One of the many dilemmas you’ll face as an aspiring homeowner will be the property type to buy. You might feel like a condo is a better option for you, as it might seem more affordable and require less maintenance. Or, maybe buying a house seems like a great idea, as you believe privacy is very important for you.
There is no one universal answer to whether you should invest in buying a condo or a house; it all depends on your needs, intentions, and financial situation. That’s why here you can find the list of the most important differences between buying a condo and a house, so you could make the decision that will work especially for you.
Why You Should Buy a Condo
There are several reasons why many buyers opt for a condo while purchasing real estate property. Here are some of the main condo features for you to consider:
Generally speaking, if we talk about a single-family home and a condo in the same location with similar characteristics, a condo will usually turn out to be cheaper. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median price for a single-family home in 2019 came up to $274,600. For the condo, however, the median price equaled $249,500, which makes a $25,000 difference on average.
That’s why choosing a condo over a house can be an excellent option for those with a limited budget, as you can expect a lower down payment.
The average condo units tend to be smaller than single-family homes, which can be a disadvantage for any big spaces lover. Yet, this quality makes it possible for condos to be located closer to the downtown areas of the city. If you need to be in close proximity to various restaurants, bars, shops and enjoy the vibrant life in the city, most probably you should consider buying a condo instead of a single-family home.
In many cases, condos come with many extra amenities you’d usually have to deal with yourself buying a house. Think of a laundry room, gym, swimming pool, concierge services, and even a golf course. As an owner of a condo, you’ll be able to enjoy all these finer things in life without leaving your neighborhood or even your building.
Buying a condo, you simply purchase an interior space inside a building, which does not result in any extra responsibilities to upkeep the grounds or common areas. Instead, all maintenance of common areas and the building’s exterior lies on the shoulders of the homeowner’s association or HOA. That’s why life in a condo is perfect for city dwellers who prefer not to spend any time and energy on extra activities around the house.
However, keep in mind that this comes with a price — monthly fees about $200 – $300 to HOA.
If you move into a condo, you’ll be surrounded by like-minded condo owners. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to chat and spend some more time with your neighbors using common amenities, such as a gym or rooftop terrace. So, if you love being surrounded by people and need regular socialization, a condo might be a better choice for you.
Easy to Rent Out
If you decide to purchase another place, either a house in the suburbs or, maybe, even move to another city, it will be easier for you to rent out a condo than a single-family home. If your condo is located in a popular area and is in good condition, you wouldn’t have to wait for months to find a tenant. What’s more, you don’t have to worry about any exterior issues, as the HOA will be taking care of it even if you’re gone.
Why You Should Buy a House
As you could see, condominiums have lots of pros, but many people still decide to go with buying a single-family home. Why’s that? There are a few main reasons for it.
If you become an owner of the house, you don’t have to worry if it’s allowed to paint the entrance door or make a flowerbed in the backyard. Instead, you can freely customize and change anything you want, both inside and outside your home. It is also worth mentioning that the HOA might impose some rules regarding the number of people living in a condo or pet-policy for the whole building. This will not be the case if you buy a house – you’ll certainly have more autonomy, the possibility to arrange any single detail the way you like, and host as many relatives as you can bear.
It can get tiring if you have to share walls with your neighbors. Living in a house, you don’t have to worry if you can assemble a dinner table at midnight and if this noise will bother your neighbors. Similarly, you don’t have to suffer from loud music or listen to your neighbors arguing just behind the wall.
Capacity to Change
Buying a property is an enormous commitment, and things can change throughout your life. Your family might grow, or maybe you will acquire a new hobby that will require a lot of room, such as creating sculptures or massive paintings. In any case, it might be challenging to incorporate significant lifestyle changes within the walls of your condo — there is simply no room to grow. And, if you feel in the future that you need more space, you’d have to sell (or rent out) your condo and move to a bigger place. Things look different if you own a house and maybe even some land. You can build a terrace, annex, or change your house’s layout entirely if you feel it’s necessary.
Easy to Sell
Remember that condo is easy to rent? Well, in the case of the house, it will be easier for you to sell it, if there will be a need for it. The general rule is that houses appreciate more than condos; what’s more, you can always tweak your home to make it more suitable for potential buyers’ needs. You can add value starting from minor upgrades, such as planting a garden or paving a driveway, to more considerable upgrades, such as finishing the basement or digging a pool.
Surely, there are pros and cons to any type of property, no matter if you’re going to buy a house or condo. Remember to think through your long-term plans and intentions with which you’re going to buy your new home, and good luck with your future purchase!
Mariia serves as editor-in-chief and writer for the Rentberry and Landlord Tips blogs. She covers topics such as landlord-tenant laws, tips and advice for renters, investment opportunities in various cities, and more. She holds a master’s degree in strategic management, and you can find her articles in such publications as Yahoo! Finance, Forbes, Benzinga, and RealEstateAgent.