Should I Buy a Condo or House?
The American dream of owning property has changed in recent years.
Nowadays, although the dream still boils down to having your own roof
over your head, the options for doing so have changed drastically. One
of the fastest growing segments of property sales today is in the area
Owning a condo has some things in common with owning a traditional home,
but it's the differences that count. And there are a lot of them! So how
do you know whether a house or a condo is right for you?
Take a look at the following points, and then do some research of your
own before deciding to buy a condo or house.
What is a condo?
In order to explain the differences between owning a single family home
and a condo, we should first define exactly what a condo is.
Condominiums resemble apartments in many ways. They consist of several
units in the same building or complex, with common areas like courtyards
and lobbies that are shared by everyone. But condos, as opposed to
apartments, are owned by the individual tenants and not just rented.
When you purchase a condo, you're giving up some privileges in exchange
for gaining others. It's this balance of benefits that will be most
helpful when you're weighing what type of property to buy.
Benefits of a condo
Less maintenance. Although the price of your condo will cover the cost
of maintenance, you will not be required to perform it yourself. Some
small tasks may fall to the condo owner, but for the most part jobs like
mowing the lawn, replacing broken fixtures, and insulating for the
winter are all taken care of for you. Keep in mind, though, that you are
still footing the bill.
Community environment. Maybe you've got an empty nest at home and are
looking forward to being around other people. Maybe you just hate the
thought of rattling around in a large house by yourself. Some people
prefer having neighbors in close proximity, and appreciate having common
areas to share with others.
Amenities you couldn't afford otherwise. Most condos feature special
areas for their tenants. Some have gyms, while others have pools and
saunas. Plenty of condo owners choose to buy a condo because they love the
convenience of having these amenities right outside their doorways.
Standardized construction. This particular point doesn't apply if the
condo you choose happens to be in an older building that has been
converted. If you purchase new, however, your condo will be built to new
construction standards and will feature many modern conveniences. Buying
a brand new single family home would give you the same benefit, but with
a much larger price tag.
Benefits of a traditional home
Privacy. No matter how well a condo is built and how soundproof the
walls are, the fact is that you're sharing the space. For some people,
there's no substitute for your own walls and yard.
Investment value. Even though the condo market is on the rise, condos
will never replace single family homes as the real estate investment of
choice. Homes have a wider appeal than condos and will always appreciate
at a better rate in the market.
Freedom of choice. The world of condos comes with certain restrictions.
Condos operate with a central Home Owner's Association (HOA) that makes
decisions regarding certain areas of the building's appearance. If
you're the type who wants to paint the walls turquoise and display an
assortment of lawn gnomes, you'll be better off in a single family home.
Should I buy a condo or house? The bottom line
As baby boomers reach retirement age, the condo market is seeing an
increase in purchase demand, and the fact is that condos are much more
popular than they were ten years ago. In big cities where housing space
is limited, condos are an excellent way to live in a populated area
without having to pay inflated prices for a small square of land. Think
about it this way: you can fit a lot more people into a certain amount
of square footage if you build upwards, so condos certainly have their
place. And in large expensive cities, they're a lot more affordable than
traditional homes, particularly if you're a first-time buyer.
If you look at the situation from a financial point of view, you should
weigh factors like investment value against things like proximity to
your workplace. Maybe a house will be worth more if you sell it, but if
buying a condo in a big city cuts your commute time in half then it
could still be the cheaper choice. Maybe you'd rather have a single
family house, but if you're trying to move to a big city the sticker
price of a condo might look a lot more appealing.
Consider your options carefully before deciding what type of property to
purchase. Listen to advice from those who have purchased property in the
past, and get advice from Real Estate investors if necessary. In the
end, whether you buy a condo or house is entirely dependent upon your
needs. After all, you're the one who will be calling it home.