The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 14 No. 38 - July 16, 2014

REAL ESTATE

Do you have a condo personality?

 

Do you have the right personality and temperament to live in a condominium? Are you OK with limited control of where you live and sharing common elements of the property? And most important of all, are you willing to participate or at the very least stay informed in the business of running the condominium? If the answer to these questions is no, then stop reading and starting looking at single family homes.

Condominium life can be wonderful. It frees you of all the day to day maintenance issues like landscaping and adding chemicals to the pool. You don’t have to worry when the roof needs to be replaced or when the building needs to be painted; someone else will take care of it for you.

But you do pay a price for this and I don’t mean the monthly maintenance fees. You pay a price in relinquishing control of where you live. Maybe not 100 percent, but there are compromises to be made and decisions that are made for the good of the community not necessarily for the good of the individual.

First of all know what you’re getting into. Make sure you understand the restrictions, like not using the pools after sunset and picking up after your dog. If you’re not flexible and aware that you’re giving up a certain amount of freedom, you’re doomed to unhappiness.

It’s important to be civil when you’re part of a group. If you don’t like decisions that are made, present your case at a board meeting or in writing in a logical calm fashion. Nothing is worse than an individual dominating board meetings with his/her specific issues. You won’t make any friends and probably won’t get your problem taken care of.

I’ve noticed down through the years that the people who complain the most are the ones that don’t participate in running the community. Serving on a condo board is very satisfying. You help the community where you live and leave with a feeling of accomplishment. And if actually serving on the board scares you to death, at least show up for meetings and vote or serve on a committee.

If you are convinced that the people running the association are really making mistakes, the best thing to do is organize other residents to see what steps can be taken. Sometimes by just placing different people on the board with a fresh outlook is enough to break the log jam. If there is a serious abuse of power, it is possible to recall a board member or the president, but it’s a difficult and messy process.

It goes without saying that getting along with your neighbors who you are sharing a wall with is crucial to successful condo living. Step back before you tell your neighbor his TV was too loud or his grandson splashed you in the pool. Condo living is a “live and let live” concept and if having your own way and not having the ability to overlook minor infractions is your personality, again start looking for a single family home preferably on a large piece of property.

I personally love condo living and have never felt that my personal space or rights have been infringed upon, but that’s me. Before you embark on this lifestyle, you have to sit down with yourself and have a frank conversation. If you can’t have that conversation with yourself, you’ll never be able to have it with the person on the other side of your living room wall.