Thinking about moving on from renting a place, and finally making your first home purchase? Or maybe you want to downsize from a house to a Condo? Take a minute to read through this list of the good and the bad on buying a condo.
- Depending on the location, Condos are cheaper than buying a comparable house. Again, important to consider the location first, but in many cases if you were torn between buying a 3 bedroom home or condo, more often than not it will be more affordable to purchase the condo.
- Low Insurance Cost. Unlike single-family homes, an apartment comprises condo fees which cover all exterior shared amenities of the building, you will only need insurance coverage for the inside of your home, which will be significantly cheaper.
- Proximity to the city center, or entertainment and public transportations. The main reason why condos are more often looked for by young professionals is because of the proximity they have to the downtown area and/or business district. Meaning you will be within walking distance of restaurants, cafes, major attractions, and most importantly, public transportation.
- Nice Amenities. You do not need to find a luxurious residential building to enjoy top-notch amenities. In many condos you will more often find, gym, concierge service, rooftop, pool, tennis court, etc. Remember, the more amenities the higher the condo fee.
- Move-In Ready. Depending on your needs you might be able to find fully furnished apartments. However if this does not interest you, one thing for sure is that, unlike single-family homes, apartment units include all appliances, such as refrigerators, ovens, and laundry rooms.
- HOA or Condo Fees. As mentioned, the more amenities the building offers the higher the condo fees will be. In some areas of DC, depending on the luxury of a condo, such fees could go as high as $2,000 per month and remember, that is on top of your mortgage payments. Whereas, for a single-family home, depending on the common entertainment areas and other seasonal expenses, the HOA could be as low as $50 a month.
- Lack of Privacy. Condo walls are shared, and unless you live in a penthouse you will have neighbors above and below you which for some could be uncomfortable, given you might find loud neighbors having a party or if the walls are thin you might even hear the TV. For those used to living in an apartment this could be something you are used to but for those downsizing from a single-family home, this could be hard to deal with.
- No outdoor space. In a condo unit you only have ownership of the inside of the apartment, and for some, not having a private outdoor space might be a big disadvantage, especially if you have a pet.
- Pet restrictions. In many building complexes there are strict rules that prohibit having pets depending on their breed or weight, that is if pets are even allowed. Also, when pets are welcome you will have to account for either extra monthly payments or large deposits, sometimes even both.
- Limited parking. Having private parking is a big issue with condos, some might include one assigned parking space, but others might not have space or would include another cost. This could be a big issue for residents having more than one vehicle.
At the end of the day, it comes to personal preference. Depending on the stage you are in your life, you might want to become a first-time homeowner with a condo, and maybe once it is time to upgrade into a Single-Family, depending on your financial availability, you could keep the condo and lease it, so that you can have another set of income and count with an extra asset. If you are indecisive, make your consult with a real estate agent, let them know a little about your everyday life and expectations for the future so that they can recommend the type of property that could adjust more to your needs.