The housing market is hotter than ever right now, so if you have the ability to get in on it, you might be questioning whether or not to buy. If you do decide to act, what should you buy?
While ownership of a standalone house used to be everyone’s goal, things have changed over the year years. The rising cost of housing and the desire to live near cities has caused some people to consider alternative options, like condos.
But when it comes to condos vs houses, what’s the difference? Which should you buy and why?
Keep reading to learn all about condos and houses so you can make an informed decision about your future real estate purchase.
The Differences Between Condos vs Houses
So, what’s the difference between condos vs houses, anyway?
A house is a freestanding standalone building with four walls (or more) and no adjoining buildings. If it has adjoining buildings that share walls, it’s a townhouse.
Houses are single-family homes, meaning that they’re intended for single households. Houses are always on a plot of land and (unless otherwise stated) the homeowner also owns the plot of land.
The exception to this is when the home is a manufactured or mobile home. Sometimes these homes are on rented land.
Homeowners also own everything else that’s on their plot of land. If there’s a shed, barn, garage, guest house, or anything else, the person who owns the house also owns these things.
Condos are units within apartment buildings that may be occupied by the condo owner or rented out to a tenant. Most condos are smaller than most houses.
Condos share walls with other units in most cases (unless they are on their own floor).
While condos are apartments, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be permanent homes. People who live in densely-populated urban areas often live in condos because standalone houses are unavailable.
Pros of Owning a Condo
So, why would you own a condo instead of owning a house?
Well, as we mentioned, sometimes you don’t have a choice. If standalone houses aren’t available, condos are the best way to own property and get a foothold in the housing market.
Condos are also great for first-time homeowners who are trying to build equity and are tired of renting. Because condos are usually much more affordable than standalone houses, new homeowners are able to enter the market.
While there are extra fees associated with owning a condo (more on that later), you will also pay less on homeowner’s insurance because you’re only responsible for the interior of your home.
When you own a condo, you’re not responsible for maintaining the land that it sits on or any common areas within the building. There will be someone else available to take care of these things. If you’re unsure of what you’re responsible for, put that on your list of questions to ask before you buy.
If you’re someone who enjoys knowing their neighbors, condo life might be great for you. You’ll have a built-in community of other people within your building.
Cons of Owning a Condo
Despite the benefits of owning a condo, there are also downsides.
Condos include home owner association (HOA) fees. These fees can be quite high if the building has plenty of amenities, such as a doorman, a gym, or a pool. A condo is still likely to be less expensive than a standalone house, but you need to factor these fees in when you’re buying.
You’re also limited by what the HOA allows. They may place restrictions on what you can and can not do with your condo. Some condos don’t allow certain paint colors, door adornments, or even curtains.
You have far less privacy in a condo than you would in a standalone house. Because you’re sharing walls, ceilings, and floors, you’re going to experience outside noise from time to time.
Condos have lower resale values than standalone homes. However, because you also purchased the condo at a lower cost, this isn’t a huge issue.
Pros of Owning a House
When you own a house, you own everything on the property. You can arrange your yard how you like it, add other buildings onto the property, and basically do anything that you like.
This means that you’re also able to alter your home’s exterior and give your house a new paint job.
Houses have far better resale value than condos, especially if you upgrade them. You can add things like a pool or solar panels to increase your own quality of life and the future resale value of your home.
Houses are larger, so if you have (or want) a large family or a pet that needs a lot of space, a house is a clear choice.
One of the top benefits of owning a home is that houses offer far more privacy than condos. You never have to worry about hearing someone else who isn’t a part of your household through your walls.
Cons of Owning a House
While most homeowners have flexibility when it comes to their house’s exterior, there are some exceptions. If you live in a community with an HOA, you may face some of the same limitations as people who own condos. Because you spent more on your house, this might be frustrating.
Houses are always going to be more expensive than “equivalent” condos. You’ll pay more for repairs, homeowner’s insurance, and taxes.
You’re responsible for taking care of your land. If there are weeds, leaves, or other messes outdoors, there’s no one else to handle them.
Will You Buy a Condo or a House?
When it comes to condos vs houses, they’re both great options. Are houses better than condos? Are condos better than houses? At the end of the day, it all comes down to your priorities.
You can have a great life in a condo just like you can have a great life in a house. The choice is yours.
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