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Debating between 2 types of properties.

I'm debating between an OK, and old condo in a great location or an overall great condo in a not-so-great location.  Kind of a typical question I guess!  But assuming price is not an issue..

Unit 1 - Near Westwood, walking distance to a lot of great things.  Community seems nice.  However, condo was build in 70s, no central air, and washing machine outside unit.  Also, kitchen is super small and less than ideal.  There's some potential with remodeling, but am worried it is limited given HOA restrictions.

Unit 2 - Overall great condo. Has all the elements I want, but located in southern Mar Vista.  About 2 min away from the low-income projects (Mar Vista Garden).  Not a lot of things in walking distance, and safety is questionable.

Option 3 - Just wait for the 'perfect unit' in upper West LA.

I'm not familiar with the Mar Vista area, other than the fact that I know the northern part is becoming more and more gentrified.  I would lean towards unit 1 given its location / community, but I think the age of the condo really makes me wonder about its future value. Please let me know if anyone has any insights!
  • February 20 - Los Angeles
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Answers (6)

I've seen in the reviews that a lot of us go for location, which is pretty true. However, I think it's highly likely that mar vista is next in line to the rehab going on in Venice & Culver City being that its right in the middle. There have been some cute bars and eateries opening up along Washington Blvd as well. With a condo you've got to check on the HOA's health and the out dates are strong to consider because you haven't the same amount of control on upgrades, so depending on the where the MarVista condo is, I'd say option 2 or 3.
  • February 27
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I think the top two things I would look at would be the health of the HOA (fees, reserve funds, any history of special assessments) as well as how happy you will be in the location. Even if it's a great area, if it's not convenient or you don't like the amenities in the area, you may find you want to move again in a short time. That being said, buying something in a better neighborhood could help you get more of a return on your investment if you stay for a while or have the money/desire to remodel. Even the nicest unit in a tough neighborhood will always be limited on how much it will be worth.
  • February 27
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I would find out about the HOAs and let that be the decision maker.  Or at least another pro or con.  When buying a condo, it's important to know the financial health of the HOA- how much is in reserves and will that cover the projected upcoming repairs. Often times buyers like when a condo has low HOA dues, but within a couple years they find out that there's not enough money to cover that new siding the building has been needing!

  • February 27
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Hi Condo Buyer! Great Question. One thing you can never change when you buy...is Location!  A great location will continue to appreciate in value as buyers are attracted to it and as the general neighborhood appreciates. Not so with poor locations, as the opposite is true.
Always buy, in the very best neighborhood you can afford. You can always improve the property thereby adding additional value. This is the rule of thumb for buying!

Best of Luck to you and Happy Home Ownership!
  • February 27
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If you can afford better, wait. If these two are your final choices . . . life is short, only you can decide where and how you want to spend your time.

All the best,
  • February 20
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Location, Location, Location! Location is typically number 1 criteria. Condo's as you stated do have limitations within the CC&R's The name Mar Vista is used for zip codes 90066 and 90034 The Mar Vista Gardens is more Culver City. I would highly recommend working with a Realtor that is very familiar with these areas. Best of luck! Susan Bo'ur Realtor Coldwell Banker/Santa Monica
  • February 20
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