Buying a home? Take the time to go through this article and find out exactly which type of home is best for you!
Buying a home is one of the biggest occasions in one’s life and absolutely NO ONE wants to end up regretting the mistake of buying a ‘wrong type of home.’
If you’re a first-time homebuyer you may have a gazillion of thoughts in your head about which type of home to buy… Right?
Well, not to worry, that’s normal.
It’s a lot of money on the line, so there must be some natural anxiety and confusion…
And if you make your next move without addressing your confusion first, you’ll be very prone to making a wrong decision – which you’ll regret forever.
So, relax and go through the comprehensive comparison of owning a house vs. a condo laid out for you below.
Once you’ve figured out all of the angles, you’ll undoubtedly choose the one that’s best for you!
Without further ado, let’s begin…
House vs. Condo: What’s the Difference?
First, let’s talk about a house…
Obviously, we all know what a house is, but in legal terms, a house (or a single-family home) also includes the lot on which it stands, and everything else that’s on it.
That includes the entire structure itself, the garage (if any), and the backyard or garden.
Everything within the boundaries of the lot is your house.
Now, what’s a condo?
A condo (short for condominium) is NOT the land on which it’s built.
Condos are the small living units in a large multi-unit housing complex…
Owning a condo means you only own the unit and neither the building nor the lot on which the structure is erected.
It also means that your life is partly governed by the HOA (Homeowner’s Association) that takes care of upkeep and managing the building as a whole and its shared spaces.
With a house, you make the rules, but you are also the only one responsible for all the repairs and upkeep of your space.
And those are the big differences. Got it?
Both houses and condos are individually owned properties and once you buy them you’re the sole owner – but that’s about the only similarity between condos and houses.
Otherwise, they’re poles apart!
Price Comparison: House vs. Condo
Houses are expensive, right? But condos aren’t cheap either…
So how much do you need to spend on one or the other?
Well, it all depends on where you live of course; your location plays a huge role in determining house and condo prices!
But let’s not complicate things further for now…
What matters is the fact that houses are more expensive than condos.
So, if you’re looking to spend less money on a property, you should probably go with a condo instead of buying a house.
But there’s always the issue of maintenance cost… which brings us to the next section…
House vs. Condo: What’s the Maintenance?
When buying a condo you need to consider 2 types of maintenance fees: HOA and monthly common charges (utility bills).
Yes, it’s true that both condos and houses have their own share of repairs and expenses too…
But when we’re talking about condos we’re also considering the costs that you’ll need to pay to maintain and manage the shared spaces – including halls, lobbies, elevators, and recreational facilities (if your building has them).
Yes, you ONLY have to pay for the living space when buying a condo, but you’ll still need to cover all the expenses required to keep the building and shared spaces in good condition.
So before you buy, check the HOA fees and maintenance costs that you’ll be expected to pay.
Sometimes, these can completely change your monthly payment calculation and make condos more expensive than houses in rare cases.
On the other hand, houses come with a high initial purchase price but after that, they’re pretty much free of any significant maintenance cost (if you don’t count property taxes).
If you want to pay extra for new paint, for landscaping, for a pool, etc your costs will increase, but it’s entirely up to you!
So both condos and houses can be cheap or expensive when it comes to maintenance fees, it’s all up to what kind of special amenities you want!
Location Comparison: House vs. Condo
It’s a no-brainer fact that houses have greater appreciation and resale value than condos.
That’s because land and location is a major factor when it comes to determining the value of a house…
In other words, if you buy a house in a prime zip code you can always sell it later at a higher price because the land itself is worth a lot.
This doesn’t apply to condos to the same degree. Of course, the zip code of a condo is important too…
But it’s not as crucial as with houses since condo owners don’t own the land their home is built on.
Relative to house owners, condo owners are much more likely to consider proximity to public transportation, sports facilities, shopping centers, and fun activities.
So this determines the value of a condo a lot more than the zip code does.
Conclusion: The Pros and Cons of House vs. Condo
Now that you have all the facts in front of you, which do you think is best for YOU?
Let’s do a final summary of the pros and cons to help you make up your mind!
Although the comparison of the pros and cons of the two property types is bound to be EXTREMELY lengthy (since there are so many twists and turns to look at)…
… we’re going to keep it short and simple for you!
Pros and Cons – Condominiums
Condos are much cheaper compared to houses because they are smaller in square footage with fewer taxes and utility costs required.
Also, condos fit the bill for those who love socializing because being a multi-unit building with shared public spaces offer you a great opportunity to socialize and make friends…
Lots of condos are placed in ideal locations close to the center of town or have luxury facilities like pools, parks, security, etc. which makes them an ideal home for many.
They also require less time and effort on behalf of the owner, since the HOA manages all the upkeep and repairs for the building.
Over with the upsides, here are some downsides:
The costs of HOA are going to be high since you’ve got plenty of facilities at hand.
Plus your privacy is likely going to be compromised with people living next to, under, over, and across from your condo.
Also, living in a community means there are extra rules to follow like no noise after 11 PM, no guests in shared spaces, a ban on certain renovations… and on and on…
Single-family Homes – Pros and Cons
If you hate all this HOA nonsense, you’re going to love being a house owner.
The biggest advantage of a single-family free-standing home is it’s all yours from the land, to the garage, to the facilities, and you fully own your property.
You can make any changes you want to the property, inside or outside without asking anyone’s permission.
*Some neighborhoods might still require you to apply for permission from the HOA for external renovation, so be aware of that!
Houses also allow you amazing privacy where you can even let your dog free in the backyard, and any trespasser getting bitten won’t be your headache (in most cases).
So basically, a single-family home is ideal for you if you prefer not to be bothered by people and want to enjoy full control over your home and independent, private life.
Don’t forget also, that houses in a good zip code will appreciate faster than condos, so you will be making a lot of money while living in your house!
But there are some downsides…
It’s very costly to own and maintain a house of your own, particularly in a metropolis like NYC.
And although the rates in the countryside are lower, you may not want to live there for several personal reasons, like the job or family!
It’s also possible that you might not enjoy being solely responsible for any repairs to the property – unlike the condos where the HOA takes care of maintenance!
At the End of the Day… You’re the Best Judge!
It’s very important to keep in mind that buying property is an extremely personal choice, and it comes down to what you value most.
You should take into account your budget, what kind of lifestyle you want (social or private), your general needs like proximity to the city, transport…etc.
But once you take those factors into account and feel ready to start looking for the house or condo of your dreams…
Take a look at the hundreds of properties listed on AQRE Home!
We make it fun to flip through Properties, and easy to shoot the owner a message if something catches your eye.
Take a look at our Recent Listings to get started today!