For my first home buying experience, I purchased a two bedroom, two bath condo near the peak of the market in June 2005 for $255,000. It is a great space with high ceilings, a nice sized master bath and closet, with a loft above the master bedroom. I have put an additional $17,000 to help improve the builder’s grade fixtures or worn out furnishings, for example there is now new wall-to-wall carpeting, ceramic tile in the kitchen, new flooring in the bathrooms, new stainless steel appliances, and brushed nickel light fixtures, to name just a few improvements. Of course the condo has been completely painted, or as I liked to call that, my husband’s Habit for Humanity project, he just happened to be the humanity.
The condo development has issued one special assessment for $3000/unit because the original developer put in the condo bylaws that he would retain the mortgage on the common area building. So that puts my total investment at about $275,000. I have watched condo fees increase by 10% every year, from $165/month in 2005 to $300/month in 2012, I can’t say I have seen services improve. Even though the economy has tanked, my property taxes have also increased from $2500/year in 2005 to about $4000/year. So what is my property valued at today? A very similar unit just sold for $150,000, so sadly that is my best guess. Therefore I have lost about $125,000 on a condo I have owned for about seven years, it is no doubt the worst investment I have ever made and it has definitely not been a great first-time home buying experience.