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Buying a condo vs. buying a house: Which is right for you?

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When deciding between a condo and a single-family home, there are several factors that you need to take into consideration. Here are some of them.

Owning a condo

PRO

Location is one of the main advantages of living in a condo – most condo buildings are within walking distance of shops, restaurants, offices, and public transportation. For those who want to live, work, and play in urban areas, buying a condo would be the more convenient option.

Condos offer a host of amenities as well, from state-of-the-art fitness centers and jogging trails to green spaces and swimming pools.

Condos allow you to share maintenance expenses in the form of homeowners association (HOA) dues to minimize costs that go toward repairs and upkeep.

CON

Homeowners association fees can be steep, depending on the building. HOA fees are collected in addition to your monthly payments. These fees are computed for every square meter of living space and usually increase over the years.

You can’t expect to get a lot of privacy in condos, which are located in both urban and suburban areas. With so many neighbors living in close proximity, you’ll run into other residents when taking out the trash or walking to your car.

Condos offer limited space – there’s often less room than if you opted for a single-family home.

You can’t extend or undertake major renovations on your condo. Changes are not allowed since they will affect the structure of the entire building.

You have to comply with condo rules whether you agree with them or not. The decision-making process with regard to rules and regulations of the building will be shared among unit owners. One example is the building’s policy on pets – if the board forbids it, you can’t have one.

Owning a single-family home

PRO

In a single-family home, you have more control over the property – you are free to make renovations and home extensions as you please.

You get more indoor and outdoor space, which is ideal for entertaining friends and family, as well as caring for pets.

You also get more storage space in the form of attics, basements, and garages.

You’ll enjoy more privacy since your neighbors are farther way, compared to living in a condo.

CON

As a single-family home owner, you shoulder the responsibility of maintenance and repairs inside and outside the home, including the yard’s upkeep. You’ll have to invest in tools and equipment for home maintenance.

Improvements require a great deal of time, money, and energy if you wish to make changes that can increase the resale value of your home.

Utility bills are typically higher because single-family homes often have more space than condos.

Which one is for you?

When choosing between a condo and a single-family home, consider these factors:

  1. Quality of life – If you want to live in the thick of the action, condos located in urban areas or highly social suburban enclaves are for you. By the same token, you may prefer the comforts of a single-family home for the privacy, space, and freedom to make changes to the property as you wish. As for investment potential, condos are usually slower to appreciate than single-family homes. Condo owners are often advised to hold onto their units for about six years or so if they intend to resell it.
  2. Size of the household – When choosing between single-family homes or condos, decide how many bedrooms you’ll require, and whether or not private outdoor space is a must for your family.
  3. Major life changes – Factor in your long-term plans. Marriage, childbirth, and work relocation will affect your decision to buy a home or a condo, so try to anticipate these changes.

If you want to learn about the available condos and single-family homes in Minnesota’s Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area, contact me, Adam Fronda – I proudly represent homes in all price levels. Call 612.308.5008 or email adam(dotted)fonda(at)lakesmn(dotted)com.