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Written by
Jennifer Bradley Franklin
Written by
Jennifer Bradley Franklin
Contributing writer
Jennifer Bradley Franklin is a multi-platform journalist and author, frequently covering finance, genuine estate and more.

Jennifer Bradley Franklin
April 20, 2021/7 min read

Edited By
Suzanne De Vita
Edited by
Suzanne De Vita
Mortgage editor
Suzanne De Vita is the mortgage editor because that, concentrating on mortgage and also real heritage topics for homebuyers, homeowners, investors and renters.


Suzanne De Vita
April 20, 2021/7 min read
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For some residence hunters, the believed of maintaining a house and a yard conjures increase anxiety. Luckily, there are various kinds of properties to select from that don’t entail a the majority of upkeep — and come in ~ a reasonable price come boot. Among those alternatives is a condominium.

What is a condo? need to you to buy one? Here’s a primer on condo living to aid you decision if it’s right for her lifestyle.

What is a condominium?

A condominium, dubbed “condo” because that short, is a privately-owned separation, personal, instance unit in ~ a neighborhood of other units. Condo owners jointly very own shared usual areas, such together pools, garages, elevators and outside hallways and also gyms, to surname a few. When condos space usually uncovered in high-rise buildings, you can find detached condos in part markets.

“A homeowners association generally manages the usual areas and also oversees the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) that use to the property,” explains Holly Leonard, a genuine estate agent and owner the Haven actual Estate Brokers in Atlanta. “Condominiums are often referred to as a ‘common attention development.’”

Why buy a condo?

For many buyers, the answer come this concern is simplicity. With most condo developments, friend only have to take treatment of the interior. All the rest is taken on by a skilled management company. There’s no lawn come cut, flowerbeds to maintain or driveways come be cleared of snow.

Another vital piece is the price tag. Condos have actually historically been much more affordable than single-family homes, and that trend proceeds today. In fact, condos appreciated at a slower pace than that of single-family houses in 2020, follow to black color Knight data, and sold for roughly 17 percent less, representing a save of approximately $58,000, actual estate brokerage Redfin reports.

Condos are regularly cheaper in terms of taxes, too: A smaller space means a smaller sized bill indigenous the county.

There’s additionally a neighborhood life that single-family residences often don’t provide, including shared spaces and amenities, events and also more. It’s a lot easier to take off and pursue take trip or live seasonally in another area through the peace of mind of knowing that once you lock the door, everything will be taken treatment of.

Factors to consider prior to you to buy a condo

What is the difference in between an apartment and also a condo?

Structurally, condos and apartments can look the same, but the vital difference between a condo and an apartment is ownership: You own a condo, and you rental an apartment. (In some limited markets like new York City, however, you have the right to buy an apartment.)

Both kinds of dwellings typically have many floors and units on every with mutual amenities and also common areas, such together a gym, pool and also parking. In part communities, condo owners deserve to rent their systems to tenants, too.

What is the difference between a condo and a house?

If girlfriend live in a condo, it’s your home, but it’s no a house. That’s an essential distinction, particularly when it involves maintenance.

Consider if you own a detached single-family house and also the roof demands to be repaired. As a homeowner, that expense would fall entirely on her shoulders. If you own a condo, that cost would likely be split in between other owners in the community, and also a portion of the might additionally be paid because that via the make reservation of the master association.

Sharing expenses can be helpful, but it’s important to note that condo owners often must follow additional rules and community restrictions. For example, there might be aesthetic needs to adhere to, such as a mandate to install the exact same windows as every various other unit. Simply put, you might not have complete control end the decisions about your condo, whereas through a house, you’ll have much much more latitude.

Should i rent or very own a condo?

Your finances will certainly be the key deciding aspect that answers this question. Together with any type of home type, as soon as you buy a home, you’ll need a big sum of money because that a under payment, and also closing costs, says John Ameralis, a licensed actual estate broker with Compass in brand-new York City.

Renting a condo can likewise be a great opportunity come test the end a specific building or area of town before making a long-term ownership commitment.

individual to experience living in a condo to see if the ‘condo life’ is something they desire to invest in,” Leonard says.

Pros and cons of life in a condo

If you’re reasoning of to buy a condo, it’s essential to sweet the benefits and also challenges so her decision suits your lifestyle and also budget. Right here are some peak things come consider.


Lower-maintenance living: Since most, if no all, exterior maintain on condos is handled by the HOA, “condos are best for buyers who don’t want the higher maintenance (responsibility) the owning their own house, such as mowing their lawn, resolving a leaky roof, etc.,” Ameralis says.Sense that security: some condo areas have security staff, and also the gateways are more difficult to accessibility from the external than single-family houses or townhomes. “Many solitary people carry out not favor living alone, and also condo living provides them feeling safer,” Leonard says. Depending upon the building, you might have for sure entrances and parking, a doorman or concierge and other amenities that increase security and safety. This can additionally be a perk if you job-related odd hrs or take trip frequently.Opportunities to it is in social: some HOAs to organize social events like pool parties, barbecues and also doggy playdates. In addition, since you see your neighbors in passing, you’re more likely than no to meet them in person. “Condos room a an excellent place to meet people since you are close to her neighbors, and also this can administer a an excellent sense that community,” Leonard says.Amenities: relying on the condo community, you might have accessibility to top-notch amenities like a grilling area, organization center, pool, dog park, covered parking, clubhouse and more, and the expense of enjoying this perks is shared amongst all residents.


Investment risk: “Condos deserve to be a riskier investment because you room sharing ownership v other human being in the building,” Leonard says. “If one human forecloses or short-sells their condo, it have the right to take a toll fee on your value due to the fact that you’re in the same complex.”Lack that privacy: because condos share common areas like the lobby, hallways, out patios and amenities, a condo could not be for you if you worth your privacy, Ameralis says. The shared space also comes through noise issues. For example, if your upstairs ar wakes up early for work, those footsteps could drag you the end of bed, too. If girlfriend want more seclusion or you entertain frequently, for example, a townhouse might it is in a better option.Limited out space: Condos normally maximize real estate by structure up, i m sorry often way there is minimal outdoor or green space. “If you’re the kind of human being who needs to park work vehicles at home or requirements a lot of outdoor space for your work or pleasure, a condo may not be because that you,” Leonard explains.Restrictive rental policies: once you buy into a mutual building, girlfriend commit to adhering to the rules, which have the right to prohibit how numerous units deserve to be rented at any kind of given time. “Many condominiums don’t enable owners to rental their devices after castle purchase, so if you’re buying for an investment property make sure and check the rental regulations,” Leonard says.

Find other real estate types:

House typeWho it’s appropriate for:
ApartmentApartments space suited because that anyone spring to continue to be in a prime location for a cheaper price close to shopping, restaurant and entertainment centers, frequently at a more affordable price than purchase a condo or single-family home.
CondominiumCondos appeal to those searching for a lower-maintenance living, home with a feeling of security, methods to it is in social v neighbors, among other factors.
TownhouseTownhouses are a particularly good option or first-time homebuyers or other budget-minded house buyers that want more space than frequently afforded in a condo.
Modular homeModular homes are enticing to empty-nesters looking come downsize, couples looking for backyard units prefer tiny homes or families looking to upgrade your dated nature in nice however expensive neighborhoods.
Single-family homeSingle-family residences are ideal for family members who prefer a huge yard and plenty of room to spread out out. Others still favor a low-maintenance condo or townhome that has benefits choose landscaping, snow removal and exterior maintenance.
Multi-family homeMulti-family dwellings are best for those who space interested in getting into genuine estate investing and also are comfortable with the added responsibility and time commitment the comes with being a landlord.
Bungalow homeAt in between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet, bungalows are a good option for young family members looking because that a starter home or retirees hope to downsize in a residence without stairs, or solitary homeowners who desire the single-family house lifestyle without controlling a large property.
Co-opCo-ops are most often discovered in significant cities, and also they have the right to be an excellent for those looking for security or next-door neighbors who greatly adhere to the building’s rules and policies.
Patio homeTypically capped at one-and-a-half story and component of a bigger association, patio residences are best for homeowners that don’t want to attend to stairs or maintenance.

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Ranch homeRanch residences are right for anyone that prefers single-story living. Singles, couples and families with children can find something come love around a ranch home.