Few will deny that there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to living in a brand new condominium versus living in a single-family house. Much depends on the individual in question.
Those homeowners having lived in both have their reasons for eventually preferring one over the other. Work and maintenance significantly influence the decision-making process for many individuals. Goals and lifestyle are additional considerations that could be determining factors.
So how is a buyer to decide? What will determine which is best for you – buying a condo or buying a house?
The Plus Side of Buying a Brand New Condominium
There are definite advantages to the purchase of a condo over the acquisition of a house. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Location, location, location – frequently, but not always, condos are built in a part of town that is close to clothing stores, hardware stores, restaurants, banks, grocery stores, and parks. Though commonly within walking distance, these businesses are, at the very least, reachable by a short ride on public transportation.
Excellent amenities – if you’re buying a new house and want a hot tub or pool, you have to consider their expensive price tag, as well as their care and upkeep. Pools, whirlpools, hot tubs, etc. are included with many condos, albeit in a “common area.” There can also be tennis courts, playgrounds, exercise rooms, game rooms, and shuffleboard courts. Also routinely offered are activities such as dances, parties, breakfasts, bazaars, game nights, movie nights, and more.
Ease of care and maintenance – rather than maintaining and cleaning a large house, many would rather take walks, write, read, travel, etc. And whereas a lot of this ease of care and maintenance may have to do with the smaller size of a condo, you will likely never have to do the following: maintain or paint the exterior, repair shingles, replace a mailbox, mow the lawn or trim trees, etc. You simply have to take care of the inside of that condo in a manner that suits you.
Monthly expenses – the monthly expenses for living in a condo are usually lower than a monthly mortgage payment on a single-family home. And consider what you get for those monthly condo fees – i.e., exterior insurance, exterior maintenance, garbage pickup, sewer, water; and possibly natural gas, hot water, basic cable, pool, Jacuzzi, clubhouse, etc. Condo insurance, which includes the interior walls and everything contained within, is routinely less expensive than most homeowner policies, as well.
Overall price – it is not unheard of to buy a condo with a patio, appliances, washer/dryer, new paint job, tile floors or new carpet, etc. for under $70,000. A Bargain such as this will, of course, depend on location, among other things. Closing costs are additional and largely determined by whether or not you pay cash.) But it is unlikely that you will find a house in that price range. Luxury condos are an entirely different story, but you get what you pay for. Even with the upper echelon’s condominiums, the price will usually come in far below that of an equally high-end single-family house.
Additionally, square footage is a consideration for many. Condos routinely offer less living space, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Each buyer must determine how much space they require to live comfortably. Most homeowners today have more room than they need. And let’s not forget that with a lower price in general, mortgage payments will be lower for a condo than for a single-family home. It only stands to reason.
Now, granted, if you are a rule breaker or you love to buck the system, condo living may not be your cup of tea. There are, after all, lots of restrictions and rules that apply to condo residents. The HOA may dictate what you can or cannot put on your patio, where you have to park, what kind of changes you can make with or without prior approval, whether or not you can have a pet, etc.
Some condominium living situations also have an age requirement (retirement communities) and a stipulation as to how long children can stay as guests – if at all.
And if privacy is an issue, remember that condominiums are either directly on top of, right next to each other – or both. Then again, some neighborhoods containing single-family houses are an astonishingly tight fit as well. The choice is yours when it comes down to it. Condo or single-family house? Which will you choose? Learn more.