Author Topic: Tri level condo after 50?  (Read 4488 times)

kevj1085

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Tri level condo after 50?
« on: January 08, 2017, 03:41:42 PM »
A few years ago my wife and I purchased a pretty killer deal on a tri level condo in an area of town we actually absolutely love, it is less than a mile away from just about anything you could ever think of. We bought it for 132k and it sold just 4 years before that for 260k. We moved out of it a couple years ago in favor of a 1 story single family home for 275k because of kids and no back yard in the condo for our dogs. We kept the condo and have successfully rented it out for 3 years straight so far, and the condo is paid off so we are now hoping to pay our house off in 6 more years.

My question is, is it practical for a couple starting at age 50 to begin living in a tri level condo? The condos price was SO good for our town and location, and I figure since I'm 31 right now, in 20 years our house could be worth at least 325k which we could pocket and move back into the condo we kept all those years and live in a place that was only 132k at the time. We are a  very active and fitness oriented couple and even have half our garage dedicated to a weight room. I say this because I believe we are strong and capable enough to live in a tri level home after 50, but wanted others takes on it. Hope this makes sense I'm kind of rushed right now w the 2 kids lol.

Physicsteacher

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Re: Tri level condo after 50?
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2017, 04:06:39 PM »
Could you function living only on the ground floor of the condo for a period of a few weeks? My aunt is generally healthy and quite active in her sixties, but she had to have a hip replacement and recovering from the surgery limited her mobility for a while. Another uncle had a knee replacement in his late fifties.

kevj1085

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Re: Tri level condo after 50?
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2017, 04:21:10 PM »
1st floor is just a crawl space and laundry room. 2nd floor is the living room and kitchen. 3rd floor is 3 bedrooms

pbkmaine

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Re: Tri level condo after 50?
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2017, 04:31:13 PM »
DH and I went from a 3-level house in Maine, which I loved (a log cabin on the Androscoggin River, next to a nature preserve), to a one-level in Florida. We are 68 and 60. One level makes it MUCH easier to age in place.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Tri level condo after 50?
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2017, 04:38:11 PM »
My aunt and uncle have a tri level, they are in their early and late 60s. It works for them, but if mobility became a concern it would be very hard.

My great Aunt lived until almost 90 in a two-story, but the bedroom and only bathroom were on the 2nd floor. Each time she had a major issue (she broke hips, her leg, etc) she had to move in with a relative because she could not navigate her house.  But she lived there until she died. 
« Last Edit: January 09, 2017, 07:14:50 AM by iowajes »

C-note

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Re: Tri level condo after 50?
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2017, 04:41:44 PM »
We're mid-50's and in a tri-level home.  No problems now but believe we'll move to a single story at some point.

Also, laundry is on the same floor as the bedrooms so no hauling laundry up and down the stairs which I think makes a huge difference in livability. 

LadyFI

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Re: Tri level condo after 50?
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2017, 06:15:32 PM »
DH and I are about a decade older than you, and also very healthy and active. We sold our tri-level condo last year. While our primary motivation for the sale was to move out of the area, the unsuitability of the condo for the long term was also a consideration. In other words, had we desired to stay in the same area into our 50s-60s we would have not planned to live in the condo for more than another decade.

ltt

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Re: Tri level condo after 50?
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2017, 06:32:42 PM »
No matter how healthy, active, etc. people are, they eventually will have surgery of some sort, slow down due to the inevitability of aging, etc.--it's just a fact of life.  And getting up and down stairs will be difficult no matter how you look at it.   

kevj1085

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Re: Tri level condo after 50?
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2017, 06:30:03 AM »
I kind of figured this would be the general consensus. It's a shame because it was such a killer deal in a prime location, but I can understand it not being practical after a certain age.

former player

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Re: Tri level condo after 50?
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2017, 06:53:41 AM »
Here's a different point of view.  My late neighbour bought a bungalow when she and her husband were in their 50s.  So far so normal.  However, the bungalow was 30 steep steps up from the lane/garage (with stupendous views to match).  Her husband died before I came here 13 years ago, but my neighbour lived in the house until she was 101.  For the last 10 years she did have a stairlift put in, but I think 40 years of having to go up and down all those steps was excellent exercise and helped keep her fit and spry into her 90s. 

So my take is: keeping active is the way to go and having a house up some steps is an excellent way to do this, although it would help to have a contingency plan such as the ability to put in a stairlift.  Even if a stairlift is not possible, I'm not sure I would pass on possibly having 20 or 30 years in an otherwise great house just because of this: 6 weeks recovering from a hip or knee operation can be outsourced to a different location if necessary.

MayDay

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Re: Tri level condo after 50?
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2017, 07:27:07 AM »
To expand the discussion a bit into aging in place in general, we had an interesting thing happen when our house was for sale.

A woman in her 50's owned a split level house with no bathroom or bedroom on the main level.  She was caring for her ill father and he was wheelchair bound.  She was desperately searching for a handicap accessible house- not for herself, but so she could care for her father.  Our house had a main level master suite, so she was considering it- she ultimately passed because the bathrooms were so tiny (we considered this a feature- less wasted space!) that they weren't wheelchair accessible. 

I certainly plan to move into a house/condo/whatever in which I can age in place, well before I am too old to make the move.  My grandparents moved into a lovely condo that was all one level living, no steps, handicap accessible bathroom and shower.  They did it before they were already sick.  It made everything so much easier.  Do your future self a favor and don't make yourself install a chair lift and a special bathtub and widen doorways and and and.

lizzzi

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Re: Tri level condo after 50?
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2017, 07:37:22 AM »
 

Former public health nurse here: After years and years of going into different people's homes and following them for  years on end, I have to respectfully disagree with Former Player. For all the reasons others have posted above, it is wise to have the most handicapped accessible home that you can. Even if you think you won't need it for yourself...who knows?...you could sustain a sports injury, or have your aging relatives with you a lot, or end up with a disabled child or young adult. I'm all for staying active and fit, but to think that a lot of stairs is a "positive" that will help your fitness level is short-sighted. It's more likely to make your home a prison. If a home is otherwise perfect for you but has a lot of stairs, make sure that the main living area is accessible without stairs, or with maybe a step or two to go in or out. Make sure there is a bedroom and full bathroom on that main floor...or if not...that there is the potential to put one in later if needed.

Thinking some more about those thirty or forty stairs, they would have likely impacted the elderly lady's ability to get aides to come to the house, and they raise huge questions about who was going to do the snow removal. And they certainly would have impacted emergency responders ability to get up there (especially in icy, snowy conditions) and transport the woman on a gurney if needed. Just saying.

A stair lift is a possible solution, but I've never seen one outside. And they are very expensive, and can't be put in every home. (Spiral staircases, staircases around turns, weirdly built staircases...they have to be considered on a case-by-case scenario. May be feasible, may not be.)


former player

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Re: Tri level condo after 50?
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2017, 08:01:09 AM »
lizzzi, we may be having some cultural differences?  OP was talking about moving into their condo up the stairs at age 50, which I think is still an age for keeping excess weight off, being active and exercising regularly - the average person here can reasonably expect to be active and healthy up to their 70s which would be 20 years worth of up-the-stairs living before possibly moving on again.  For the other advantages mentioned by the OP (overall location, and ability to FIRE earlier), planning to move into the condo when aged 50 seems OK to me.

Within my neighbour's bungalow, everything was of course on the level and accessible, including wide doors and a re-jigged bathroom - I agree with you on this being a good idea, if it's possible.  Also, there is very little snow or ice here, and the home help aides my neighbour had from her mid/late 90s onwards loved her, loved the views and didn't have any issues coming to her house.  Ambulance crews have learnt to deal - it is pretty common around here for there to be access difficulties, given the general terrain and age of many properties.

Outside stairlifts are not uncommon, and often available second hand.  The only limitation is that, unlike inside ones, they have to be a straight line only.  Inside ones come in a great many configurations - given the age and quirkiness of UK housing stock, they need to.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Tri level condo after 50?
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2017, 08:37:19 AM »
From what I've observed with grandparents/parents, the houses with stairs forced a certain activity level that was good for their physical fitness even as their world shrunk (stopped driving, ect).   These were all in houses with one set of stairs.

Eventually something will happen and you will have to put in the stairlfit.  How big are the staircases?can they accommodate the lift and/or more sturdy handrails than normal?

justchristine

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Re: Tri level condo after 50?
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2017, 09:18:42 AM »
I think  the key question is how many more times do you want to move.  I think most people in their fifties would be looking for a home age in place because let's face it, the older you get, the bigger pain in the ass moving becomes.  If you are willing to move again when you're 60, 70, 80 or whatever age steps become an obstacle, then go for it.  Otherwise sell it and capture the gains that you've amassed to buy something more suited for aging in place.

I currently live in a quad level and I absolutely hate it.  I'm an active 41, but it's still a pain in the ass to constantly being going between floors because whatever I want is always at least one floor away.  I may be a little biased, though, since I recently tweaked my hip working out and climbing steps aggravate it more.

Catbert

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Re: Tri level condo after 50?
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2017, 10:57:53 AM »
count me among the Debbie Downers...Tri-level at 50 is likely not a problem.  But at some point (70s? 80?) it probably will be.  The difficulty with stairs will probably come slowly so you could move.  But mobility issues can come on quickly.  A few years ago my mid-60sDH went from running a marathon in February to starting chemo in May.  At that point he had lost 30 lbs and the 3 steps up our porch were taken v-e-r-y slowly.  (Chemo was successful.) 

To me a move in your 50s should take into account future mobility issues and accessibility in general.

lizzzi

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Re: Tri level condo after 50?
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2017, 12:03:07 PM »
lizzzi, we may be having some cultural differences?  OP was talking about moving into their condo up the stairs at age 50, which I think is still an age for keeping excess weight off, being active and exercising regularly - the average person here can reasonably expect to be active and healthy up to their 70s which would be 20 years worth of up-the-stairs living before possibly moving on again.  For the other advantages mentioned by the OP (overall location, and ability to FIRE earlier), planning to move into the condo when aged 50 seems OK to me.

Within my neighbour's bungalow, everything was of course on the level and accessible, including wide doors and a re-jigged bathroom - I agree with you on this being a good idea, if it's possible.  Also, there is very little snow or ice here, and the home help aides my neighbour had from her mid/late 90s onwards loved her, loved the views and didn't have any issues coming to her house.  Ambulance crews have learnt to deal - it is pretty common around here for there to be access difficulties, given the general terrain and age of many properties.

Outside stairlifts are not uncommon, and often available second hand.  The only limitation is that, unlike inside ones, they have to be a straight line only.  Inside ones come in a great many configurations - given the age and quirkiness of UK housing stock, they need to.

Well, not toooo much cultural difference, Former Player. I am American-born, but from a family with deep roots in the U.K....spent a lot of time over there when I was a kid. I can see that unless you and your neighbor lived at the top of Ben Nevis, the snow and ice would not be such an issue where you are. And I'll research outside stair lifts--have honestly never seen one. I'll stick by my advice, though, that it's a good idea to choose a reasonably accessible home. Maybe at 50 a tri-level is fine, but maybe by 70 you're still healthy and active, but those knees and the back are starting to complain., and telling you they're getting tired of all the stairs. It has to be considered family by family, of course, and individuals know themselves best--the state of their health, how much money they have, whether they'd be willing to make another move or two over the years. At least it's good to be aware of the potential issues.

KBecks

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Re: Tri level condo after 50?
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2017, 12:14:38 PM »
Dude, you're 31 and looking 19 years ahead into the future.  Who knows what your life will be like in 19 years!

50 is not that old.  Assuming no major accidents, illnesses or disabilities or obesity, you should be able to get around stairs just fine.  Stay in shape, duh.

I would worry more about when you're 70.  But look, you're only 31 so we're not gonna go there yet!   

Work on years 31 - 40 for now.   

Que sera sera.

FIPurpose

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Re: Tri level condo after 50?
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2017, 12:38:31 PM »
Yeah I would go ahead and assume you will not be living there in 20 years. Who knows what life circumstances will come up then. Maybe the HOA does something so stupid you want to leave, or you need to relocate for family. Live now for the next 5 years, not the next 60.