Getting Used to Condo vs. House

pkockJuly 17, 2004

My 70 yo widowed mom is currently in the process of selling the family house, and has purchased a condo. We're slowly moving her stuff; the movers come next week for the heavy things.

Getting mom to buy a condo was a hard sell. We did it for several reasons: no steps, no outdoor maintenance (hard for us to keep up two houses), lower expenses, easier cleaning, better neighborhood, closer to our house, a chance to de-clutter and sort her stuff, etc, etc. She was against it because she'd lived in apartments all her life before buying the house with my dad, and vowed to never live in an apartment again.

Fortunately we found her a nice place - an end unit, 1st floor of a 2 story building, two-car attached garage, with a nice sized patio overlooking a lake. I think most of her neighbors are older too - 50's and beyond.

The thing is, I'm not used to apartment/condo living! I've always lived in houses, and the one we have now is on a 1/3 acre lot, so there's a big difference. I have to keep reminding myself to be quiet around 10 p.m. or so, to stop yelling at the kids (all parents do that sometimes!), etc. I was running a loud carpet shampooer the other day and stopped to think, hey, it's 9:00 p.m....maybe the upstairs neighbor isn't enjoying this?

I have yet to get a copy of the current HOA bylaws to find out if mom's allowed, say, to have a hanging plant on her front porch or back patio, wind chimes, lawn decorations (the woman across the street does...).'s a heavy smoker too. Will the upstairs neighbor suddenly suffer due to my mom's vice? Can I use this as a reason to make mom smoke outside (so the place smells better and to save my kids' lungs when we visit...we're having a heck of a time getting the smell out of her house) or quit entirely (yeah, I wish)???

So fill me in, will you, on condo/apartment etiquette?


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Well, it's too late now, but my advice to anyone trying to buy a condo would be that they MUST see the current bylaws BEFORE they make any sort of commitment.

Is there a central office of an kind, or a board president, whom you could ask about stuff like quiet hours?

I tend to think of quiet hours as beginning at 10pm. And if I ran a loud carpet shampooer very often, I'd try to do it earlier in the day. But once in a great while, esp. during move-in, you do what you have to do--as long as it's not bedtime, you're safe.

I also think that OTHER people in an apartment have a responsibility to be tolerant, esp. during move-in. My downstairs neighbor was hammering picture nails into the wall at 10:30pm during his first month. I didn't mind. I noticed, of course, but I didn't mind. He's not going to be doing it once a month.

(also, noise travels up, but vibration doesn't, so stuff like the carpet steamer would be harder on a downstairs neighbor)

The other thing that's good, i think, is to be on friendly terms. Smile, say hello. Become a real person to the neighbors, so that when they do hear you, they'll think of you as someone they like who's making noise right now.

I wouldn't put up a windchime in an apartment setting--people are just too close. And the noise would be incessant, and not linked to a person. A neighbor who minded couldn't say, "well, they'll only be windchiming for 20 minutes, and then they'll be done" the way they can w/ carpet shampooing.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2004 at 11:53AM
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