Buying a condo may seem like a smart choice. You don’t have to deal with the maintenance and you have less space to worry about inside. But, this type of living isn’t for everyone no matter how amazing it sounds. Learn who should and should not consider this type of living arrangement to help you make the right purchase.
The Benefits of Living in a Condo
There are many benefits of condo living, such as:
- Amenities – Many condominium developments have a large number of amenities, such as a swimming pool, fitness area, and clubhouse. Each development will have its own amenities though, so you’ll want to inquire about what each offers before making a purchase decision.
- Lack of maintenance – As a condo owner, all you own is the interior of your unit. You don’t own the exterior or any of the commons grounds. This can be a good thing though because you are not responsible for the exterior maintenance and repair. If the roof needs replacing, you don’t have to do it. If the lawn needs mowing, again you don’t have to do it.
- Lower cost – Depending on where you look for condos, the cost may be much less than that of a single-family home. Of course, there are those that cost millions of dollars, but if we are talking realistically here, you can generally save more on a condominium than you would spend on a single-family home in the same area.
- Shared costs – Again, because you only own the interior of your unit, the cost of certain repairs, such as the roof, get shared with the other owners. This should come out of your monthly homeowner’s association dues, which you’ll pay. The association, if run right, will keep reserves on hand for times like repairing the roof or other major repairs.
- Socialization – Condo owners are usually pretty close. They have the amenities to use together and often tend to form groups or just socialize more than those that would sit holed up in their single family home.
The Disadvantages of Living in a Condo
Of course, there’s always a bad side. You should consider the negatives of condominium living as well:
- Lack of privacy – As much as your social life might increase by living in a condo, you’ll also lose some semblance of privacy. When you share common areas of your living space, you’ll likely be prone to more nosy neighbors and sharing of information more than you would like. When you live in a single-family home, there is a bit more privacy to be had.
- Bylaws – You’ll have to abide by the bylaws of the association governing the development. Make sure you get to know these rules very well before deciding to buy the condo. Make sure they are rules you can live with and that won’t interfere with your daily life, as they can get pretty restricting.
- Lack of appreciation – Condos are known to appreciate much slower than single-family homes. There’s no scientific reason for it, but it just happens. This means it could take you longer to gain equity in the house even with regular mortgage payments.
- Homeowner’s association dues – In addition to your mortgage payment, real estate taxes, and insurance, you’ll have to pay HOA dues. Depending on the development, they could get rather costly. Make sure you know the full cost of the HOA dues and how often the association may raise them.
- Special assessments – Your condo association’s board can decide that they need more money and hit you with a special assessment. It’s basically another HOA due that you have to pay by their specified date. Associations can require this fee for any reason, not limited to an emergency repair or just going over budget.
So is condo living for you? It takes some time looking at the above factors to decide. If you are the type of person that loves to socialize, doesn’t mind a little less privacy, and would use the amenities, it may be the perfect place to live.
If, however, you are a very private person, don’t want any extra monthly dues, and don’t use amenities, such as a pool or fitness area, it may not the right choice. What it comes down to as well is what you can afford. Is a single-family home an option for you? The best way to find out is to get pre-approved by a lender to see what you can afford. Then you can go out in your area and see where the loan amount gets you.Click to See the Latest Mortgage Rates»