Brett and I have become interested in two condos that are currently available in a complex that’s a good choice for both location and price. Both units are the same size (2 BR, 2B, 1000 square feet), have the same floorplan, the same taxes, the same HOA fees. But that’s where the similarities end.
In order to tell them apart when we talk about them, we named the two units The Prince and The Pauper:
- The Prince: This is an upstairs unit and has beautiful open-beam cathedral ceilings as well as a storage loft. The unit has been upgraded with porcelain tile floors in the living room and new carpet in the bedrooms, It has a fully-renovated kitchen with high-end finishes (tiled backsplash and granite countertops), new appliances and loads of cabinet space. Both bathrooms have been upgraded. Air conditioners are already installed, and the two lanais are screened-in. The lanais overlook a greenbelt and the complex swimming pool.
- The Pauper: This is a downstairs unit that hasn’t had any upgrades in nearly 20 years and was probably used as a rental. There is older carpet throughout, the kitchen could use renovating but is useable, and the bathrooms need upgrading. The whole interior needs painting. The lanais are not enclosed, and are really just open concrete patios. They look out over a forested area.
The Prince is priced at $50,000 more than The Pauper.
If we bought The Prince all we would have to do is move in – everything is already done. The loft provides a bit more storage space, and there’s the nice views from the lanai. But, while it’s very attractive, many of the decorating choices are not ones we would make and we’re not sure how we would feel about them over time.
With The Pauper, there would be lots of work to do – like immediately replacing the carpet with tile and doing the painting, for example – but we could get things done the way we wanted versus living with someone else’s decorating choices (for example, we really don’t care for granite countertops). We could enclose the lanais. And, all the renovations/upgrades could be done for a whole lot less than $50,000. Our monthly mortgage payment would be much smaller. But, there’s no extra loft storage, and the unit doesn’t have those lovely open beam ceilings or as nice a view.
There is a third unit available, priced the same as The Prince, but it’s also on the ground floor and needing some work, so we probably won’t even consider it.
The choice between The Prince and The Pauper almost makes us feel like we’re on an episode of Househunters. Brett and I go back and forth over which would be a better choice for us – one day it’s The Prince, the next it’s The Pauper. The girls love The Prince, but they’re not paying the mortgage nor will they be living there after a couple of years.
We have plans to visit the complex with our agent this weekend to check out the two competing units, and we’re hoping that actually seeing them will help us decide. Maybe we won’t like either of them!
What do you think?