Condo vs House: 4 Reasons to Buy a Condo Instead of a Single-Family Home
When considering properties for a home or starting out in real estate investment, buyers often have to decide between condos, single-family homes, and other types of properties. Condos are well-known for being more affordable, especially for people who may not have the time or extra money to pay for maintenance on the property. Condos package ownership responsibilities conveniently, with great amenities available to residents. In many regions, condos could be the best long-term investment. With this information, buyers will understand the benefits of buying a condo, especially in comparison to purchasing a single-family home.
What's the Difference Between a House & a Condo?
The difference between a single-family home and a condo may seem obvious, but it is a little more complicated. A single-family home is a single housing unit on one lot. The owner claims ownership over the lot, the structure, and everything inside it. In most cases, single-family homeowners can change the inside or outside as they like or upgrade the property as needed.
By comparison, a condo owner claims ownership over the unit but shares ownership over the structure and the lot. Condos come in different designs, some as units in a large building and others as separate dwellings in a community. In any case, the condo owner retains control over their belongings and most factors related to the unit interior. Responsibility for maintenance, repairs, and upgrades to the property is divided among all the owners in the community. Typically, condo owners pay a fee to cover these expenses. They may also get a voice in determining how the money is spent or help create community rules.
Condos Are More Affordable
As a general rule, condos are more affordable than single-family homes. Usually, condos have a lower starting price than single-family homes in a similar area. The average size of a condo unit is smaller than a single-family home, although there is plenty of overlap in sizes in the middle. As such, people looking to buy something with lower upfront costs will likely find more options in condos than in single-family homes. This is particularly true in areas with dense populations, where there are more condo communities than single-family homes.
Since condo owners share ownership of the property, they split responsibilities for maintaining it. An owner of a single-family home has to provide or pay for all the upkeep on their property. Condo owners designate a council or overseeing authority to pay for maintenance and repairs. Owners pay a fee for the services, but the total cost could be much less than an owner of a single-family home would need to pay. Owners in a condo community make decisions about upgrades to the structure and split these costs as well.
Condos Can Be High-Value Assets
Condos can represent an excellent investment, especially for buyers and investors who intend to hold the property for many years. Although condos tend to cost less than single-family homes at the point of purchase, they may not necessarily stay at a lower value over time. Condos can appeal to a broader audience, including people who want a more affordable investment and those looking for a luxury lifestyle. As such, condos may represent a better long-term investment.
In a competitive housing market with high demand, prices will go up. Owners of single-family homes may expect to reap higher profits for selling their properties, given a larger footprint and control of the entire property. Somewhat paradoxically, this can cause single-family home prices to go down. Various factors set market prices, but size is one of the most significant determinants. If prices rise so high that hardly any buyers can afford to buy single-family homes, they are more likely to look for condos as a stable investment. It is not uncommon for single-family home prices to plateau or drop while condo unit prices continue to rise steadily.
Condos Offer a Luxury Lifestyle
Condos allow people to live a luxury lifestyle, even if the condo unit does not start at luxury prices. When people think about the meaning of luxury, the type of home may not be as important as its location and the amenities available. They may imagine things like:
- Downtown locations, close to work and nightlife
- High-rise buildings with everything luxury condo owners need
- Easy access to transportation
- Convenient amenities on the property, such as entertainment or fitness
Much of what people appreciate about the lifestyle of celebrities includes access to services that could be available in many condo communities. Owners of single-family homes may lament the time they must spend maintaining the property or the prices they must pay to hire a professional. By comparison, owning a condo builds access to maintenance services and luxury amenities into the regular cost of ownership. Condo owners do not have to schedule maintenance according to the budget or risk deferring it to another time. In essence, condo owners can enjoy all the property features without investing much extra effort to make it an option.
Making a Decision About a Home Purchase
For many people, the buying process starts by choosing the right mortgage and researching the differences between condos and single-family homes. Although buyers have unique needs and expectations from each property, there are a few reasons to consider buying one type over another. Single-family homes are a popular option, but they cost more and require more work to maintain. By comparison, condos are typically more affordable and easier to manage. Condos also offer amenities that make life easier, like a convenient location or access to services in the building. Thinking about the differences can help buyers to decide what they will need.