On Blogging, Life, and Vandalism

When I created this blog about a year and half ago I did it mainly to keep my parents (but really my mom) up to date with my attempts at decorating my first place. I admittedly thought it would be quite neat if I could get a few other people to come by and comment every so often, but that wasn’t my goal. As time has gone by I’ve fallen into a trap, one I’m sure other bloggers have experienced – the numbers trap. Over time, I’ve had a few posts appear on some major blogs (my Dollarstore bookends were listed on Babble, and my Craigslist dresser was featured on Apartment Therapy) and those generated quite a bit of traffic to my little spot in cyberspace. For those of you non-bloggers traffic is measured in various ways, but it boils down to numbers, and those numbers can get addictive. When your numbers are going up it’s a great feeling, but conversely when your numbers go down your emotions can too.

I didn’t write a post at all last week which can be attributed to a few things, including writers block, plummeting traffic numbers leaving me feeling like this blog is pointless, and a few other things, one of which I’ll get into below. I think since I started my blog, last week was one of the few weeks I’ve missed posting even a little something. It’s an odd feeling – strangely I feel like somehow I‘ve failed. I’m not quite sure who I’ve failed, but the emotion is there, and it’s interfering mightily with my desire to blog at all.

I’ve never shared on my blog that I’m a member of the Board of Directors at my Co-ownership. Normally it’s not a big responsibility – we meet about every two months to go over the finances and deal with any issues that may arise. That said, we’ve decided that it’s time that the building have its windows replaced – ours were installed in the 80’s and don’t fit the Spanish Colonial style of the building. I’m the board’s representative on the window committee, and as such have been attending meetings with vendors to try to determine what type and style of window is best. My brain is literally overflowing with information on wood-clad vs. vinyl vs. fiberglass, casements vs. double-hung, simulated divided lights with interior or exterior grills, and cottage vs. regular split windows.

Last week I had one regular board meeting and then met twice with the committee to listen to potential vendors. That’s a lot of hours in one week to dedicate to a building, but I have always believed that the efforts of those of us who serve on such boards don’t go unnoticed. And then this happened:

I took these pictures with my cell phone so the quality isn’t great, but it’s what it looks like – someone in the building took a marker and drew two huge marks on the walls in our front stairway. What makes it worse – the board had just weeks before had all the interior common walls repainted at a cost of several thousand dollars. I know it shouldn’t, but this vandalism feels like a slap in the face. Our building is small – just 23 units. We know pretty much everyone (there are a few renters), so the fact that someone would deliberately do something like this wounds me. I and the other members of the board take the time out of our lives where we could be doing all the things we enjoy to help ensure all of our homes are well looked after. The vandal may as well have written ‘SCREW YOU’ in big black ugly letters (it actually feels like another word, but I try to keep this space PG).

Sigh. Alright. Enough venting. Sorry about that.

In other news I bought myself some lovely sunflowers yesterday.

Do sunflowers make you happy?

I’m not sure what it is about sunflowers, but they make me happy. I’ll be sure to look at them tomorrow after I get back from the emergency board meeting that was called in response to the lovely new art of our walls, and then maybe, if I feel up to it, I might draft a blog post about something that make me happy. Wish me luck.

A Co-Ownerwhat?

I wrote in an earlier post that my home was quite low in price for the area. Before you start thinking I bought a dump, the reason my unit was priced much lower to similar in the area is simple – it’s a co-ownership, not a condo.

When I first heard that the unit was a co-ownership, I assumed I knew what that was – I mean, I’ve watched ‘Sex and the City’ – Carrie lived in one, right? Wrong.  She lived in a co-operative, which is not the same as a co-ownership. Anyone else confused?

At the time I was looking I did a quick internet search (gotta love Google) so I’d have a basic understanding.  Below you’ll find some of the differences and similarities between condos, co-ops and co-ownerships.  *Please note that these are as I understand them to be – if you’re considering purchasing a co-ownership, please consult your real estate lawyer for all the details.

Condo

  • Each unit is a separate property which can be bought and sold
  • Condos can be mortgaged
  • Owners of the units in the building will also own shares in the common elements of the building that are proportionate to the size of their unit

Co-Operative

  • The entire property is owned by a corporation
  • The ‘buyer’ of a unit owns shares in the corporation, and is granted exclusive rights to use that specific unit
  • Shares can be mortgaged
  • Buyers are not registered on title for the property
  • Generally most banks will not loan for a co-op, but some credit unions will

Co-Ownership

  • There is just one property, and all the owners are listed on the title for the property
  • Owners have a proportional share of the entire property and are given the exclusive right to occupy their unit
  • Shares can be mortgaged
  • Generally most banks will not loan for a co-ownership, but some credit unions will

One of the reasons that co-ownerships are generally less expensive than ‘regular’ condos is that financing can be difficult.  In order to qualify for my mortgage I needed to have 30% down – this cuts out a large portion the buyer demographic looking to move into a one-bedroom unit, which in turn drastically reduces demand.