few years feel about their purchase today.

There is a lot of talk on this site about people who are looking to buy a condo (I am one of them), but I would love to hear from those readers who bought condos two or three years ago and how they feel about their purchase. I know that property values are down across the board, so I am more interested in hearing about how buyers feel about the unit, location, building amenities, convenience, etc. and if they have any regrets.

Post your thoughts in the comments section. If you would like to submit a question for UrbanTurf Reader Asks, send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

See other articles related to: urbanturf reader asks, dclofts, condo buying

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/urbanturf_reader_asks_how_do_you_feel_about_your_condo_purchase/1425


  1. James said at 11:51 am on Tuesday October 20, 2009:

    I bought a two-bedroom unit at a new condo development in Capitol Hill in 2007 (an advertiser on this site) and am very happy with the purchase. Yes, I have lost money on my initial investment, but the convenience and location have lived up to billing, I have a parking space, and I have had no problems with my unit. By the time i do decide to sell, the market will have come back.

  1. Drake said at 12:51 pm on Tuesday October 20, 2009:

    I have a one-bedroom in Logan Circle, bought it two years ago, and like James, have no buyer’s remorse. It is in a ten-unit building with few amenities, but the location is great and the condo association is on top of everything. The only thing it lacks is a parking space which I had hoped I would be able to fit into the deal.

  1. Katie said at 1:37 pm on Tuesday October 20, 2009:

    I bought a one-bedroom condo in Ballston a few months ago and I’m really happy with my decision. The building and amenities are great, and the location is perfect for me. Since moving in I’ve seen one bedrooms in my building sell for almost exactly what I paid, so I feel good that things can only get better from here.

  1. Michael said at 2:52 pm on Tuesday October 20, 2009:

    Bought in a co-op next to Navy Yard 2 years ago, but did so knowing I planned to live here a while.  Couldn’t be much happier.  The good: garage parking, 1 block from Metro, easy access to highways.  Downside: value down a bit, but I never intended to “flip” my place.

  1. B said at 3:22 pm on Tuesday October 20, 2009:

    I sold a condo a few years ago and I’m grateful I did.  Fee for the building kept rising with dropping valuation.  Equity is in a better place now

  1. Aaron said at 3:35 pm on Tuesday October 20, 2009:

    I recently purchased a 2 bedroom / 2 bathroom condo in LeDroit Park and I could not be happier.  The unit is amazing, my neighbors are wonderful, the neighborhood has lots of character, and I feel like I got a decent deal on the place.  I sacrificed location in order to have a larger place with a smaller price tag, but the location hasn’t been an issue…still walkable to Metro and the restaurants/bars on U Street.  It even came with a parking space!

  1. rdhd said at 8:13 am on Wednesday October 21, 2009:

    One bedroom in the Cathedral Heights/Wesley Heights area.  One parking spot.  Right on a bus line to Dupont.  Lost money like a number of people.  I can live with that.

    However, the crazy, nut-job, wackos I live with are another matter.  And there’s no way to know that’s what you’ll have until you move in.  Make sure the finances are fine and the building is up to date, then avoid all Board activities.  I sat on the Budget and Finance Comm for 2 years and the Board for a short while and the vitriol and name calling were astounding.  I walked out of my last Board meeting and have never gone back.

  1. MattMetro said at 8:42 am on Wednesday October 21, 2009:

    I bought at Metropole a year ago, and am very happy. While location was a big factor for me (Whole Foods, walk to Metro) the building itself has been very nice to live in and my friends love coming over to hang out. The last thing is not necessarily a good thing I realize.

  1. Pat said at 11:03 am on Wednesday October 21, 2009:

    I purchased a condo in a four unit building in the Brentwood neighborhood in 2006 and I definitely have buyers remorse.  While the location is great (walk to RI Metro, Giant, Home Depot) the neighbors in the rowhomes are very friendly and the condo fees are really low (under $200), parts of the neighborhood are annoying and sketchy.  People from other areas hang out in front of your building (sometimes for drug sales), they throw trash in the street instead of the trash can and park in your private parking space.  I was the first one to purchase in the building and thus became victim to the worst downstairs neighbors I’ve ever had to live with - they run in and out of the building 24 hours a day. So much that the front door is now broken and will not lock. Not to mention four people (2 children, 2 adults) live in a 700 sq ft space and people in the neighborhood constantly run in and out of their apt. and their unit is junky and filthy dirty.  My property manager refuses to step foot inside their door.  My neighbor across the hall decided she wanted to move out and purchased a brand new townhouse in Ft Totten (yes she has two mortgages now) and that’s when we found out how much of mistake we had made in purchasing in this building.  The person who sold us the units could not sell his last unit in the building and was designated the condo president, in charge of paying bills, maintenance etc but sometime in early 2008, he stop returning our phone calls and e-mails about maintenance problems and apparently stop paying bills and we realized we had no money in reserves, the building utilities were about to be shut off, no insurance and a lien was placed on the building for non-payment of water. He disappeared (rumor is he was deported back to the middle east) his unit went into foreclosure and his tenant had to move out with the help of Fannie Mae.  We have had mice problems, roaches, etc. Now I am the condo president.  I’ve hired a property manager and we now have everything set up correctly including placing a lien on the foreclosed unit for non-payment of condo fees. I’m sure that my condo is not worth crap but I plan to try sell it in the next two months or just use it as an investment property.  Being condo president is like having a second job, I’m tired and need out of this mess.  I plan to move back to Mont County and purchase in a larger condo property with all amenities or purchase a townhome.  Good luck with your purchase but make sure you do a lot research before purchasing a condo in DC.

  1. Lil said at 6:44 pm on Wednesday October 21, 2009:

    I purchased a unit in Wardman Court Condominium (13th St & Clifton St NW) a little over 3 yrs ago and love it.  I’m in walking distance to both the U St & Columbia Heights metros, closer to U St.  My street has just been put on the offical Columbia Heights Walking Trail, hence the historical signs that were put into place on Monday, Oct. 19th.  13th St NW is absolutely beautiful and, romantic walk. 14th St which is still being developed with condos, rentalsm restaurants and retial,has all modes of public transport from buses,the circulator, and cabs. location, location, location, diversity, like minded folks and serenity while being in the heart of it all. The only thing missing from U St is the beach for us to have an equivalent to Miami Beach—ok somewhat of a gross exaggeration or wishful thinking.  I moved from NYC to this part of DC about 7 years ago and have never turned back.  Ditch the car and walk to everything!

  1. Sharon said at 6:56 pm on Wednesday October 21, 2009:

    So long as you’re comfortable with the location, monthly mortgage and condo fees, unit and building ammenities, and not looking to sell for a profit anytime soon, then you should be fine.  Finance and overall comfort level are key.  Attend as many open house possible to establish a good reference point. Initially I wanted a house but as a single professional who love going out of town, there’s nothing like having the freedom to lock that door and hitting the road without the worry of snow removal, etc.  Read the condo doc thoroughly and building financial statement for an insight. Actually walk the surrounding blocks to see if you’re comfortable with the immediate surrounding or at least know what to expect, especially if parking isn’t included in the deal.

  1. K said at 9:45 pm on Wednesday October 21, 2009:

    Think about your daily life.  If you walk to the grocery store is there one nearby or on your way home from work?  Is parking available for your car?

    My biggest regret is not “kicking the tires” enough.  Don’t rely on the inspection to catch everything.  Test all locks and windows - if they are double hung make sure both parts move and they don’t just fall shut.  Look for water damage, like staining or dampness.

    Do review condo documents.  If you can find out, see if there is an imminent increase in fees.  Try to find out how many owners are delinquent on their HOA fees and how much.

    If you do a rent back agreement (where the seller pays the buyer to stay past closing), get a deposit.  This will ensure they clean and clear out the place sufficiently. It will also keep you from any surprise defect that were not disclosed or noticed.

  1. Jeffq said at 8:50 pm on Thursday October 22, 2009:

    I bought a couple months ago and have since been renting it out, which at this point pays my mortgage twice over.

  1. Peter said at 9:57 pm on Saturday October 24, 2009:

    I just bought—sorry, I’m breaking the rules, not 2 -3 years ago.  Feeling buyers remorse.  The market seems to have gone nuts in the ten days I was looking.  I found three places I loved, but they were gone a day later.  So I jumped in and bought, but not something I loved and now I’m having trouble sleeping.  Not sure if this is a temporary surge due to the credit or the start of a new market take off.  At any rate, having to make very fast decisions on such a big commitment is certainly stressful!

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