Time to Say Goodbye


This has been a busy week. In my life, for the last couple of years, anyway, that seems as if it should go without saying. But this week’s busy is of a different kind. We’re selling our condo. We purchased it a few years back as a rental property, but it’s just not working out.

You’d think that, with our plans of moving abroad, having a rental property to help us pay for our endeavors would be the thing to do. And you’d be right. In fact, we have one in Brazil for just that purpose that is less than a year away from opening. But this one in Denver just won’t do it.

And it’s not the condo’s fault. Back when we purchased it, Linda’s daughter and her roommate were looking for a new apartment. So while looking for properties, we looked for places that would fill their needs. This one did it beautifully.

It’s a large place, over 1600 square feet, with two large bedrooms and two full bathrooms. There’s a large balcony which is accessible from the dining room, the kitchen and the master bedroom. And there’s plenty of green space around for their dogs.

It’s a beautiful place, one that we could see ourselves living in. In fact, back then, we had in mind getting a place that we could settle in in our later years, when we wanted to downsize. This was before we had the idea of moving overseas. But even when that idea came along, we thought that this condo could serve us well as a source of income from short-term rentals, as well as being a place for us to stay when we came back to visit.

Since it was initially for family, we weren’t looking to make a tidy profit off of it. We wanted to be able to provide a service for a loved one, to fill a need. But in the process, it has turned out to be quite a money pit.

And again, the condo itself is not the problem. Since they’ve been there, we haven’t had to do much at all in the way of maintenance. Replacing a new garbage disposal was, I think, the biggest repair that was ever needed. That’s not bad at all, considering the development was built back in the seventies.

The part that’s eating us alive is the HOA fees.

Homeowner’s associations can be beneficial, I know. They provide services, caring for the grounds, maintaining the property, etc. But in this particular case, the monthly HOA fee is usually nearly $600. The HOA fee alone is more than the rent we’ve seen on some places we’ve looked at in Europe.

Notice I said it’s usually nearly $600. For the last several months, and for a few more to go, it’s about double that, due to at least the second “special assessment” for certain major repairs and replacements. But even without those special assessments, I think they’re gouging us.

There are at least seventy-six units in the community. That means that, with just the normal fee, without the special assessments, the HOA is collecting over half a million dollars a year. I don’t think it takes that much to shovel snow and mow grass.

So, we’re letting it go. This particular income opportunity is bleeding us dry. That’s why this week has been devoted to painting and making various minor repairs, and moving bits and pieces over there for staging.

As I said, it’s a nice place, and I was happy to have it, especially for the potential income it could have provided us overseas. And I could see us living there, too, when our travels were over, or just on extended visits from Europe. I’ve written before about how I don’t really get attached to places and things, but there’s still a little melancholy associated with letting it go.

Linda’s particularly sad about it, though. For one thing, it meant that her daughter had to move. She and her roommate really liked it there, so it was sad for them, as well. And I know that Linda, like me, could see us there in the future.

We don’t expect to recoup our losses. Certainly not the emotional ones. We’ll be getting a fairly good tax refund from the government, due to the financial loss, which will help. But for now, we’re just getting out from under it. The money we’ve been paying to the HOA can be diverted to our Europe fund.

Divesting, saving, eliminating headaches, maybe that will get us a little closer to our dream.