After deciding you’re ready to become the proud owner of real estate property, it’s important to determine exactly which type of real estate you want to own. For most people, this boils down to single-family homes or condominiums, each of which has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
In order to decide which option would best suit your needs, it’s vital to reflect on factors such as financial stability and lifestyle before making a choice.
Purchasing a Condo - Pros
There are several pros to purchasing a condo, such as:
1.) Less Costly: Generally speaking, condos typically run smaller than your average-sized house. Although this isn’t always the case, you’re more likely to be living within a smaller square footage. A smaller living space also means a smaller price tag - think heating and electricity bills - and, if you aren’t looking to grow your family anytime soon, this could serve as a major advantage to you.
2.) Easier Maintenance: Rent.com explains one advantage of condo-living perfectly: In a condo, “each unit is owned by one individual. It’s like homeownership, but in a shared building rather than a single family home or lot.” Being part of a condo association or community means simplified maintenance tasks, as well as less responsibility and stress on your end. For those who would rather spend their free time with friends and family, the only part of the condo that you’ll need to worry about is the interior. More often than not, exterior tasks like landscaping, trash removal, and snow plowing/removal will be included in your condo fees, freeing up extra time and giving you flexibility on your weekends. If you’re not a big fan of external home maintenance, a condo may be your ideal choice.
3.) Better Location: Unfortunately, single-family homes located close to downtown areas often come with a steep price tag, leaving them out of reach for many. Condos, however, are typically located closer to all of the action - without the price tag - providing you with endless options for dining, entertainment and shopping steps from your door.
4.) Included Amenities: As part of a condo association, you’ll have access to many amenities without added costs or labor to go with them. This could include gyms, pools, tennis courts, playgrounds, and more. When purchasing a house, on the other hand, there aren’t typically any additional amenities included, which means all of those extras come at an additional cost and/or require your time and labor.
Purchasing a Condo - Cons
While condos can be a great choice for many, they’re not for everyone. Here are a few cons:
1.) Less Storage Space: Since owning a condo often means you have less square footage than your typical home, you’re also likely to have less room to store your things. This could be a hoarder’s worst nightmare, so be sure you complete a nice cleanse before making the move! Those who live in a slightly unorganized fashion (our way of politely saying, “messy”) might struggle to organize their things efficiently in a smaller space. And, those who own larger items may have to consider additional storage units for added storage space.
2.) Less Privacy:One of the bigger deal breakers in the battle of house versus condo includes the issue of having a lack of privacy. You'll be situated closer to your neighbors, and, in some cases, you may also be located near popular amenities that draw in crowds around the clock. For those who aren’t interested in constant commotion, this may not be your ideal environment.
3.) Smaller Yard: Although this can be seen as a pro for those who aren’t interested in the upkeep of having their own yard, many miss out on having an expansive outdoor space to call their own. And if your condo does provide you with a yard, more often than not - it will be a small, and maybe even shared space with your neighbors.
4.) HOA Fees: Once you purchase a condominium, you are obligated to join that community’s homeowners association, otherwise known as HOA. This comes with monthly, quarterly, or annual fees that cover the upkeep and maintenance of the common areas and community as a whole. These costs can vary - from cheap to very expensive - so be sure to ask what your fees cover in terms of amenities and assisted maintenance before coming to a final decision.
Purchasing a House - Pros
Considering purchasing a house? Here are some of the pros:
1.) More Space: With more rooms, more square footage, and your own yard, owning a house will buy you an abundance of space that you might not otherwise get with a condo. Ideal for large or growing families, a larger living space will give you more room to expand, relax, and enjoy life. Not to mention - all that storage space that you wouldn’t have access to with a condo!
2.) More Privacy: Typically speaking, you’ll always have more privacy when it comes to owning a house. Not only will you not have to worry about having a shared wall with your neighbors, but you’ll also have a yard to create more distance between you and the people living next to you. For those who appreciate quiet time, this could be an ideal scenario for you.
3.) More Control: When it comes to living in a condo, you are only allowed to make changes to the interior; everything else you would need to ask approval for, and more often than not you’ll be restricted to making certain changes.
On the other hand, with a house - the choice is yours! Interested in building a fence for your four-legged friend? Go for it! How about painting the exterior of the house? The option is all yours. Let your imagination run wild, and create that dream home you’ve always envisioned!
Purchasing a House - Cons
While buying a house may be the only choice for some, it’s not ideal for everyone. Here are a few cons to consider:
1.) Costly/Higher Expenses: When it comes to buying a house, there are a lot more added expenses that you wouldn’t otherwise pay if you were to purchase a condo. Not only will you have to pay more upfront for your mortgage and closing costs - but you will also have higher regular bills such as property taxes, heat, electricity, and water. Unfortunately, more space = more areas to maintain!
2.) Maintenance: Although some enjoy outdoor activities and the maintenance of their property, many find it to be aggravating and a hassle. With your own house, you’re in charge of all exterior and interior maintenance issues. This includes tasks such as mowing the lawn, fixing your broken fence, cleaning the gutters...you catch the drift.
The Choice is Yours.
With so many things to consider, it may seem like a difficult choice. Sometimes getting out there and looking at your options can help. It’s also beneficial to work with a professional real estate agent when exploring your options.