Question: Hi Robert, my name is Chad L. and I live in Santa Clarita. I’m in the market for a small condo or townhouse and have heard many differing opinions about that type of living. Could you share your opinion on pros and cons of this, so I have more of a professional’s opinion based on the more technical side of things, please?
Answer: Chad, my best recommendation would be a single-family dwelling primarily because in most cases you are solely responsible for choices and decisions regarding your home – upkeep, repairs, improvements, etc. With that said, if a single-family home is within an association then some of these choices are no longer only the owner’s. Regarding condo or townhouse ownership, if I purchased it would be a townhouse simply because in general terms, there are less issues with damages from one unit to another, in the event of water intrusion, especially. Condos are generally multi-level and can create problems when water issues occur. If you happen to be the above unit and something goes wrong with the parts of plumbing that you are responsible for, you would be held responsible for damages not only to your unit, but also the unit or units below you. This can, and I’ve seen many situations like it, end in tens of thousands of dollars. A townhouse is generally set up where there is only one shared wall, therefore though they are not without issues, the “shared” problems are much less. My best recommendation is that before you buy any property within an association, you vet the association with regard to their financials, the management company and the overall maintenance of the entire property. Any home is a huge investment, and you’ll want to be sure that those making decisions on your behalf (board of directors in any association), are making good ones and keeping the entire property in good condition through general maintenance and continued repairs as needed. Best of luck to you.
Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].