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    The Condominium Market in Kansas City

    Three of my real estate agents and I had the opportunity to attend a very informative class on the condominium market in Kansas City earlier this week. The presenter was Kari Winters, a mortgage loan officer with Arvest Bank (913) 953-4410 kwinters1@arvest.com. Kari is clearly very knowledgeable about condominiums and is the self described condo mortgage expert in Kansas City as she’s been doing them for over 20 years.

    I think typically when we say the word “condo,” most people immediately think of a high-rise in the downtown area. This is one type of condominium, however, the concept is not limited to high-rise buildings nor to residential properties. Residential townhouses, patios homes, or villas are sometimes developed as condominiums. Just to be clear, a condominium can be an attached or detached home.

    What exactly is the definition of a condominium? A condominium is a large property complex divided into individual units and sold. Ownership usually includes a nonexclusive interest in certain “community property” controlled by the condominium management. Condominium management is usually made up of a board of unit owners who oversees the day-to-day operation of the complex, such as lawn maintenance and snow removal. A condo owner owns the air space inside their condo, sharing an ownership interest in the community property, such as the floor, walls, sidewalks, stairwells, and exterior areas. A general requirement of a condo owner is monthly payments to a homeowner’s association (HOA), which is in charge of property upkeep. These fees generally include the cost of insuring the building, shared utilities, and a reserve of funds for future maintenance of the building.

    My real estate team was interested in learning more about condos for two reasons: 1) We have been noticing an increasing interest within two segments of the Kansas City population, younger millennials and aging boomers, and 2) The condo market is not in a crazy, strong seller’s market like the typical single family home. Most condos that are in the River Market, central downtown area, or farther south to the Country Club Plaza are not getting multiple offers like the rest of the market. That doesn’t mean they are any less desirable, but there are simply more condominiums to compete with and more choices for buyers.

    A few years ago, just for fun, my wife and I attended the Spring Homes Tour in the downtown area to visit a dozen or so condominium complexes. I’m not sure we were seriously considering selling our home in the suburbs and moving downtown, but it was fun to dream about what it might be like. I loved the idea of having an in-house gym, a rooftop pool, a game room, and possibly waking up to see the downtown city views.

    We toured Riverbend Loft in the River Market, Soho Lofts, Wallstreet Towers, and Western Auto Lofts in the downtown area, and a few on The Plaza as well. It was interesting to see the different city views, the way they are laid out, and the amenities that each building offers. We liked the idea of being able to walk out the front door of our building and go down the street to a restaurant. I liked the idea of not having to worry about replacing a roof, mowing the lawn or fixing broken items around the house. It’s a different lifestyle for sure and something I’d still like to explore as we grow older. It would be nice to lock the front door, go on vacation and not have to worry about the house.

    If you’re reading this article and thinking about this, feel free to call me at 816-651-9001. Condominiums in Kansas City are priced from $125,000 all the way to $2 million. Townhouses, patio homes, and maintenance free villas are also available in the suburbs for those that are not interested in living downtown. My real estate team can help you through the process or just talk on the phone to see if this might be a good fit for you. FYI, if you know someone that has a condo to sell, we can help you with that too.

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