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Email Post to a Friend: How to Decide if a Condo or House is Right for You

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Condo or House - Homebuyers - Laffey Real Estate

Real estate is a financial investment, but it's also an investment in the type of lifestyle you want to enjoy. There are advantages to purchasing a home, and there are advantages to buying a condo. Carefully weighing your options is the key to making the right choice for your future.

Comparing the Costs of Fees and Maintenance

A house is more than just four walls and a roof that encloses a large space. It is also a yard, fence, and landscaping that you will need to maintain. And, unlike a condo, all of the maintenance is your responsibility. Unless you have an HOA, the advantage is that as the sole owner, you have full decision-making authority over how to maintain it and what you want to include in the landscaping. In general, you can expect to spend approximately 1 to 2% of the home's purchase price each year on maintenance. Further, if an HOA governs you, you will also need to pay HOA fees to maintain landscaping, parks, pools, etc. within the community.

Conversely, a condo is more akin to an apartment. Smaller than most homes, condos are usually less expensive than a house. Many offer:

  • Well-maintained landscaping
  • Covered garages
  • Swimming pools
  • Recreational areas

While you may have these in your new home, you are not responsible for maintaining these in a condo community. But that doesn't mean it's free. In fact, the cost of maintaining common areas and the buildings is collected monthly in condo fees.

Different Lifestyles and Closer Neighbors

In terms of lifestyle, condos and homes can be similar, and they can be very different. It depends on the neighborhood. You will live much closer to your neighbors in a condo and have much more interaction with them daily. If it is a well-managed community, these interactions can be rather pleasant and enjoyable. You are likely to become close to many of your neighbors. The downside is that you will have less privacy than you may desire because there's no distance between you and your neighbors. 

In a home, you will have much more distance and privacy within your neighborhood. You won't be bothered when your neighbor burns dinner or listens to the television a little too loud. And, you will make friends with many of your neighbors, but you are likely to see them less often. 

It depends on the market, but in an urban area, a condo's cost can be considerably less than a home. In a suburban area near a large city, the cost can be nearly identical. 

Value for Your Money

Over time, condos tend to appreciate slower than homes. However, this depends largely on conditions and factors that are out of your control. Things that can influence the value of both homes and condos include:

  • Construction of nearby amenities such as community pools, schools, shopping centers, offices, etc.
  • Property maintenance
  • Crime rates
  • School quality

It's important to thoroughly research the area and examine trends that can tell you which direction the wind is blowing. Solid research is the key to choosing a condo or home that will provide the best long-term return on your investment.    

Our real estate agents can help you determine whether a condo or home is the best purchase for your lifestyle and financial future. We encourage you to contact us for more information about the trends we've noticed in the area.

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