Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or you’re looking to downsize or change your lifestyle, you might be considering buying a condominium rather than a single-family house. There are benefits and drawbacks to both purchases, but buying any type of property is a worthwhile financial investment. Here are a few considerations that might help you determine whether you should purchase a house or a condo:
- Location. In urban markets, buying a condo can often make the most sense, since single-family properties might not be readily available. In other, most suburban markets, single-family dwellings may be abundant and a better fit for the demographic.
- Lifestyle. Are you looking to downsize? Are you just starting out, with no kids on the horizon for a few years? Or perhaps you’re a professional with a busy life that doesn’t allow for a lot of home maintenance. Any of these reasons could drive a decision to purchase a condo, where association fees could cover every aspect of maintaining your home, from landscaping to plumbing to appliance repair.
- Associated Costs. If you are planning to buy a condo, it’s important to take into consideration that one you’ve made your down payment, you will not only need to make monthly mortgage payments, but you will also need to pay association fees to support maintenance and facilities. It’s important to look at the entire financial aspect upfront.
- Features. Condos often come with features that you might not find in a single-family house – such as swimming pools, tennis courts, clubhouses, exercise equipment, and other shared facilities. On the other hand, if privacy is a high priority for you, you might prefer living in a detached property.
- Autonomy. Condos sometimes carry restrictions in terms of remodeling and decorating both the interior and exterior of individual units. Before purchasing a condo, you’ll want to carefully evaluate the conditions that apply to the building that you will be living in and make sure you are comfortable with all of the association’s rules and regulations.
- The Neighbors. If you buy a single-family home, you’ll have some space between yourself and your neighbors. In a condominium complex, neighbors will be much closer – perhaps even sharing walls with you. You’ll want to do your research about what sort of people will be living alongside you. Compatible neighbors could be a huge advantage.
- The Market. Another aspect of your home purchase to consider is the state of the housing market in the area where you are planning to buy. Your real estate agent and lender can both help you determine whether sales on condos or single-family properties are a more lucrative investment. Looking at the history of appreciation (or depreciation) values in your market can help you determine which long-term investment will be more profitable down the road when you decide to sell.
The bottom line? If you’re considering investing in either a house or a condo, you should have a conversation with a qualified loan officer to determine which choice is best for your needs. He or she can have you on the path to home ownership in no time.