Is a Condo Right For You?
There are pros and cons to owning a condo instead of a single family home. They aren’t the right fit for everyone, but many homeowners have found their “happy medium” in condo ownership. Read on to learn about some of the advantages of condo living.
There’s a Style for Everyone
When many people think of a condo, they think of an “apartment style” unit in a large complex. This can be off-putting for people who don’t want a lot of neighbors, or worry about the noise associated in large multi-unit communities. Condos come in many different styles though. There are the traditional multi-unit buildings, similar to apartments, but there are also duplex, row house, and even free-standing condos available. Townhouse style condos can be situated as row houses, or “side by side” in a duplex style. Free standing condos are essentially single family homes that are part of an association. You get the benefits of an association, without sharing a wall with your neighbors. Don’t let the assumption that all condos are like living in an apartment cause you to overlook them as an option.
Maintenance Free Living – Sort Of
Many people are drawn to condos because of the lower maintenance associated with them. Whether you’re a retiree who’s sick of yard work, or a busy professional who doesn’t have time to cut the grass, condos allow you to skip exterior and lawn maintenance. Services like snow removal and lawn care/landscaping are provided to owners by the association. There is a cost associated with that convenience though. Condo associations will charge a monthly or annual condo fee to offset the costs of exterior and common area maintenance. There is also a limit to what the association will help with. They will take care of exterior maintenance, but you are still responsible for everything inside of your condo. If your furnace needs to be repaired, you will be responsible for that cost, just like you would with a single family home.
Some associations have common amenities that owners can take advantage of, like a pool, clubhouse, or on site fitness center. These “perks” can be a benefit for the right person, but they may result in higher condos fees since they cost the association more to maintain. If you’re the type of person who has memberships to the local pool and a gym, those costs could be offset by what you would save in not having to pay for those extra memberships each month.
There’s a Sense of Community
Some people like the idea of living in a community. If you’re a naturally social person, or you like the idea of having people around you, condo associations can provide that. Some people might feel safer knowing there are neighbors close by to check on them should they need anything. Others just enjoy seeing familiar faces on daily walks or while relaxing at the pool. On the flip side of that, you don’t get to pick your neighbors, and you could end up with someone you’d rather not share a wall with. Those risks go down a bit with a free-standing or duplex style condo, where there is only one (or no) shared walls.
Condos can be a great option for the right homeowner. If you are considering a condo for your next home, chat with your agent to identify your wants and needs. They will be able to help you identify associations in your area that would be a good fit for you.