If you are looking for a new home, buying a condo may be something you are considering. A condominium, commonly known as a condo, is a private residence within a multiple unit property. You manage your individual unit privately. While you share responsibility for common space and amenities.
If you’re aiming for homeownership, a condo may be a relatively cheaper and convenient option. You probably are questioning if buying a condo is a good idea. As with most things in life, the purchase of a condo has its plusses and minuses. In order for you to make the best decision in your house hunt, you need to take all factors into consideration.
Among the biggest benefits of condo-life is that you have other people do the maintenance for you. Well-managed HOAs (Home Owner Associations) do most of the heavy lifting work. Examples include repairs, garbage removal, sewage issues, lawn services as well as insurance for your shared outside space. All issues related to amenities are taken care of by the board. So if you are busy with work, traveling, unwell, aged, or an inexperienced first-time homeowner, condo life can be an asset.
Many condos offer gated entries, 24-hour security guards as well as a sophisticated security system installed. This provides residents an added level of home safety. If you live by yourself or security is a concern for you, this can be reassuring. It reduces the risk of break-ins to a large extent. Besides, living in close proximity with other people builds a strong sense of community. You have plenty of people to turn to in case of an emergency or other kinds of help.
One of the greatest perks of living in a condo is access to amenities. The condo communities offer cutting edge facilities of all kinds. Some of these include a large pool, tennis court, gym, spa, club and shopping centers, etc. Some complexes even employ services like housekeeping. Availing these facilities gives you opportunities for interaction, allowing you to get to know your neighborhood better. If you live alone or enjoy socializing, this is a great advantage.
Condos are often priced lower than houses. You have to pay less money upfront and also a smaller monthly mortgage than you would for a housing mortgage. So if you wish to dive into homeownership, but are on a tight budget, condos would be a suitable option. You can save money as the cost of maintenance and amenities is shared. You’re only solely responsible for the interior of your home.
Most of the newly developed condos are located close to downtown areas, which make them appealing for many reasons. It’s easier to walk, commute by bike or even take public transport to get to your job or other places. Residing close to your workplace is always an advantage as you get to save time, fuel as well as car maintenance costs, etc. Living near a thriving downtown also enables you to have quick and better access to the latest happenings, be it a new restaurant, shopping mall, or even a live show.
Purchasing a condo may be a cheaper option in the beginning, but you also need to factor in the HOA fees that you’ll be paying on a monthly basis. Management of amenities obviously costs money. The maintenance charges can be quite high when condos include fitness centers, pools, and security systems. The HOA fees vary depending on the location, amenities, and size of your community. Research however suggests that these fees have been on the rise around the country (even in areas where median home values have decreased). This hike is not surprising due to inflation. Costs in almost all sectors go up naturally.
One of the drawbacks of living in a condo community is that you have to abide by the laws and regulations set by the association. The rules can be restrictive, setting limits on almost anything ranging from how many pets you can keep, whether you can rent out your unit, and even what kind of items can be stored on your patio. Also, you may require permission for any decorations or renovations you want.
Another downside of condo living is a lack of privacy. Structurally. condos are usually made up of apartment blocks with individual units closely next to each other. So you may even get to hear arguments and celebrations of your neighbors. The situation can be particularly irritating if you have a nosy neighbor. Besides, you have to share basic things such as your mailbox, storage facilities, and garbage disposal. If you’re someone who likes their peace and quiet, condo living may not be a good idea.
Every HOA has two types of accounts, specifically an operating account, and a reserve account. The funds in the operating account are used for maintenance, while those in the reserve account are used for long-term projects or emergency situations. Poor management of these funds due to bad decisions by the board can lead to disastrous situations, compelling you to pay extra to finish off projects and repairs. This can at times cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
In some real estate markets, condominiums have been overbuilt and are being sold at a loss. While in other places, they have retained their value despite HOA related problems and economic downturns. Places where single-home family homes are too expensive, condominiums are a growing trend. New condo developments with better systems and cutting edge facilities are being built to attract new buyers. This means that a condominium you might have thought to be posh at the time of purchase may go down in value. As condo prices are more likely to fluctuate over time, it makes it harder to capitalize on your investment. Lastly, it can also be difficult to obtain a mortgage for a condo because some lenders view these projects as a risky investment.
Buying a condo may be the right choice for you. Now you can consider the positives and the drawbacks of condo-living. The answer totally depends on your lifestyle choices, preferences, and expectations.