Realtor Travis Shipley of Re/Max Properties North said he has helped people from Michigan to Florida who want to buy a condominium or townhouse in the Chattanooga area.
Most of the people, including locals, he said, are retirees, corporate singles or couples who don't have or don't want children, or people who are tried of maintaining a yard.
For all of them, he said, condos are just the ticket.
To sample what is available, a Times Free Press reporter, accompanied by Shipley, earlier this week visited four townhouses and condos priced from $194,900 to $200,000 in different parts of the area.
All four have two bedrooms and two baths and range from 1,400 to almost 1,900 square feet. Three have never been lived in, and a fourth was built in 2004.
Shipley said one important consideration for potential condo buyers is association fees, which may or may not include maintenance of grounds, pool, roofs and water.
There's often not a lot of freedom to make changes on the outside of a condo, he said, and some associations may make restrictions on interior changes. On the other hand, he said, many maintenance issues do not have to be handled by owners.
Buyers also need to check the price per square foot, Shipley said. Depending on the amenities offered, he said, the cheaper the price per square foot, the better the bargain.
Beyond price, which condo owners -- especially retirees -- often can handle, he said, two important considerations are privacy and safety.
Owners, Shipley said, are often "willing to pay more if it's safe."
Descriptions of each condo are based on the tour and comparisons available from Multiple Listing Service information. Also included are comments by Shipley, who is not the listing agent for any of the properties.
Address: 735 Outlook Lane.
Schools: Zoned for Lookout Valley Elementary, Middle and High schools.
Size: 1,600 square feet.
Lot size: 30 feet by 132 feet.
Year built: 2004.
Association fee: $110 per month.
Description: Well-maintained brick and synthetic stucco townhouse in golf-course community has great room/dining room combination with cathedral ceiling, skylights, gas fireplace and television niche. Galley kitchen has upper-end cherry cabinets, Corian countertops and washer/dryer closet. Large master bedroom has tray ceiling and bath with jetted tub, separate shower and walk-in closet. Screened-in porch and deck off great room are appealing additions. Second bedroom off entry has its own full bath. It has a one-car garage. Community offers pool and tennis court.
Realtor: "You're isolated from the city and have a view of the mountains. ... Most people are looking for [hard]wood throughout. It could be a deal breaker" for some people. ... Since the neighborhood is "extremely popular and extremely safe," you "can get by without having a tile shower. ... A double garage would be desirable."
Address: 1457 Sedgefield Drive.
Schools: Zoned for Apison Elementary and East Hamilton Middle and High School.
Size: 1,400 square feet.
Lot size: Not available.
Year built: 2010.
Association fee: $195 per month.
Description: Never-occupied condo features hardwood floors and blinds throughout and two-car garage. Open floor plan has great room and kitchen with granite countertop island/bar and stainless-steel appliances. Master bedroom features bath with double vanity and walk-in closet. Second bedroom has adjacent standard bath and walk-in closet. Full utility room and large, private patio are good bonuses. Area has community pool.
Realtor: "Stone exterior [with vinyl] is very popular." ... With step-in shower and 3-foot doors, "it is designed for an older couple or single adult. ... The great room is good-sized; the bedrooms are a little small." ... Ideal for someone "who doesn't need a lot of square footage. ... Close to Hamilton Place" and "10 minutes from every restaurant you'd want."
Address: 7699 Lenox Trace.
Schools: Ganns-Middle Valley Elementary, Loftis Middle and Soddy-Daisy High School.
Size: 1,660 square feet.
Lot size: 88.07 feet by 116 feet.
Year built: 2012.
Association fee: $50 per month.
Description: Great room of new, all-brick condo features gas fireplace and trey ceiling. Kitchen has stainless-steel appliances, granite countertop, pantry and laundry closet. Master bath has double vanity, separate tub and shower, tile floors and walk-in closet. Second bedroom has adjoining bath. Unfinished upstairs affords lots of storage. Crown molding in finished spaces a nice touch. Single-car garage.
Realtor: Great room is huge with hardwood floors. "I like the tile backsplash [in the kitchen] and [number of] cabinets. ... The sitting room [off the master bedroom] is a nice feature. It is located only three miles from Northgate [Mall]. The views [out the front and rear] are not necessarily that great."
Address: 680 Wilshire Way.
Schools: Zoned for Red Bank Elementary, Middle and High schools.
Size: 1,899 square feet.
Lot size: Not available.
Year built: 2006.
Association fee: $191 per month.
Description: New condo finished in stone and fiber cement siding in Mountain Creek-area cul-de-sac offers oversize great room with cathedral ceiling and gas fireplace. Kitchen has granite countertop, stainless-steel appliances and pantry. Smaller room off great room could be dining room or sunroom. Master bedroom has huge walk-in closet and bath with cozy tiled shower and raised double vanity with makeup area. Home also affords second bedroom with large guest bath, two-car garage, large laundry suite, additional room that could be an office, walled-off front patio and nice view of Signal Mountain. Area has community pool.
Realtor: "Stacked stone on the front is a big seller. ... Very large great room. ... Roman-style shower [in master bath] more popular than about anything out there. ... Giant windows; people love windows. ... It's got it all."