Condo Living: Is Buying a Condo Right For You?
The decision to buy a condo can be a tough one. When is it time to buy? Which is better for you: a house or a condo? Are condos a good investment? For many homeowners, these answers are not always clear. Having information about the pros and cons of buying a condo and how condo ownership compares to single family homeownership can help buyers decide if buying a condo is worth it.
Condo Ownership vs. Homeownership
A condo is a single unit in a building or community of condos. Typically, condos resemble apartments, but sometimes condos look like townhouses or even individual houses. Condo ownership differs from homeownership in many ways. To begin with, when a person owns their own house, they own the land and the house and are responsible for the upkeep of both.
A person who owns a condo only owns the space inside the condo. The land or space surrounding the condo belongs to the condo association. The condo association is responsible for maintaining the grounds and the common areas.
Condo ownership is usually different from homeownership in other ways, as well. Condos are usually smaller and more energy efficient than homes. Condos come with common space shared by all residents, like a place for the mailboxes and outdoor space for having fun. Condo owners also have to pay a monthly fee to the HOA (homeowners association) for the maintenance of the property and other associated fees. Homeowners typically do not have HOA fees.
Benefits of Buying a Condo
There are many benefits of condo living! Condos are a good choice for people who are interested in homeownership but who can't maintain a yard. Some of the benefits of condo living include:
- Community living. Many appreciate having close neighbours who they see every day.
- Easy maintenance. Maintaining a condo tends to be less expensive because it only includes the parts of the condo that fall inside the walls.
- Lower purchase price. Buying a condo is often less expensive than buying houses nearby.
- Efficient. Condos tend to use less energy because they're usually smaller than homes.
Disadvantages of Buying a Condo
There can be drawbacks of condo living, as well. Not everyone is suited for condo living. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Less green space. Often condos are urban buildings with less green space than homes.
- Less privacy. People who live in condos usually live very close to their neighbors and may feel less privacy as a result.
- HOA fees. Condos come with homeowners association fees, which the condo owner must pay for the duration of the time in the condo.
- Less independence. A condo owner cannot pick on their own when it is time to make major improvements to the building; this is decided by the HOA.
Homeowners Associations and Amenities
One of the bigger draws to condos is the variety of amenities that come with them, but with access to amenities, there also comes the HOA. While single-family homes may sometimes be part of an HOA, condominiums will almost always be part of one, which will require regular fees. On average, these fees will cost about $200-400 per month, but it will vary for every location. HOA fees serve to keep the neighbourhood and the condos in peak condition, and it also allows for community swimming pools, tennis courts, walking trails, and other similar amenities as well. It’s less common for single-family home neighbourhoods to have these sorts of amenities, so people who like having access to amenities like these within walking distance may lean toward buying a condo.
When Is It Time to Buy a Condo?
For many people, the time is right to buy a condo when they have enough cash reserves to make a down payment and they also have a steady income to pay for HOA fees and home maintenance. For career-driven people who don't want the maintenance of a house, condos are an excellent choice.
For people who simply don't have the energy or physical ability to take care of a larger property, owning a condo can be very beneficial. For those who need yard space, who don't want close neighbours or who value their privacy, a home may be a better fit. This is an important consideration to make before moving into one or the other.
To find out more about whether or not an Evergreen condo is right for you, talk to your real estate professional. He or she can help you pick what's right for your needs.