Wednesday, July 07, 2004


as most of you regular visitors know, i've been searching for condos for the past two months. well, i think the search may be over. but i'm having a bit of a decision dilemma. the condo building i'm looking at is right across the street from lake michigan, however i don't have a lake view. in fact, the unit faces the alley which is actually quite clean, and then another apartment building across the alley, but within enough distance that the windows aren't really looking right into the other building's windows because it's separated by a parking lot in addition to the alley.

the reason i'm going to go into some detail about this decision making process is two-fold:

1) it gives me an opportunity to put my thoughts in writing which will hopefully help me decide which is the better alternative, and
2) it allows me to get some feedback from you readers, if you so choose to provide feedback.

the decision is basically whether to get the unit on the second floor or on the fourth floor. the two units are identical. the condo is a brand new conversion, very modern looking with new and beautiful hardwood floors. the kitchen features stainless steel appliances, beautiful maple cabinets, granite counter tops, and mirrored backsplashes (i.e. the space between the cabinets and the counter tops is mirrored). the units have plenty of closet space with built in organizers (even a set of drawers in the bedroom closet) and a very spacious living/dining room which will comfortably fit a pool table and still allow lots of space for the living area. i saw a furnished model, and it looks awesome!

while i don't have a balcony (it would cost an extra 20 grand!), the penthouse floor of the building (on the fifth floor) comes with a huge outdoor deck, a very fancy party room where i will no doubt be throwing several soirees, and an exercise room.

if you're wondering why i'm not opting for a lake view unit, it's because it's literally a sliver of a view. there are two highrises in front of the building and so the view is cut short by virtue of being in the middle of the two highrises.

so here's the deal.. obviously by being higher up, the fourth floor gets much better sunlight from the west, in the afternoon/evening. the second floor unit.. not so much, but it's hard to tell because today was a pretty cloudy day. also, since the units face the alley, i'd be closer to any unwanted alley activity by being on the second floor. there didn't appear to be much activity when we were there, but you never know.

the kicker here of course, is money. the fourth floor unit costs a whopping 9 grand more than the second floor unit. though, when you divide that up by a 30 year mortgage, it's not a lot in terms of additional monthly payments. so the question then surrounds resale value. and that's always tricky. will the next buyer care about sunlight? will they care about being close to the ground? will they care to pay extra to be higher up when the view isn't really much different?

hmmm... decisions, decisions...

i'm thinking i want the fourth floor unit. and i'm thinking that because i don't think an extra 9 grand will make much difference when it comes to my monthly mortgage payments. but i just feel like i might get shafted when it comes time to sell. though i can probably bank on the fact that the two units won't be offered for sale at the same time once they're both occupied, so a future buyer may not really have a choice once they decide that they like the unit for its features.

am i confusing things by thinking too much? i don't know...

but i definitely know that i want one of the two. the building is awesome. it's not a highrise with 12 million units. it's only five stories high with a total of 30 units. the grocery store is 3 blocks away. the express bus is right at my doorstep. the train station is 3 blocks away. the lake/beach/park is across the street. it's ideal. but i'm always worried about resale value. i can't help it. while owning my own place is the goal, i can't say i'm not thinking about making a profit when it's time to sell. hopefully that profit will help me relocate when it's time to do so.

so, as you can see, i've got a big decision to make. i'm gonna sleep on it and call my realtor tomorrow with a decision..

so help a sister out and feel free to drop any suggestions or opinions or other ways to look at this whole thing...