Author Topic: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?  (Read 6715 times)

EconDiva

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Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« on: July 20, 2017, 09:16:36 AM »
I'm looking to 'finally' buy next year and if I want to live in the city that would be all I can afford is a one bedroom condo (or perhaps even a studio!)  (Disclaimer:  By afford, I mean I want a mortgage as close to $100K or under as possible, which is going to be a HUGE task considering the city I live in and some of the other things I'd 'like' to have wherever I end up buying.  The lower the pricetag the better so I can save and travel more.)

I'm single so it makes sense to me although I will mention one of my friends who is in real estate says that one bedroom condos aren't really 'good investments'.  Who has heard this before?  I haven't had a chance to talk further with him about it but I'm not too concerned as I just really need a place where the mortgage will be way less expensive than what I'm paying in rent which is doable right now. 

Anyone here in a one bedroom condo?  Are you in a HCOL area or LCOL area?  How long do you plan to stay?  Was your primary reason for purchasing because the mortgage was lower than getting a 2 bedroom condo or a 2 or 3 br house?  Are your association fees 'reasonable'?  Overall, are you happy living in your one bedroom condo?

Cwadda

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2017, 09:19:17 AM »
Which city are you in? It's hard to answer your question without knowing more about the location. A one bedroom condo in one city can vary greatly to the next.

EconDiva

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2017, 09:20:05 AM »
Which city are you in? It's hard to answer your question without knowing more about the location. A one bedroom condo in one city can vary greatly to the next.

I live in Atlanta, GA.

TravelJunkyQC

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2017, 09:37:20 AM »
HCOL for the province of Québec, but MCOL overall (Québec City - downtown).

I live in a large loft studio (750 square feet, so equivalent to a decent sized one bedroom) with my partner. I also have a smaller 1 bedroom condo (615 square feet) as an investment that is rented out. In terms of reselling, mine (smaller one) has been on the market for 1.5 years with no bites. Really difficult to sell. However, in terms of rental, it's never been empty - so I consider it a good investment on that front. If you were to move out, would you be planning on keeping it to rent, or selling it? How is the rental market at the moment? The selling market?

For living in, I love having a smaller, cheaper place. For renting, it's also great because it's easy to rent to individuals or couples, and the location downtown and relative high price filters out crappy tenants. For selling, I can't say it's a good investment though.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2017, 09:47:03 AM »
I own a 600SF one bedroom in Chicago.  It's way down in value from what I paid for it, but it has recovered a lot from the lows.  I'ts been ok as a live in, and is now paid for.  Long term (owned it 14 years), a pretty low cost of housing especially considering it's got GREAT transit and next to a bike superhighway.  I wouldn't have trouble selling it, but relative to what I paid for it, sucks (the RE market here is not great, and has not fully recovered from the peak).  In general, I think the problem with the one bedroom market is the buyers of these tend to be milleneals, and in general (at least up until recently), milleneals have not bee buying one bedrooms.

In general, I would say, make sure you're planning to live in it 10 years or longer, otherwise, don't buy it.  I would say cost of living here is "highish", but nothing like Manhattan or SF.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2017, 09:59:05 AM by frugaliknowit »

EconDiva

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2017, 09:50:53 AM »
I own a 600SF one bedroom in Chicago.  It's way down in value from what I paid for it, but it has recovered a lot from the lows.  I'ts been ok as a live in, and is now paid for.  Long term (owned it 14 years), a pretty low cost of housing especially considering it's got GREAT transit and next to a bike superhighway.  I wouldn't have trouble selling it, but relative to what I paid for it, sucks (the RE market here is not great, and has not fully recovered from the peak).

In general, I would say, make sure you're planning to live in it 10 years or longer, otherwise, don't buy it.

10 years? 

I admit I move too much to commit to that but I could commit to 3-5 years possibly with the plan to rent it out for way longer after that.

What CTA line do you live near?

limeandpepper

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2017, 09:57:19 AM »
Anyone here in a one bedroom condo?  Are you in a HCOL area or LCOL area?  How long do you plan to stay?  Was your primary reason for purchasing because the mortgage was lower than getting a 2 bedroom condo or a 2 or 3 br house?  Are your association fees 'reasonable'?  Overall, are you happy living in your one bedroom condo?

To answer your questions:

HCOL (Australia). My partner and I are soon-to-be-owners of a 40sqm (430sqft) one-bedroom apartment. Plan to stay there for as long as it suits us, hopefully 10+ years. We went for a one-bedder because that's mostly what's available within our budget. The value won't appreciate as much as a bigger place with more bedrooms, but them's the breaks. Rates/fees are reasonable. Haven't moved in yet but pretty sure it'll be fine.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2017, 10:00:42 AM »
I own a 600SF one bedroom in Chicago.  It's way down in value from what I paid for it, but it has recovered a lot from the lows.  I'ts been ok as a live in, and is now paid for.  Long term (owned it 14 years), a pretty low cost of housing especially considering it's got GREAT transit and next to a bike superhighway.  I wouldn't have trouble selling it, but relative to what I paid for it, sucks (the RE market here is not great, and has not fully recovered from the peak).

In general, I would say, make sure you're planning to live in it 10 years or longer, otherwise, don't buy it.

10 years? 

I admit I move too much to commit to that but I could commit to 3-5 years possibly with the plan to rent it out for way longer after that.

What CTA line do you live near?

Red line.  I wouldn't buy then.  They suck as rentals.

EconDiva

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2017, 10:03:45 AM »
I own a 600SF one bedroom in Chicago.  It's way down in value from what I paid for it, but it has recovered a lot from the lows.  I'ts been ok as a live in, and is now paid for.  Long term (owned it 14 years), a pretty low cost of housing especially considering it's got GREAT transit and next to a bike superhighway.  I wouldn't have trouble selling it, but relative to what I paid for it, sucks (the RE market here is not great, and has not fully recovered from the peak).

In general, I would say, make sure you're planning to live in it 10 years or longer, otherwise, don't buy it.

10 years? 

I admit I move too much to commit to that but I could commit to 3-5 years possibly with the plan to rent it out for way longer after that.

What CTA line do you live near?

Red line.  I wouldn't buy then.  They suck as rentals.

One bedroom condos suck as rentals?  I'd think they were great rentals for singles/couples as another poster mentioned....

frugaliknowit

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2017, 10:11:13 AM »
I own a 600SF one bedroom in Chicago.  It's way down in value from what I paid for it, but it has recovered a lot from the lows.  I'ts been ok as a live in, and is now paid for.  Long term (owned it 14 years), a pretty low cost of housing especially considering it's got GREAT transit and next to a bike superhighway.  I wouldn't have trouble selling it, but relative to what I paid for it, sucks (the RE market here is not great, and has not fully recovered from the peak).

In general, I would say, make sure you're planning to live in it 10 years or longer, otherwise, don't buy it.

10 years? 

I admit I move too much to commit to that but I could commit to 3-5 years possibly with the plan to rent it out for way longer after that.

What CTA line do you live near?

Red line.  I wouldn't buy then.  They suck as rentals.

One bedroom condos suck as rentals?  I'd think they were great rentals for singles/couples as another poster mentioned....

Easy to rent, but your actual rate of return after you pay for a mortgage (assuming ~20% down...), taxes, assesment, move in-move out fees, repairs, yada, yada, likely negative cashflow...yuk, don't do it...

Noodle

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2017, 10:55:00 AM »
I live in a one-bedroom condo. I actually wanted a two-bedroom, and in my MCOL (lower than San Francisco and New York, more expensive than Lincoln, Nebraska) city, (in which real estate costs were rising fast, although they seem to be stabilized at the moment), a two-bedroom condo in a well-kept-up, relatively new complex that was also a reasonable commute was beyond my budget between the initial mortgage and the larger monthly assessment. My decision wasn't really about investment value--I needed to get out of my (poorly-maintained) apartment and with an incandescent rental market due to a shortage of units, I decided buying was right for me. I knew I had zero desire to deal with outside or systems (sewer, roof) maintenance--the smaller issues in a condo are plenty for me--so condo vs. single-family wasn't ever a decision as far as I was concerned. I held out for a great location (in exchange for about 100 sq feet less than the average footprint) and lucked into a very solid HOA. I am very happy here and it was exactly the right decision for me. I will be here until I move or retire, unless something about my life circumstances changes (ie, getting married, or a handicap that would mean I couldn't use the stairs.)

Based on my experience (looking at the low end of a hot market)...start looking at one of the real estate websites well in advance. (we have a city one, but there's also Zillow, Redfin, etc). By the time I came to buy, I knew exactly what complexes were in my price range in my area, and which ones constantly had units on the market. When a unit came up in my complex, which was uncommon at the time, I knew to jump on it. Be cautious of complexes with really low monthly fees (which probably means they aren't putting enough in reserve) and really small complexes, because if you have one rotten neighbor it messes with the HOA. Also, if you are in the U.S., complexes with more than 25% of the units rented out are harder to get mortgages in. One thing you might consider is that one-bedroom condos can be appealing to downsizers, but you have to think about accessibility (ie, no 3rd-floor walkups.)

stashja

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2017, 11:08:46 AM »
I have one, in walkable and bikable MCOL (was LCOL when I arrived) downtown, on the waterfront. I bought when I was single and intending to stay that way, then met my love... a farmer. We live in the condo about half the year and on the farm the other half. This is a compromise necessitated by our urban, seasonal (teaching) jobs. Never wanted more than 1 bathroom to clean, which a 2br would have. The condo has appreciated enormously, and an obnoxious relative in real estate has kept nagging me to let her sell it. We don't plan to let it go. I paid off 1/2 the mortgage in the first two years, by aggressively overpaying, and have now let that slow down so I could invest. I could pay it off in the next 6 months if I were willing to liquidate the investments. Only downside is obnoxious HOA and SUV fancy truck driving snob neighbors.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2017, 11:16:15 AM by stashja »

TravelJunkyQC

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2017, 11:36:30 AM »
I own a 600SF one bedroom in Chicago.  It's way down in value from what I paid for it, but it has recovered a lot from the lows.  I'ts been ok as a live in, and is now paid for.  Long term (owned it 14 years), a pretty low cost of housing especially considering it's got GREAT transit and next to a bike superhighway.  I wouldn't have trouble selling it, but relative to what I paid for it, sucks (the RE market here is not great, and has not fully recovered from the peak).

In general, I would say, make sure you're planning to live in it 10 years or longer, otherwise, don't buy it.

10 years? 

I admit I move too much to commit to that but I could commit to 3-5 years possibly with the plan to rent it out for way longer after that.

What CTA line do you live near?

Red line.  I wouldn't buy then.  They suck as rentals.

One bedroom condos suck as rentals?  I'd think they were great rentals for singles/couples as another poster mentioned....

Easy to rent, but your actual rate of return after you pay for a mortgage (assuming ~20% down...), taxes, assesment, move in-move out fees, repairs, yada, yada, likely negative cashflow...yuk, don't do it...

We put 20% down, and after all fees (mortgage, taxes, condo fees, repairs) we are at a break-even cash-flow, but only for the first two years (due to "Welcome Tax" in Québec when we bought the place, as well as being in court against the builder necessitating lawyer's fees). In general, we are at a +a few hundred dollars for the year now, as well as the mortgage principal being paid by someone else.

Of course, this depends on the location. It's very possible that this isn't the case with other 1-bedroom condos. Ours is downtown, with underground parking and a pool on the roof. Newly-separated wealthier people, newly-arrived people working downtown, etc... are very interested in a condo like ours. But it will all depend on the city.

dandarc

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2017, 12:00:03 PM »
We did live in a 1-bedroom condo from 2009 until 2014.  It was fantastic except for the location - 12 mile, 45 minutes+ on a bad day from my current office.  LCOL area.

It was a fantastic deal - the price in 2009 was about $64K with a storage unit.  And it was more of a 1.5 bedroom unit - there was a loft that we used as an office / place for the infrequent guests to sleep.

Like I said, I liked everything about it except for location.  My wife prefers a detached house, so our current house is better for her in a lot of ways.  And for me - really almost everything else about a dwelling can be dealt with in one way or another, but "location" is really hard to change.

When we sold, we could have held it and rented out, but we decided to take the money - while it penciled out OK, I just didn't want to be a landlord, and the HOA had a rule that only 30% of the units could be rented out and the place was getting close to that number.  Basically chose smaller mortgage on new house over having a rental.  We probably lost out some when we sold due to it being 1-bed vs 2 or 3, it also cost a lot less to purchase and maintain while there (lower HOA fees, utilities), so we were taking less risk.

Not sure what you might take out of this - very different from what you'll find in a big city like Atlanta, but that was our experience.  Real nice place, in a nice part of town, but push-comes to shove, location relative to work and most of the stuff we like to do trumps amenities.

LeRainDrop

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2017, 03:25:35 PM »
I live in a 2-bedroom condo in Atlanta, and our building has many 1-bedroom units, as well.  For ALL unit sizes, we've had sales prices go up and up since 2010, and no problems with making quick sales when desired nor finding qualified tenants when desired.  The caveat is that location and building/management quality DEFINITELY matter in achieving these good outcomes.  Condos in the city built in mid-2000s and later are generally doing very well, but if you start moving to older construction or outside of Buckhead/Midtown/Downtown (or maybe a few other choice locations), you'll start to see a higher pattern of struggles with ROI/tenancy.  To complicate that, Atlanta is experiencing tons of high-rise apartment construction in the city, so it remains to be seen how that will affect condo prices, but there is likely to be a rental glut very soon.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2017, 03:45:04 PM by LeRainDrop »

le-weekend

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2017, 03:35:14 PM »
I live in a HCOL area, but was able to afford a 2 br condo when I bought 4 years ago because it's in a less trendy neighborhood. (I paid the same price for a 2BR, 2BA oversized condo with full-size washer dryer as people were paying 5 miles away for studios and 1BRs.)

I've enjoyed it, but it's too much apartment for me being single and not being very big on having houseguests. So I'm actively looking at selling it and getting a 1BR so I can have more equity and pay off my home sooner. 

I too have heard the tropes about how a 1BR isn't a "good investment" but I find that hard to believe. If you live in an area where there are lots of people who need 1-bedrooms, I don't see how it's any worse than a 2BR or anything else. It's just a different subset of buyers / renters.

Noodle

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2017, 04:00:38 PM »
I once described the condo complex where I lived to an acquaintance and he said, "Oh, I know that place, that's where all the lawyers in my firm move when they get divorced!" :) Don't know if it's still true but we do have a lot of very nice cars in the garage relative to the price of the units. Not only is my complex in a very walkable neighborhood, we are a really easy commute to downtown where the law firms and banks tend to be. Which is a roundabout way of agreeing that there will always be a market for 1-bedrooms among the right buyers.

EconDiva

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2017, 04:39:27 PM »
I live in a 2-bedroom condo in Atlanta, and our building has many 1-bedroom units, as well.  For ALL unit sizes, we've had sales prices go up and up since 2010, and no problems with making quick sales when desired nor finding qualified tenants when desired.  The caveat is that location and building/management quality DEFINITELY matter in achieving these good outcomes.  Condos in the city built in mid-2000s and later are generally doing very well, but if you start moving to older construction or outside of Buckhead/Midtown/Downtown (or maybe a few other choice locations), you'll start to see a higher pattern of struggles with ROI/tenancy.  To complicate that, Atlanta is experiencing tons of high-rise apartment construction in the city, so it remains to be seen how that will affect condo prices, but there is likely to be a rental glut very soon.

Are you inside the perimeter?

I was looking at units in the Midtown/Buckhead area but of course $100k won't get anything but a 500 sq ft studio in an old building I'm not familiar with.  I moved back here 5 months ago after being gone for 5 years and things are changing so fast around me with the rental market...it's insane.  My old (literally) small 1 br apartment right by Emory went from 650 when I left to 1000 as of now and it's still old and small...

I basically am leaning towards a 1 br because those will be my cheapest options.  I might have to up the budget quite a bit...I'm keeping an eye out on properties on realtor.com but won't be seriously looking until the 3rd/last quarter of next year.  I'm not really focused on the property from an investment perspective but rather "where can I live for way less than what I'm paying in rent" is the question.  As 'decent' one bedrooms in my area (Buckhead) start at $1200/$1300 bare minimum and go from there, I figured buying a 1br under $800/$900 a month should be easy...

I could look further out of the city but I'm single with no kids and without a car as I currently work from home so I prefer to live right by everything that I can walk to easily.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2017, 09:02:34 AM »
I own a 600SF one bedroom in Chicago.  It's way down in value from what I paid for it, but it has recovered a lot from the lows.  I'ts been ok as a live in, and is now paid for.  Long term (owned it 14 years), a pretty low cost of housing especially considering it's got GREAT transit and next to a bike superhighway.  I wouldn't have trouble selling it, but relative to what I paid for it, sucks (the RE market here is not great, and has not fully recovered from the peak).

In general, I would say, make sure you're planning to live in it 10 years or longer, otherwise, don't buy it.

10 years? 

I admit I move too much to commit to that but I could commit to 3-5 years possibly with the plan to rent it out for way longer after that.

What CTA line do you live near?

Red line.  I wouldn't buy then.  They suck as rentals.

One bedroom condos suck as rentals?  I'd think they were great rentals for singles/couples as another poster mentioned....

Easy to rent, but your actual rate of return after you pay for a mortgage (assuming ~20% down...), taxes, assesment, move in-move out fees, repairs, yada, yada, likely negative cashflow...yuk, don't do it...

We put 20% down, and after all fees (mortgage, taxes, condo fees, repairs) we are at a break-even cash-flow, but only for the first two years (due to "Welcome Tax" in Québec when we bought the place, as well as being in court against the builder necessitating lawyer's fees). In general, we are at a +a few hundred dollars for the year now, as well as the mortgage principal being paid by someone else.

Of course, this depends on the location. It's very possible that this isn't the case with other 1-bedroom condos. Ours is downtown, with underground parking and a pool on the roof. Newly-separated wealthier people, newly-arrived people working downtown, etc... are very interested in a condo like ours. But it will all depend on the city.

Yep, something goes wrong, and there goes your return for some time.

A caveat I forgot to mention is that a lot of HOAs are placing rental restrictions on their units as well.  This can be a problem if you want to move, but don't want to sell.  Another reason I think that you should not buy these units unless you are committed to staying put...

tj

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2017, 03:01:56 PM »
I have a 1 BR cooperative that doesn't allow rentals or financing. That's how I was able to buy it so inexpensively. I'm in Scottsdale, Arizona. Best decision ever. My utilities are dirt cheap too because it's a smaller square footage. (I previously owned a 2BR condo in California and got lucky with appreciation.

oldladystache

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2017, 03:53:15 PM »
600 foot one bedroom here in Leisure World Seal Beach, CA. A retirement community that is just right for me.

I got rid of most of my stuff when I moved here 3 years ago, and I still have lots of stuff I never use. It would be nice to have a guest room but I so rarely have any guests it would be silly to pay for one.

Before that I had an 1100 sq ft house that I didn't use most of. I just stored junk in two bedrooms and the garage. This is a lot nicer.

jennifers

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2017, 09:44:26 PM »
I live in a 575 square foot condo in a medium cost of living area. I've lived here for 4 years but am moving soon. I think at least half the units in my building are 1 bedroom and they tend to sell very fast when they go on the market.
When I bought my condo I worried a lot about if I would ever be able to sell it since it's so tiny and has no parking. (other units in my building are larger with at least 1 parking spot)
I recently put the condo on the market and had an offer the first day (I might have just gotten lucky - ymmv).

I think one bedroom condos can be a smart way to live. It's awesome owning your own place but not having to worry about yardwork etc when you're out of town. That being said, I wouldn't buy a condo that wasn't in a very desirable location unless I planned on living there for a very long time.

LeRainDrop

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2017, 11:30:53 PM »
I live in a 2-bedroom condo in Atlanta, and our building has many 1-bedroom units, as well.  For ALL unit sizes, we've had sales prices go up and up since 2010, and no problems with making quick sales when desired nor finding qualified tenants when desired.  The caveat is that location and building/management quality DEFINITELY matter in achieving these good outcomes.  Condos in the city built in mid-2000s and later are generally doing very well, but if you start moving to older construction or outside of Buckhead/Midtown/Downtown (or maybe a few other choice locations), you'll start to see a higher pattern of struggles with ROI/tenancy.  To complicate that, Atlanta is experiencing tons of high-rise apartment construction in the city, so it remains to be seen how that will affect condo prices, but there is likely to be a rental glut very soon.

Are you inside the perimeter?

I was looking at units in the Midtown/Buckhead area but of course $100k won't get anything but a 500 sq ft studio in an old building I'm not familiar with.  I moved back here 5 months ago after being gone for 5 years and things are changing so fast around me with the rental market...it's insane.  My old (literally) small 1 br apartment right by Emory went from 650 when I left to 1000 as of now and it's still old and small...

I basically am leaning towards a 1 br because those will be my cheapest options.  I might have to up the budget quite a bit...I'm keeping an eye out on properties on realtor.com but won't be seriously looking until the 3rd/last quarter of next year.  I'm not really focused on the property from an investment perspective but rather "where can I live for way less than what I'm paying in rent" is the question.  As 'decent' one bedrooms in my area (Buckhead) start at $1200/$1300 bare minimum and go from there, I figured buying a 1br under $800/$900 a month should be easy...

I could look further out of the city but I'm single with no kids and without a car as I currently work from home so I prefer to live right by everything that I can walk to easily.

Yes, I'm ITP -- like you, single with no kids. I do have a car, but I absolutely love being able to walk pretty much anywhere.  Walkability is a great feature of this community and it's even improving as the neighborhood development plan moves forward.  I hear ya on ballooning rents around here, and the same has been true of ownership.  I just don't know how things are going to shake out with so many high-end, high-rise apartments being built right now.  There is lots of talk that those apartment developers are going to want to convert their buildings into condos as soon as they are able (the reason they are apartments as being built is that construction lenders in the area were only approving apartments and were reluctant to fund condos).

I haven't read this book yet, but I've had some friends recommend "City on the Verge: Atlanta and the Fight for America’s Urban Future" by Mark Pendergrast (https://www.amazon.com/City-Verge-Atlanta-America%C2%92s-Future/dp/0465054730).  It was just published a couple months ago.  Since I haven't read it, I don't know if it will help predict the condo/rental market or what, but I raise it here as something you might be interested in.  It is available as e-book from the Atlanta-Fulton County public library website, so you don't have to worry about the currently-expensive hardcover and Kindle price.

freeat57

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2017, 01:14:52 PM »
Hello EconDiva! ( I was going to abbreviate as ED, but realized the medical implication.....)  I live in a 2 BR condo ITP in Atlanta.  I just went through a nearly year-long search/buying process last year.  Your search will take some effort to identify a gem.  It seems like prices in many areas are getting back up to pre-crash levels (bubble?).  My experience is that condition and style are important, but a great location is is the most important factor for a condo here.  My priority criteria were walkable area, close to transit, close to, but not on a highway.  As I meet more of the people in my building, they tell me that they also chose this place for the convenience factors.  Many folks here use MARTA, with some commuting all the way to the airport for work.  The area is exploding with new construction and this is one of the so called TOD (transit-oriented development) zones. 

Now some details: My building has only 2BR units, but in the smaller ones, the second BR is like a walk-in closet with no window.  For the last 18 months or so, units that go on the market sell in the first day or two unless there's a glitch.  I have talked to some of the people looking here and the key to their interest always seems to be "location, location, location" to use the old cliche.  A couple of blocks away is another building where the units are a little harder to sell.  As best as I can tell the issues are as follows.  There have been some condition issues that resulted in a sizeable assessment with more to come.  There are a lot of renters in that building and it is pretty obvious.  There are more environmental noise issues due to the exact location.  Even so, prices there are back up almost to former levels.  Much of the recent sales activity in my building has been due to pent up demand.  Prices are now at or above what people paid for the places and they can finally move without losing money.  These are folks who wanted to move before due to job or family size changes, but could not stomach the loss while prices were down after the crash.

In summary, if you find a place that the location is golden and the condition is good, you'll have a much better chance of maintaining value, or at least the ability to sell or rent and get out when you need to.  Be VERY diligent in asking questions about problems, condition of the building and assessments past and future.  People will not volunteer this info in my experience.  The strategy I used was to zero in on a few buildings of interest and then monitor them closely for a while.  I did that for months.

freeat57

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #24 on: July 27, 2017, 01:27:04 PM »


Yes, I'm ITP -- like you, single with no kids. I do have a car, but I absolutely love being able to walk pretty much anywhere.  Walkability is a great feature of this community and it's even improving as the neighborhood development plan moves forward.  I hear ya on ballooning rents around here, and the same has been true of ownership.  I just don't know how things are going to shake out with so many high-end, high-rise apartments being built right now.  There is lots of talk that those apartment developers are going to want to convert their buildings into condos as soon as they are able (the reason they are apartments as being built is that construction lenders in the area were only approving apartments and were reluctant to fund condos).

Yes to the above. I have read the approvals on some new buildings near me.  The developer has a set period of time (I forgot, but 8 or 10 years) in which the building can be converted to condo from rental.  After that time period, a new approval would be required.

EconDiva

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #25 on: July 28, 2017, 07:33:21 AM »
I live in a 2-bedroom condo in Atlanta, and our building has many 1-bedroom units, as well.  For ALL unit sizes, we've had sales prices go up and up since 2010, and no problems with making quick sales when desired nor finding qualified tenants when desired.  The caveat is that location and building/management quality DEFINITELY matter in achieving these good outcomes.  Condos in the city built in mid-2000s and later are generally doing very well, but if you start moving to older construction or outside of Buckhead/Midtown/Downtown (or maybe a few other choice locations), you'll start to see a higher pattern of struggles with ROI/tenancy.  To complicate that, Atlanta is experiencing tons of high-rise apartment construction in the city, so it remains to be seen how that will affect condo prices, but there is likely to be a rental glut very soon.

Are you inside the perimeter?

I was looking at units in the Midtown/Buckhead area but of course $100k won't get anything but a 500 sq ft studio in an old building I'm not familiar with.  I moved back here 5 months ago after being gone for 5 years and things are changing so fast around me with the rental market...it's insane.  My old (literally) small 1 br apartment right by Emory went from 650 when I left to 1000 as of now and it's still old and small...

I basically am leaning towards a 1 br because those will be my cheapest options.  I might have to up the budget quite a bit...I'm keeping an eye out on properties on realtor.com but won't be seriously looking until the 3rd/last quarter of next year.  I'm not really focused on the property from an investment perspective but rather "where can I live for way less than what I'm paying in rent" is the question.  As 'decent' one bedrooms in my area (Buckhead) start at $1200/$1300 bare minimum and go from there, I figured buying a 1br under $800/$900 a month should be easy...

I could look further out of the city but I'm single with no kids and without a car as I currently work from home so I prefer to live right by everything that I can walk to easily.

Yes, I'm ITP -- like you, single with no kids. I do have a car, but I absolutely love being able to walk pretty much anywhere.  Walkability is a great feature of this community and it's even improving as the neighborhood development plan moves forward.  I hear ya on ballooning rents around here, and the same has been true of ownership.  I just don't know how things are going to shake out with so many high-end, high-rise apartments being built right now.  There is lots of talk that those apartment developers are going to want to convert their buildings into condos as soon as they are able (the reason they are apartments as being built is that construction lenders in the area were only approving apartments and were reluctant to fund condos).

I haven't read this book yet, but I've had some friends recommend "City on the Verge: Atlanta and the Fight for America’s Urban Future" by Mark Pendergrast (https://www.amazon.com/City-Verge-Atlanta-America%C2%92s-Future/dp/0465054730).  It was just published a couple months ago.  Since I haven't read it, I don't know if it will help predict the condo/rental market or what, but I raise it here as something you might be interested in.  It is available as e-book from the Atlanta-Fulton County public library website, so you don't have to worry about the currently-expensive hardcover and Kindle price.

Back to say thank you for the book recommendation...I may have to check that out.

I also didn't know that apartment buildings could even be converted to condos...I have heard of and seen it done the other way around though.

Since my timeframe for purchasing is more like the very end of next year at this point, I have some time to re-learn Atlanta so to speak, and get a better feel for what area would work best for me (and what I can get at a comfortable price point).

EconDiva

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #26 on: July 28, 2017, 07:52:26 AM »
Hello EconDiva! ( I was going to abbreviate as ED, but realized the medical implication.....)  I live in a 2 BR condo ITP in Atlanta.  I just went through a nearly year-long search/buying process last year.  Your search will take some effort to identify a gem.  It seems like prices in many areas are getting back up to pre-crash levels (bubble?).  My experience is that condition and style are important, but a great location is is the most important factor for a condo here.  My priority criteria were walkable area, close to transit, close to, but not on a highway.  As I meet more of the people in my building, they tell me that they also chose this place for the convenience factors.  Many folks here use MARTA, with some commuting all the way to the airport for work.  The area is exploding with new construction and this is one of the so called TOD (transit-oriented development) zones. 

Now some details: My building has only 2BR units, but in the smaller ones, the second BR is like a walk-in closet with no window.  For the last 18 months or so, units that go on the market sell in the first day or two unless there's a glitch.  I have talked to some of the people looking here and the key to their interest always seems to be "location, location, location" to use the old cliche.  A couple of blocks away is another building where the units are a little harder to sell.  As best as I can tell the issues are as follows.  There have been some condition issues that resulted in a sizeable assessment with more to come.  There are a lot of renters in that building and it is pretty obvious.  There are more environmental noise issues due to the exact location.  Even so, prices there are back up almost to former levels.  Much of the recent sales activity in my building has been due to pent up demand.  Prices are now at or above what people paid for the places and they can finally move without losing money.  These are folks who wanted to move before due to job or family size changes, but could not stomach the loss while prices were down after the crash.

In summary, if you find a place that the location is golden and the condition is good, you'll have a much better chance of maintaining value, or at least the ability to sell or rent and get out when you need to.  Be VERY diligent in asking questions about problems, condition of the building and assessments past and future.  People will not volunteer this info in my experience.  The strategy I used was to zero in on a few buildings of interest and then monitor them closely for a while.  I did that for months.

Hi freeat57! (Lol @ the ED reference by the way...)

Thank you for the insight seeing as though you are also in Atlanta.  I have basically the same requirements as you in tems of location being one of the biggest factors in where I decide to buy.  I was having this conversation with my cousin (my current roommate) the other day...we won't be rooming together anymore past this September.  She is looking for a home to try to buy right now, and I am going to sign a lease in another apartment to give myself more time to look and save.  She was telling me how hard it is finding something in her price range in the city.  I told her I understood and that I felt like a compromise would have to be made when I start looking in 1 of these 3 areas:  price, location or size.  This could change, but right now I feel like location is most important.  Choosing the right location will determine how easy or hard it is for me to rent or sell in the future.  Some locations are just much safer bets for this.  The MMM forum has influenced my decision about not wanting to bend on price.  I want something that's $100k-ish so I can have a low % of my income going to housing.  Now that price range is near impossible to do inside the perimeter, I understand that totally.  So I know I may have to bend a little, but it would still be within reason.  So that means the size of the home has pretty much been decided upon as the area I will have to be flexible with. 

At my price point and locations of preference, I will be in a condo (or perhaps even a studio)...I won't have a $300k brick townhome like a few of my friends have.  But I'm ok with that.  I don't need much space.  What I do need is something with a very comfortable payment (one that allows me to still save for retirement and repairs) and something in a location that is close to transit (thanks to living in Chicago the past 5 years and being on the MMM forum I realize how important this is; I don't even own a car here in Atlanta which some of my friends think I'm crazy for lol). 

My cousin who is looking for a home right now is planning to compromise on location so she can get more space as she feels like a condo would be too much like the apartment living she's been used to doing all these years.  And I get that.  I just have no desire to trade off a larger space for buying a car and spending more time in traffic getting to the places I frequent most...Chicago transit also spoiled me against traffic :)

On a side note, I have a friend that invests in real estate who keeps pushing me hard to buy a unit in Sky Lofts in the West End:
http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/898-Oak-St-SW-Unit-3207_Atlanta_GA_30310_M50266-73799?ex=GA630828714

^Although I don't see any right now, they sometimes have 2/2's going for ~100K or in the low 100s.  I have been away from Atlanta for several years so I just don't know about the West End right now.  I'm not opposed to it but it honestly isn't on my list of 'top locations' to buy in.  I am wondering about desirability and feel like it would be a great investment place but not so sure about it being a good place to live (he doesn't live here-his property is rented out).  But I am going to check it out nonetheless. 

It sounds like you were very clear on what you wanted when it was time to buy.  I am getting my own priorities straight right now so that when its time I don't get side tracked by other bigger and/or shinier places that aren't in my price range and/or preferred locations.  I hope you are enjoying your place!

merlin7676

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #27 on: July 28, 2017, 09:34:31 AM »
kind of?   Technically we have a 2 bedroom condo but my husband and I have one room and his best friend/our roommate lives in the other room.

They bought the condo like 10 years ago and lived there. Then when we met, he moved out and we had our own apartment for a year when we decided to move in together and get married (2 years after we met). Afterwards we moved back and swapped rooms so we got the bigger room with the master bath.

We live in Seattle so very HCOL.  We could sell it today for twice what they paid for it, but then where would we go that we wouldn't end up spending same or more unless we made a major move which we're not willing to do at this point.

Between the three of us it's not too bad. Thankfully we all get along and are pretty respectful of each other's space. He does goes out a lot, spends lots on concerts, shows, clothes, amazon, ect. We've tried to gently discuss some financial saving principles but he's not interested at all so at the end of the day, it's his life so his decision. 

We may at some point decide to put the condo up for sale and find something but more than likely we'll just stick it out until retirement.  He's 49, my husband is 45, and I'm 41.  The plan is to retire in 14 years when I'm 55 and my husband is 60. At which point will we definitely sell and move-most likely either Maui or Palm Springs.


LeRainDrop

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #28 on: July 28, 2017, 06:44:49 PM »
On a side note, I have a friend that invests in real estate who keeps pushing me hard to buy a unit in Sky Lofts in the West End:
http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/898-Oak-St-SW-Unit-3207_Atlanta_GA_30310_M50266-73799?ex=GA630828714

^Although I don't see any right now, they sometimes have 2/2's going for ~100K or in the low 100s.  I have been away from Atlanta for several years so I just don't know about the West End right now.  I'm not opposed to it but it honestly isn't on my list of 'top locations' to buy in.  I am wondering about desirability and feel like it would be a great investment place but not so sure about it being a good place to live (he doesn't live here-his property is rented out).  But I am going to check it out nonetheless. 

I don't know much about living in the West End, but Sky Lofts is really close to Spelman College and Clark University, so I imagine that well-maintained units could be easily/reliably rented out during the school year (as long as the condo docs allow for that).

SCUBAstache

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #29 on: July 28, 2017, 07:13:51 PM »
I'm in a 1BR condo just outside DC (~35 min bike ride, 15 min drive). I bought it 6 years ago. It's appreciated, but not a whole lot. I'm in a great neighborhood, very walkable and bikeable, but not close enough to a metro to get the big price increases. I won't have an issue selling or renting it out when the time comes - places of all sizes around here go fast. My HOA is $335/month which is good by DC standards, and between that and my mortgage it is about the same (or less) than what I'd be paying to rent a similar place. I plan to stay at least another year, maybe two. 'Maybe' because I'm not sure I can co-exist in ~650 sqft with my boyfriend and his stuff if/when he moves in! My reason for purchasing was it seemed silly to buy something bigger than I needed as a single person, plus the DC-area prices are insanely high, so I wasn't willing to take out a bigger mortgage or move further away from the city to get something bigger. Overall I've been very happy with it. Sometimes with various job situations I've wished I still had the flexibility of a renter to pick up and move when it is convenient, but those thoughts are the exceptions. Even when I move offices and have to drive a little further than I'd like, I really love my neighborhood. And the tax deduction is nice.

aspiringnomad

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #30 on: July 28, 2017, 07:35:46 PM »
We have a 1BR in the center of a HCOL city. Bought it 7.5 years ago and it has appreciated decently. Love the neighborhood and the place itself, but am planning to sell next year and rent nearby. That seems illogical given that 70% of our mortgage payment currently goes toward the principal and it's more expensive to rent around here, but I want to free up the equity for other things, including FIRE. After a few years here, the "small" space was initially starting to become an irritant to my wife, but then I introduced her to MMM ~3 years back. Now that she's fully on board I couldn't get her to buy a larger place even if I begged (which I absolutely wouldn't). So the place has felt plenty big for us and two cats for several years now.

Abooki

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #31 on: July 28, 2017, 07:37:30 PM »
I live in dc too. My boyfriend and I have been able to live in 1 bedroom around 560ft.
We are thinking of buying a place but new to the area and are trying to feel it out and see where to buy. 

I'm in a 1BR condo just outside DC (~35 min bike ride, 15 min drive). I bought it 6 years ago. It's appreciated, but not a whole lot. I'm in a great neighborhood, very walkable and bikeable, but not close enough to a metro to get the big price increases. I won't have an issue selling or renting it out when the time comes - places of all sizes around here go fast. My HOA is $335/month which is good by DC standards, and between that and my mortgage it is about the same (or less) than what I'd be paying to rent a similar place. I plan to stay at least another year, maybe two. 'Maybe' because I'm not sure I can co-exist in ~650 sqft with my boyfriend and his stuff if/when he moves in! My reason for purchasing was it seemed silly to buy something bigger than I needed as a single person, plus the DC-area prices are insanely high, so I wasn't willing to take out a bigger mortgage or move further away from the city to get something bigger. Overall I've been very happy with it. Sometimes with various job situations I've wished I still had the flexibility of a renter to pick up and move when it is convenient, but those thoughts are the exceptions. Even when I move offices and have to drive a little further than I'd like, I really love my neighborhood. And the tax deduction is nice.

brooklynmoney

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #32 on: July 29, 2017, 07:46:57 AM »
I live in and own a one bedroom with a "den" alcove in Brooklyn. It's been a great financial and lifestyle decision so far.

gggggg

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #33 on: July 29, 2017, 07:59:28 AM »
I own outright a 2 bedroom condo (I only use one room, the extra is totally empty) in a Low/Med COL area. No HOA in my neighborhood (thank god). I paid 82k in 2003, the tax value is about 110k, I could prob only get about 100k right now as I despise home improvement and haven't done anything at all to it, it's still very 1980's inside. It's an ok condo, but I'll prob get a stand alone house in the country when I retire, as I can't stand neighbors being so close; also, I don't live in a very walkable town, so I still have to drive everywhere even though I'm in the center of town.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2017, 08:01:17 AM by dcamnc »

jc4

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Re: Who all lives in a one bedroom condo?
« Reply #34 on: July 31, 2017, 09:16:26 AM »
Anyone here in a one bedroom condo?

Yep.

Are you in a HCOL area or LCOL area? 
Also in Atlanta (Midtown). Call it what you like.

How long do you plan to stay? 
2-5 yrs.

Was your primary reason for purchasing because the mortgage was lower than getting a 2 bedroom condo or a 2 or 3 br house? 
Not purchasing, but renting. It's a 4 yr. breakeven without any maintenence costs at $190k purchase, vs $1150 in rent. You can breakeven even faster on a $100k purchase though. Make sure you check what comparable rents are though.

Are your association fees 'reasonable'? 
Yep, $250/ mo. but doesn't include any utilities.

Overall, are you happy living in your one bedroom condo?
Yep, it's all we (I'm married, no kids) need, and better. 

Other notes:
Ignore the 1BR is bad investment advice. The lower utility of a 1BR will show when you sell, and (guess what) it will also cost you less to buy.

We used to live in a 2BR. Result: we ocassionally slept in the extra bedroom for the novelty. Impression: not that novel. If you really want to live alone, get a 1BR.

If you're really a mustacian though, get the 2BR, and rent out the second room. This is the easiest way to come out ahead on housing.