If you’re looking for a new place to live, you’ll have a variety of options to choose from. And if you’re not sure what you want, you’ll be looking at almost everything – from Arizona condos for sale to houses for sale in coastal Maine.
Condos are becoming increasingly popular with some demographics, but why is this the case? What are the advantages that condos offer over traditional homes? And is it worth getting a condo instead of a house?
What Is a Condo?
Let’s start with a basic definition. “Condo” is short for “condominium,” and it refers to a small housing space in a shared building or complex. Conceptually, it’s easy to think about a condo as an apartment that you personally own. You’ll pay for and control the property mostly the same way you would a house, but you’ll be part of a larger shared space – and you’ll typically have access to many amenities nearby as well.
Why Condos Are So Attractive
What makes a condo superior to a traditional house?
- Lower costs. The most commonly cited advantage of condos is their relatively low cost. Compared to houses in a given area, condos tend to be much more affordable. If you struggle with minimal income, but you want to own your living space, a condo could be the perfect option. It’s also a common choice for young people just starting their careers and older people on a fixed income for this reason.
- Smaller spaces. In the real estate world, many people mistakenly believe that bigger is always better. Some segments of the population actually prefer living in a smaller space. They might feel comforted and cozier in a confined space, as opposed to feeling agoraphobic in a bigger, open house. They may also struggle with mobility issues, finding it easier to navigate a space with less square footage.
- Less maintenance. Most people don’t like the physical labor and stress associated with routine home maintenance. In a traditional house, you’ll be responsible for maintaining the yard, cleaning the exterior, and other responsibilities. You’ll still be responsible for some aspects of your condo, but you’ll face significantly less maintenance – and therefore less work – living in it. This is another reason why condos are so popular among retirees.
- Amenities and services. Condos often come with an assortment of amenities and optional services as well. These could include a pool, a gym, a parking garage, extra storage space, a doorman, and other outdoor and indoor facilities. These will vary from area to area, but they’re almost always an added benefit.
- Community benefits. Your condo will be part of a larger building, next to several other condos. Other residents will share the amenities of the area as well. That means you’ll have lots of opportunities to meet people, socialize, and enjoy new friendships. If you’re new to an area, it’s a great way to get acquainted with people.
Is a Traditional House Better?
Of course, for some people, a traditional house is better. Houses tend to have several advantages over condos, such as:
- Size and space. For some people, a small property that doesn’t need much ongoing care is appealing. For others, the space is restrictive. If you want ample space for your family to move around in, or you’re interested in a big yard where you can garden, play with dogs, or relax outside, a traditional house may be the better choice.
- More privacy. Sharing a wall with another condo owner isn’t always pleasant. And if you’re living in a community with other condo owners, you’ll be interacting on a frequent basis. Some people prefer traditional houses over condos just so they can have more privacy.
- No HOA rules (or fewer, less restrictive rules). HOA rules and regulations range from being hardly noticeable to outright oppressive. If you buy your own house, you may not have to deal with an HOA at all. Some homes are included as part of an HOA, but the rules for houses tend to be freer and less restrictive than HOAs associated with condos.
- More control and autonomy. Overall, having your own house does give you more direct control and more autonomy. If you want to add a wing to your house, you can. If you want to completely change the exterior or redo the lawn, you can. In a condo, you may not have that flexibility.
If you’re looking for a small, easily manageable space, and you’re not worried about privacy or HOA fees, a condo could be the perfect choice for your living needs. Otherwise, consider including both condos and houses in the search for your next home – and weigh the pros and cons of each possible purchase carefully.