The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly … of Condo Living

We are starting to pack up and get ready to move back to Maxx on Wednesday and yes we are both very excited. This winter was a good opportunity to try out condo living to see if a condo is something we want to purchase in the future … so how did it go?

Well, we didn’t have to shovel snow, so that is definitely a good thing! We actually could not have picked a better year to spend the winter in Kelowna; the snowfall was far less than normal, the temperatures were higher than normal, and the valley cloud was almost non-existent so we had a mostly bright sunny winter 😀

But back to condo living … let’s start with the bad … Hmm haven’t found anything really bad … well I guess you could say we see the occasional homeless person around the downtown area but I honestly think that is something you need to expect if you are living in a downtown area. When I was working, I would meet with homeless people and it would surprise you the number that are working full time but don’t have the money for a damage deposit to rent an apartment 😦

The ugly … well when we first moved in it was the inordinate amount of time it took to get hot water to any tap in the unit! When we sat down for breakfast I would turn on the kitchen tap to full hot water and when we were done breakfast it might … if we were lucky … be getting slightly warm!

Just as ugly … when I went to have a shower in the master bath I would turn the shower on full hot water, get changed, talk to hubby, watch the end of a TV show if it was at night, check the local online news if it was in the morning, go back to the shower wait for the water to get hot … yup after all of that it was still barely warm … once it was boiling hot I would spend another ten minutes getting it to a reasonable (settling on the cold side) temperature 😦

Now to be fair to condo’s we had stayed at a wonderful friend’s condo for a few Christmas’s, when we came home and she was away, and never had any problem getting hot water … so why was this condo so different? And more importantly was this something we needed to check when, and if, we decided to purchase a condo in the future?

Well after a week of complaining, and watching me turn water on long before I needed to, hubby went into investigator mode and discovered that this unit had low flow water restrictors in all of the taps. I get why this is a benefit when you are paying for water, but seriously there has to be a compromise between saving money and enjoying life … and faster, easier, warmer water, is enjoying life for me! Now if you are totally into the environment … and I get that within reason … then waiting more than half an hour for hot water may be your thing … I’m into protecting the environment and my quality of life so I’m willing to compromise in-between.

After hubby had done his work, the shower was a little better but still not great. Finally around Christmas time he took the facet apart and decided it needed a replacement cartridge. We ordered one, he put it in and wow it worked perfectly … life was so much more enjoyable 🙂 The landlords were so happy to hear it was fixed they asked hubby to fix the shower in the main washroom which was doing the same thing. After this experience I might be tempted to do a hot water check on a condo if I am considering a purchase in the future.

The other downfall we found was the fire alarm/sprinkler inspections that required us to be present, all day, twice during the 5.5 months. We also had to move our truck out of the parkade three times, once so that they could clean the parkade, and twice so that they could work on plumbing in parkade … which of course, because we live downtown, meant paying for parking. We are not sure how people who work full time deal with those situations and we are not sure how we would deal with those situations if we were south for the winter. Yes, we could ask someone to come and sit all day waiting for an inspection but I think we would quickly loose friends doing that!

I love the colourful reflection of the boats in the water

So onto the good … We had a nice deck and did get to use it several times in the fall, but I think the access to outdoor space would be something for us to factor in. Living in the condo this year during the winter months and COVID worked out okay but we both have the feeling that as soon as the warmer months arrive, we would be craving more outdoor space than the a small deck. Yes, we are very close to the beach and lots of park area but that is not the same as having my own flower and vegetable garden and space to entertain more than four people outside.

We do know that we absolutely love living downtown! The access to walking paths, being able to walk to the grocery store, walk to church on Sunday, and we were also close enough to walk to my sister’s place. From downtown it would also be an easy bike ride to our daughter’s place as well as several other friends. Of course none of that happened this year because of the COVID lockdown 😦

Our truck hardly ever went out because we could walk everywhere we needed to go, in fact we filled up the tank once this winter and still have more than half a tank left.

So, for our first winter at home since 2012 it was a good place to live but we don’t think condo living is for us. Although to be fair, as a good friend pointed out, it might be different if we had been able to entertain and have friends/family over for visits. And that may be true, I had a really hard time this winter being home and so close to everyone but not able to see anyone and maybe that soured my experience.

I guess we will just tuck this information away for the future when we decide to settle down and for now look forward to our move back to Maxx on Wednesday 🙂

Until next time …

14 thoughts on “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly … of Condo Living

  1. Really good info on your experience. Don’t think it would be for us either. We need the outdoor space as well. Park model perhaps?

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  2. Having lived in a single family home, a high rise apartment building, a small townhouse, and now an RV, I can say with some certainty that every type of housing arrangement has positives and negatives. I love the idea of never having to shovel snow, but sharing walls can be difficult, as can be the inconveniences you describe. Outdoor space is so incredibly important, but nothing makes us happier than being able to walk everywhere. Its impossible to find one place that solves every problem (unless you’re ridiculously wealthy maybe…), but it’s important to think these things through and consider what’s most important to you before buying something. So, for that alone, this was a great thing to do.

    Anyway, I’m sure you’re thrilled to be getting back to Maxx. Enjoy!!

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    • Like you the being able to walk everywhere is very important to us and may win out in the end. At least we know a little more about what to look for should we decide to settle on a condo.


  3. Good to hear. We were also in a situation that wasn’t perfect. I don’t go into details on my blog as the landlords read it. Good/great people but living in someone else’s space weighs on you after 5 1/2 months. They have some very odd ‘habits’ that are normal to them. They didn’t change any of their daily routines for us and are very strict with those routines. Not having our own tv in our own comfortable space was hard but not life threatening. haha I did likewise with our hot water but not near as long (5 min) for it to get up to us with the room being in the attached building. We are grateful and they have welcomed us back next year if we need it BUT……….we don’t want to stay there again – unless things are desperate. 😂

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    • I wouldn’t have been happy living with strangers so in that respect the condo was a good option. It is nice that we are both back in our own homes and hopefully we are all able to go south this winter!


  4. I can see how living downtown would be fun but not having any private outdoor space would be missed. A deck is nice but still not quite the same as yard space. Good information, thank you for sharing your thoughts. Happy Easter! 🌷🐇🌼🐣

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  5. There really is no perfect place to live. While here at home we love it but then we can hardly wait to head to the Isla in Mexico. However after so many months there we are eager to get back home here. I think that you really did have an exceptional place to stay this winter factoring in the cost, etc, not to mention all the walking you did and how close the shops were.

    That photo of the boats at the yacht club is extraordinary.

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