The Inspector

By NPI, Inc.



The Pros and Con(do)s of Buying A Condo

 February 6, 2023 |  Home Maintenance, Home Inspection, Home Decor |  home exterior, first-time homeowner, real estate, painting, home security, pool, landscaping, lawn care

As people progress in their lives, chances are that they will experience a desire for increased ownership and investment in their living space. For many, this might mean a transition from an apartment to a traditional single-family home.

Certainly, a traditional home has many potential draws for a first-time homeowner, but depending on priorities and interests, it would be a mistake not to consider a condominium. Condos are often regarded as a less expensive, more obtainable first home for young people. If you are in the market for home ownership, it would be valuable to review the pros and cons of buying a condo. But first, it’s important to develop a general understanding of how a condominium differs from an apartment or a traditional home.

What Is A Condominium?
A condominium is a residential complex consisting of separate units, each owned by their respective resident. Often abbreviated as simply “condos,” these units resemble apartments in some ways, often sharing walls with other units. Sometimes they are even located in highrise buildings, with units above or below one another.

Condo owners are responsible for the upkeep of their units’ interiors, while they must join their condo’s association to collectively care for the building’s exterior and shared spaces. In short, a condominium could be viewed as a sort of intermediate living space between an apartment and a traditional home. While a condo may appear more similar to an apartment, its residents have much more ownership over the property in comparison.

Whether a condo or a traditional home is the best choice for a new homeowner is entirely up to their specific situation and preferences. Consider these aspects before purchasing your next home.

The Pros of Buying A Condo
Many would be quick to point out that condos are (on the whole) much more affordable than traditional homes. While this is certainly the case in general, homebuyers should make sure they take the full picture of costs into consideration before making their decision (more on that later).

An additional benefit to condo owners is their overall freedom from routine maintenance. Traditional homeowners are required to shovel, to take care of their lawns, and to paint the façade of their homes, but a condo association collectively hires out for these regular necessities.

Finally, condo owners have the benefit of shared spaces within condo communities, which often consist of various enticing amenities. Things like pools, basketball courts, gyms, and other recreational areas are common in condo communities and may be enough of a draw for people interested in these sorts of shared spaces. These amenities and the common trait of condos being located in downtown, urban areas might mean an extra appeal for those looking for a stronger sense of community as well.

Still, while there are many positive traits inherent in condominiums, there are a few drawbacks for homebuyers to consider.

The Cons of Buying A Condo
From a pure investing perspective, condominiums have proven to appreciate at a slower rate than traditional homes. In addition, condos have a reputation of being difficult to sell or flip in comparison to single-family homes. To bolster resale options, condominium owners need to rely on location and other aspects to better differentiate their units from others.

Additionally, while condos are often cheaper than traditional homes, sometimes they are not. As a condominium owner, each resident must join their condo’s association and pay monthly dues that work towards regular maintenance. These fees can range from $100 to $1,000 in many cases, often adding up to a higher overall cost than a single-family mortgage.

If considering a condo, a home buyer should always look into their association’s books, available to any inquirer interested in a purchase. Healthy associations should carry a surplus for sudden larger maintenance needs like roof repairs. Poorly run associations can result in sudden, unexpected bills divided out between members, or even larger monthly dues when others aren’t pulling their weight.

Lastly, while condos may offer a greater sense of community, this may well be a negative aspect for some. Shared walls means less privacy, and strict association guidelines (covenants, conditions, restrictions, and easements or CC&Rs) mean less freedom.

Condos aren’t for everyone, but they do allow for certain perks. It is best to be informed of all considerations to make the best choice.

A routine home maintenance inspection can lead to significant savings as you avoid major damages down the road. Schedule your next home maintenance inspection with National Property Inspections today!

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