When looking for a new place to live, many people have two main choices: buying a condo or buying a single-family home in . Both options have their own benefits, as well as their own drawbacks, and you need to carefully consider all of them before making your decision. Here are 3 things to consider when deciding between buying a condo and buying a single-family home in .
If you hate mowing the lawn or shoveling snow – or you just don’t have time to keep up with your yard – then buying a condo in may be your best bet. Condominium associations hire in people or companies to maintain the outdoor areas around each condo and in the neighborhood, meaning you don’t have to worry about any of the upkeep. This is great for people who are busy with work, family, or other obligations, as well as those who may have physical limitations that keep them from maintaining a yard.
However, if you like doing this work on your property, a condo may not be for you. Additionally, some condominium associations are severely under-funded, meaning they don’t hire in the landscaping help the community needs as often as they should. This could mean you’re left maintaining your own property despite paying association dues that are meant to cover that expense.
Buying a single-family home in isn’t an inexpensive venture, no matter what size of house you’re looking at. In contrast, buying a condo is less expensive and more budget-friendly for a lot of people.
But the price on the property itself isn’t the entire cost of owning a condo, just as the actual cost of ownership for a house is more than the sale price.
Condominium associations charge anywhere from $100 per month to upwards of $1,000 per month, which goes to items such as mowing lawns, clearing roads, and even keeping community pools, parks, and gyms in good condition. But these fees can quickly balloon your overall monthly payments, making condos more expensive than they seem at first blush.
These condominium association fees go toward common expenses such as burst pipes or roads that need fixing, but if there’s not enough in the association’s reserves, all residents have to pony up more money to cover the expense. Additionally, like when buying a single-family home in , you are responsible for paying to repair or upgrade anything inside your home. That means that when that water heater goes out, or you want to replace the front door, you’re paying for that out of your own pocket.
While you can get a strong sense of community in a neighborhood full of single-family homes, many condo owners live much closer together than do the owners of single-family homes. Additionally, many condominium associations maintain common areas for everyone to enjoy, such as pools and parks. That means that many condo owners say they feel a greater sense of community than they might in other living situations.
If that appeals to you, then condo living may be for you. However, if you’re not one to get all buddy-buddy with your neighbors, or if you worry just who you’ll be living in close quarters with, you may enjoy the extra space that comes with buying a single-family home in .
The yard alone gives you some more space, so you don’t feel as if you’re sitting right on top of that annoying neighbor who always has to know what you’re doing. Also, there is a lower likelihood that you’ll be forced into more communal situations, so you can stay as separate from your neighbors as you want to be.