Has the idea of buying a condominium crossed your mind? There is a lot to like about condo living, including reduced maintenance obligations and ample amenities. However, living with increased regulations and being close to neighbors may not be suitable for you. Make sure to carefully consider all the pros and cons of buying a condo and how they fit into your lifestyle.
What is a condominium?
A condo is a private residence within a larger community. It is like an apartment, except you own the unit instead of renting it, and you can renovate or customize your space. There are typically multiple units on each floor, and you may have neighbors above, below, or next to you. There also may be shared areas and amenities, including swimming pools, tennis courts, and fitness centers.
The pros of buying a condominium
Several benefits appeal to a wide range of homebuyers when it comes to condos. They give empty-nesters the freedom to travel without the concerns of home security, and condos allow first-time homebuyers to own property at a lower cost than a single-family home and build equity.
A single-family home requires plenty of maintenance to keep it looking great, but a condo has many of these responsibilities covered. Most condos have a homeowners association (HOA) that’s responsible for exterior maintenance like mowing the grass and snow removal, along with upkeep of the roof, building exteriors, amenities, and shared spaces. This means you’ll have to spend less time and effort on making the property look great.
A report by the National Association of REALTORS® found that the average condo price is more than $50,000 cheaper than a single-family home. Additionally, condo insurance is typically much less expensive than homeowners insurance because you’re paying for coverage of a smaller space, and you do not need insurance for the outside of your condo.
Having facilities like a fitness center or pool provides luxuries you may not be able to afford in a stand-alone house. These amenities can be a great way to get to know your neighbors and create lasting friendships. In addition to a pool or clubhouse, many condo communities hold events like game nights and barbecues, which are great opportunities to socialize.
A condo community typically has a level of security you won’t find in a single-family home, such as secured entry gates or security guards to watch out for any emergencies. Additionally, having neighbors close by can provide an unofficial level of security when you’re away.
The cons of buying a condominium
While condos will appeal to a handful of people, it just isn’t the best option for others. Make sure to consider these points before buying a condominium.
All the perks of having the additional amenities and fewer maintenance responsibilities come at a price in the form of fees. When you buy a condo, you’ll likely have to pay a monthly HOA fee on top of your mortgage and insurance costs. This money goes toward the upkeep of the community’s shared spaces and exterior. You may also have to pay an additional fee to use some of the amenities. However, you can sometimes opt out if you won’t be using them.
In addition to the fees, the HOA can have a list of rules you must abide by. These will vary from community to community and may include the number of visitors you may have at one time, the type of pets you can have, or how you can decorate an area like a patio, which can be a little overbearing for some potential homebuyers. Before agreeing to buy a condo, make sure to review the HOA governing documents, and consider how any monthly fees or rules will affect your life.
Lack of privacy
Being in closer confines than a neighborhood does mean you’ll sacrifice a level of privacy in a condo. Sharing walls with neighbors on both sides of your condo, and potentially above or below you, means you may hear increased noise. Fellow condo owners may be outside or in the hallway late at night or in the early morning. Likewise, your neighbors may not be receptive to you entertaining guests or playing music.
You may have a limited market to appeal to if you plan to resell your condo in the future. For example, a growing family with pets may find the space restrictive and want a house with a private yard. Others may not feel comfortable with the HOA regulations. If you’re considering buying a condo, it’s beneficial to speak to your real estate agent about the unit’s potential resale value and potential.
Before you buy a condominium, make sure to consider these factors in your decision.