The Pros and Cons of Condo Homeownership: Is it Right for You?

Dated: August 10 2021

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What Is a Condo?

A condo, which is short for “condominium,” is a private residence within a larger building or community, while an apartment is a leased residence within a larger building or community. Condos share common areas with all the other units in their community; these common areas can include a fitness center, pool, and manicured grounds. Unlike an apartment, however, condo owners pay monthly dues to keep these amenities operating and in good condition.

Condos can be townhouses that are attached on one or both sides to another unit. Or, if the condo is in a larger building or high-rise, it might be surrounded by other units.

Benefits of Buying a Condo

1. Less Maintenance

One of the biggest benefits of living in a condo is that other people do the maintenance for you. The common tasks and big repair jobs such as cutting the grass and maintaining the grounds are taken care of by the experienced maintenance staff at the community. This can be especially beneficial for those who travel and don’t have the time to take care of the property.

2. Security

Many condos offer gated or locked entries, doorkeepers, or even security professionals for residents. If you live alone or security is a concern for you, this can be reassuring because it might reduce the risk of home break-ins. In addition, you live in close proximity to many other people, which means that in an emergency, you’ll have plenty of people to turn to for help.

3. Affordability

Condominiums are often priced lower than single-family homes. Condos typically have a lower average selling price – around $248,200, according to the NAR. Depending on the region and the community, the asking price can be dramatically lower than a single-family home. So, if you want to dive into homeownership and you are on a tighter budget, a condo can be a great first step.

Downsides of Buying a Condo

1. Homeowners Association Fees

As you might imagine, that pool, fitness center, security system, and maintenance crew all cost money. When you buy a condo, you essentially become a business partner in that community. You pay a monthly homeowners association (HOA) fee each month, on top of your mortgage, which goes toward the upkeep of the property, as well as future investments such as parking lot resurfacing or the addition of a dog park.

2. Lack of Privacy

In a condo, you have neighbors on the other side of your walls, and perhaps above and below you as well. If you’re looking for some peace and quiet, a condo may not be the right choice.

3. Difficulty Selling

Condos can be difficult to sell for a number of reasons. One reason being not everyone wants to live in a condo. Families with young children often want a yard, families with multiple dogs often need a yard, and some people just don’t want to live on top of someone else. These factors narrow down your pool of potential buyers.

Secondly, you have to consider your HOA. If your HOA demands high dues, this will price some people out of buying. If your HOA is underfunded and the community looks the worse for wear, other people won’t want to live there. When selling a condo, your HOA plays a big role in how fast it moves.

4. More Rules

Living in a condo means you have to live by the management’s rules.HOAs can have an overwhelming list of rules that owners have to abide by. For example, your HOA might restrict the number of pets you’re allowed to have and even restrict some breeds. They might set limits on the number of visitors you can have or set dedicated “quiet times” to restrict noise. They might also restrict the type of renovations you’re allowed to do or decorations you’re allowed to put up.

For example, if you want to install green energy technology, such as solar panels on the roof, you have to ask the condo association for permission. Living by someone else’s rules might be fine for some people, but for others, it can be stifling.

The Bottom Line

There’s no doubt that buying a condo can be a great decision – for some people. Aging empty nesters, young families, and busy professionals often find it liberating to live in a low-maintenance home where major decisions are handled by other people. However, if you love your privacy and independence and don’t want to live by someone else’s rules, then condo living probably isn’t right for you. Regardless of your homeownership preference, single family home or condo, I am here as your trusted Realtor to guide you through that process. If you are ready to take the next steps into homeownership, give me a call.

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Darlene Lopez

Darlene Lopez knows through experience that life can change in an instant. On September 11, 2001, she was in New York, working as a retailer/buyer. She saw the horror and confusion from the moment a p....

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