I’ve never owned a home and because of a mix of propaganda marketing, problems renting apartments, and legitimate reasons, I am considering purchasing my first home. My first instinct is a single family home (SFH) with no HOA because HOAs are terrible and I don’t want restrictions on what I can do to/in my home, otherwise I’ll continue renting.
However as I get closer and closer to affording my first home purchase (goal of paying in cash, no mortgage), I find problems with the SFH model that are making me reconsider a small condo.
PROs of Single Family Home (no HOA): greatest amount of freedom. Can raise chickens in my backyard, paint my house purple, replace my lawn with rocks, etc. Cheapest long-term option since if I want to retire early, I can get by on only paying property taxes, minimizing my utilities, and nothing else. No insurance, no landscaping, no HOA fees.
CONs of Single Family Home: I’m going to customize it exactly the way I like in crazy ways. It’s outside of the scope of this thread and for privacy reasons I won’t share the specific details online, but if I buy a house, I plan to customize it at great expense in ways that will make the house unsalable. It will be mine for life. One example I will share is completely removing one of the bedroom windows and drywalling it shut.
My sleep schedule requires me to sleep during daylight and I want complete blackness in my bedroom. Blackout curtains aren’t enough. I’ll drop around $50k on these types of modifications that will reduce the resale value of the home. If I can’t make these upgrades, then my reason for home ownership is reduced significantly to the point where I’d rather rent for the rest of my life.
CON 2 of SFH: Liberals could destroy the city over the course of the rest of my lifetime. I have a friend who lives in a very liberal city that over the course of the last 20 years has become a literal warzone due to raising welfare benefits, and mandating section 8 housing be interspersed all across the city. Over the last two weeks, there’s been one gun fight on the streets every day in this town that used to have zero crime. This didn’t happen overnight, but over the course of 20 years of progressive thinking. So this wonderful house I pour a massive amount of money into customizing might wind up being a place I need to abandon at a great financial loss. As a renter, I can vote with my feet. Let the liberals raise taxes and increase crime and I’ll go elsewhere in a few months notice.
CON 3 of SFH: I like to travel often and I don’t want to leave my house uninhabited for 6 months at a time. I don’t want to Air BnB it out because of the customizations that I don’t want messed with. And I’ll have really nice furniture and artwork that I don’t want to put into storage. I don’t go on 6 month trips often but I like the idea of being able to go to Europe for 6 months and not worry about a house.
These cons are leading me towards considering a condo. I think it allows me to do some customizations like drywall the inside of the bedroom window, because if the HOA doesn’t see it externally, it should be no problem. I can’t do all of the customizations I want, and I can’t raise chickens for fresh eggs, but that’s the tradeoff.
With a condo if the city goes to hell, it will be less of a financial loss if I have to abandon it, or simply rent it out forever and move out.
Most importantly, with the condo if I travel for 6 months, it feels safer to leave the place unattended to. The neighbors will look after it and the HOA has a key in case the plumbing leaks.
I recognize that my reasons for homeownership are odd but am still curious in hearing critique of my thoughts.