Real Estate

Owning a Condo vs. Owning a Home

By Tom Burchnell
condo or home

Are you trying to decide if you should buy a single-family home or a condo? Read on to help decide which is right for you.

Should You Buy a Condo Over a Home?

Would a condo be a feasible option for you? Check out our pros and cons of condo ownership.

Pros of Condo Ownership

You’re more likely to get some cool perks from condo ownership like neat shared spaces like a pool, hot tub, or gym.

You get to enjoy outdoor areas without the burden of caring for them. There’s no yard to mow, no hedges to trim, and no need to worry about handling the expense of removing trees when it’s necessary. Other building maintenance is often included in your monthly dues, too.

You may get the added bonus of extra security by living in a condo instead of a single-family home. The addition of more residents plus the likelihood of a doorman and/or gated community make it less likely that you’ll be the victim of criminal activity.

Especially in urban areas, a condo may be much more affordable than a single-family home. Where houses are few and far between, they tend to go for a premium, so a condo might be the answer to affordable living in expensive, more crowded cities. No matter where you’re shopping, it’s likely that you can find a condo cheaper than a house.

You’re also more likely to find a condo in the heart of the city with all the amenities you could want close at hand.

Cons of Condo Ownership

It can sometimes feel like you’re a little on top of your neighbors when you live in a condo or apartment. Everyone is in the same building, and depending on the quality of construction and materials used, you can sometimes hear your neighbors clearly and vice versa. You may wind up in close quarters with people you don’t really care for.

There’s no outdoor area to take care of, but there’s also potentially no outdoor space to do what you’d like with, either. If you wanted to do something outside like plant a garden, you likely won’t be able to. You may not be pleased with the outdoor maintenance provided all the time either, and it can be tough to get it changed.

You’ll have to pay dues to an owner’s association, and you don’t necessarily have an outright say in how your dues are spent. You will still have to cover the cost of any repairs inside your condo, as well.

It’s harder to sell a condo than a single-family home. You may have a hard time getting out from under your investment when you want to. You may also find that a condo doesn’t appreciate in value nearly as quickly a house since you don’t own any actual land when you buy a condo.

Would Buying a Single-Family Home Be Better?

For some people, buying a regular house might be a better option. We’ll go over reasons homeownership might or might not be for you.

Pros of Home Ownership

You’ll have a little more space to work with when you buy a single-family home, generally speaking. Your neighbors are a little further away and you likely won’t have to share a wall with your neighbors unless you’re purchasing a row house. You’ll also likely have access to some outdoor space which you can use as you like.

Avoiding paying community dues is easier when you buy a single-family home. While there are some communities with homeowners’ associations, it’s not a guarantee, but it’s a lot less likely that you’ll pay community dues. This means that you can have more say in how your maintenance gets carried out, as well.

It’s easier to sell a home than it is to sell a condo. A house is more likely to provide a quick return on your investment should you find yourself in need of your equity. Your options for equity tapping are broader with a home, as well.

In a house, you’ve got a little more freedom. You don’t have to obey the rules of an owner’s board or property management company.

Cons of Home Ownership

When you buy a house, every bit of maintenance and upkeep is on you. From weekly upkeep tasks like mowing the yard to gigantic repairs like replacing the roof or HVAC system, you’ll have to manage it all by yourself. This can get expensive, plus it’s a lot of responsibility.

Utility bills are oftentimes higher in single-family homes because they don’t share walls and they usually have more space to heat and cool.

Owning a single-family home will oftentimes come with a steeper price tag. In some places, home ownership is almost out of reach for the average person.

Single-family homes are often located away from hot spots in cities where there are lots of restaurants, clubs, and workplaces.

Which Should You Choose?

This depends entirely on your personal situation and values. Both are a big commitment, so be sure you give it the proper forethought before jumping into either to quickly.

Key Takeaways

If you’re trying to choose between owning a home and owning a condo, make sure to speak with a financial expert and a real estate agent to ensure that you have all the information you need to make a decision that works for your needs.

Real Estate
Tom Burchnell
Written by Tom Burchnell
Director of Product Marketing

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