Survival in a Condominium?

Hi Ferfal,
I bought your book and then decided not to buy a home as a backup plan that was about 9 miles outside of Tehachapi, California, USA and 1 mile from the nearest neighbor.
I could consider a home in a gated community, in the town of Tehachapi.  The town has a hospital, about 13,000 people and is 40 miles from a town of 350,000 people.
But, I am starting to wonder how much different it would be from where I am now.  I live in Los Angeles now on the second floor of 3-story condominium building.  I thought about how you said order is restored first in the city and that’s where the food and work are.  I would of course, get food, safes, gun, secure door, windows, security cam., etc.  Any thoughts?
Also, do you know how condominiums fared after the collapse?  I am worried about others not being able to pay their dues.
Thanks again,
Hi Tim, from a purely practical point of view, if you’re in a good condo on a somewhat safe neighborhood, and you add an alarm and a good security door, your home will be pretty safe. A condo can be safer and easier to secure than a place in the suburbs or an isolated home in the sticks. If you have security in your building even more so, it will be pretty safe in comparison to anything other than a closed gated community with good security. While you do want to avoid the big mayor cities like LA and New York, generally speaking, living outside a city isn’t that much about a practical choice, but more about quality of life regarding having more room and open green spaces, grass for the kids to play and such.
As you correctly note, resources both during disasters and financial crisis are generally focused on major population areas where it benefits the most people. Granted, not the best place to be during a flu pandemic, war (where your location may be close to a strategic target, or be one itself!) or an earthquake, but in general the benefits are greater than the disadvantages from a purely practical perspective. Then again, most of us just don’t like living in big cities, and life’s just too short for not doing what we like. As said before, I find that living in the suburbs of a medium size town or small city presents the best compromise.
For some time I found myself living in a condo in Buenos Aires. In spite of the huge crime problems in the city and the fact that I didn’t like living in it, I must admit it was the safest place I had been in while living in Argentina. There was a bank on the ground floor and a cop posted right in front of our door all day long. The windows that I had were secured with sturdy burglar bars, and I had the door replaced with a security armored one that locked on all 4 sides of the steel frame. Walls were brick and mortar construction.
One of the biggest problems in a condo is the lack of space for storage and also the issue of waste disposal if the waste collection service stops or becomes inefficient. As you note, your neighbors can be a problem as well. While some can be an asset, others may be slackers or downright criminals. You just never know who’s moving into the building next. A nicer middle class or higher end type of building does help, but keep in mind that even those can deteriorate along with the rest of society.
 Your planning should also include a bug out location outside the city you already reside in, and its not a bad idea to pre-position some of your supplies there.
Other tan that, don’t beat yourself too much about it!

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