The Advantages & Disadvantages of Buying a Condo. Wondering if buying a condo is right for you? Investing in a condo can come with some great benefits, but there are also some downsides you may need to consider. To help you make the best choice, here are some of the major pros and cons of buying a condo!
Advantages of Buying a Condo
One of the biggest reasons why people consider buying condos is that they can often be more affordable than buying a home. Take a look at some of the pros of owning a condo below!
A mid-sized condo is perfect for buyers who want to downsize from a larger home or who don’t want to spend a ton of time maintaining a house. A smaller space provides more freedom for residents who want to spend time traveling or enjoying their city instead of constantly working on home improvement.
More Affordable Than Single-Family Houses
In larger cities or beachfront locations, a condo can be much more affordable than comparable houses, making it a less intimidating buy for first-time homeowners. In some cities, owning a condo is often cheaper than renting an apartment or buying a townhouse.
When you own a condo, your homeowners insurance only needs to cover the inside of your home, as your monthly HOA fees will help insure the building or complex you’re in. A house, however, requires insurance for inside and outside. This means your condo insurance cost will often be cheaper than the insurance needed for a house.
Great Sense of Community
Most condo buildings and complexes have communal spaces, such as kitchens, patios, or rooftops, where residents can get together and get to know one another better. In addition, condo communities usually host fun events for residents like movie nights, game nights, wine tastings, cookouts, and more.
Proximity to Entertainment & Business Districts
One major advantage of condo living is that condo buildings are typically found in or around downtown areas, so residents have great access to nearby entertainment and business districts. This means living within walking distance of employers, restaurants and bars, public transit, major attractions, and tons of events.
You don’t have to live in a luxury condominium to enjoy nice amenities. Most condos have community spaces like a pool, rooftop terraces, or a fitness center, which you can use without worrying about the upkeep. Some condos even have tennis courts or spas! Keep in mind that the more amenities a condominium complex has, the more your HOA (homeowners association) fee will be each month.
When you buy a house, you often have to buy appliances like refrigerators, ovens, and washers and dryers. Of course, these appliances can be included in the sale, but you’ll have to update them in the future if you want to sell your house. Most condos come pre-furnished with these appliances, and in some cases their repairs can be covered by building maintenance, which is a major advantage.
Condos offer residents the opportunity to embrace homeownership without the hassle of yard work, snow shoveling, or home repairs. Building hallways, entryways, and community spaces are also taken care of by a cleaning or maintenance staff, so you only have to worry about your living space.
Most condo buildings have secure entrances and surveillance cameras, and some even have security guards or doormen who keep an eye on the property. This is especially great for those who live alone.
Disadvantages of Buying a Condo
Wondering what to know before buying a condo? While there are some great benefits of condo living, there can be some drawbacks, too. Here are some downsides to consider when looking at condominiums!
Along with mortgage and property taxes, condominium owners pay homeowners association fees (HOA fees), which are monthly dues that go toward community amenities, building maintenance, cleaning services for common areas, upkeep of laundry facilities, and more. Typically, these rates can vary from $100 to more than $1,000, and sometimes these rates can increase. There are a few reasons why your HOA fees can rise, such as a major repair needed in the building or a special assessment is made in each occupied unit. Most associations will take a portion of your monthly payment and put them in a reserve fund, a savings account that can be used for future expenses or projects.
No Outdoor Space
While no yard work is a positive of condo ownership, not having green space can be a disadvantage for some residents. Especially if you have kids who want to play outside or have a large dog that needs to go to the bathroom, you may have to walk a fair distance to find a playground or park. However, some condominiums may have courtyards or rooftop terraces that can provide some outdoor space for residents!
Lack of Privacy
Similar to an apartment, condos share walls. You might hear your neighbors walking across their condo or having a party. You might hear loud TVs or animals. And they might hear you, too. For people used to living in apartments, this may not be an issue. But for those downsizing from a house to a condo who are looking for peace and quiet, condo living may not be ideal.
Though most condos do accept pets, there can be limits on size, breed, and number of pets, which can be a major disadvantage for pet lovers. Some condominiums will also require you to pay a deposit for your pet as well, which is something to keep in mind when looking at expenses. If there are too many complaints from other residents, you may have to get rid of your pet or move. Make sure to read the rules on pets before you move in!
Since condos are typically located in more urban areas, parking is almost always an issue. You may only have one reserved parking spot for your unit, making it difficult to find a place for a second vehicle, guest vehicles, or a recreational vehicle like a boat or RV. Parking garages and street parking may be available, but you’ll have to pay monthly or annually for these spots, which can be expensive.
Specific Rules to Follow
There are sets of rules condo owners have to abide by. Called the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, & Restrictions (CC&R), these rules are enforced by the HOA. Some examples of these rules are: not being able to put solar panels on your roof, parking rules like no overnight parking on the street, quiet hours being enforced, bans on smoking or drinking in community areas, and more.
Value Appreciates Slower Than Houses
When you buy a condo, you’re only investing in the living space, not the land. This means the value appreciates more slowly over time. Over a longer stretch of time, houses have historically demonstrated higher rates because more people prefer homeownership, but there’s evidence to show condos may be closing the appreciation gap.
Lack of Storage Space
Not having a basement, garage, attic, or additional closets might be a downside for residents who need to store items. Some condos can include small storage units assigned to each condo, but this isn’t always a guarantee, which means you may have to downsize your possessions or move to get more space. Of course, you can always rent a storage unit, which will be cheaper than moving to a larger condo.
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