Condominium or house: Which is right for you?

Be it in New York, Atlanta or Miami, the condominium market is thriving, with modern towers and low mortgage rates luring would-be home buyers with the possibility of building equity at rent-like prices.

Should you join the condo club or go for a more traditional home? Consider your lifestyle and weigh the pros and cons of each before deciding which to buy.

Condominiums

Pros

Cons

Easy upkeep: Do you lead a busy life? A condo can offer you a comfortable home free of yard-work and home-maintenance responsibilities. If you’re not a hands-on, do-it-yourselfer, having a maintenance crew take care of the upkeep is a definite plus. Condo fees: Most condominiums have monthly maintenance fees. The money goes toward the collective upkeep and development of the property. Combine these fees with monthly mortgage payments and you can sometimes end up paying more per month for a condo than a house of equal value.
Location: A condo provides the option of living right in the heart of the city. Many urban condos are also within easy walking distance of amenities such as grocery stores, dry cleaners, restaurants, cafes, shops and theaters. A home in the suburbs can mean jumping in the car to complete even the smallest of errands. Shared decision-making: How your condo fees are spent is the purview of the condominium board. You could find yourself subsidizing the salary of a concierge or the maintenance of a parking garage you don’t use. And what if you want to do some renovations? Yes, the condo board decides that, too.

 

Houses

Pros

Cons

Family friendly: With their own yards and generally more square-footage, houses tend to be more family friendly. A fenced-in backyard for children to play in can be a big benefit. Plus, a house allows the option of having pets that may not be permitted in a condo. Upkeep: When you own your own house, you’re responsible for all the maintenance. The bigger your property, the more time and money you can end up sinking into it. The upside is that money you put into home improvements will likely pay off in terms of a higher resale value.
Extra living space: Not only do kids need space, so do most grown-ups. If you’re a couple, you have to determine how much time you will be spending together at home and whether or not you need quiet, private rooms. The same is true if you work from home or have a hobby that requires dedicated space. Additional items: All the extra space a house provides can have a downside. You need to fill that space with additional furniture. You also need to buy extra items to maintain the garden. And you can expect to have higher heating and/or cooling costs with a bigger home.

 

Of course, regardless of whether you buy a house or a condo, it’s important to do your homework and consider the future of the neighborhood you’re buying into. The old axiom of “location, location, location” remains true for both. Each is a significant investment, and you need to find a safe and vibrant neighborhood capable of nurturing your investment into the future.

 

 

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