When it comes time to purchase property, you may find yourself asking: “Should I buy a house or condo?” Ultimately, the choice is yours – some families do better in a condo, while others prefer to own a home. Let’s look at the unique pros and cons you need to know before deciding.
What can I afford to buy?
Before buying any property, it’s essential to look at your budget so you know what you can reasonably afford. While some mortgages come with cheaper monthly payments than renting, different properties come with different expenses. And just because you prefer buying a house doesn’t mean it’s the best option financially.
Costs to consider buying a condo vs a house
Before you buy a property of any description, it’s wise to see which expenses you can expect to pay.
“Should I buy a house right now?” was a common question in the craziness of the post-2020 housing market. But the costs of owning a home can be prohibitive even in calm markets.
To start, houses tend to have more square footage than a condo, not to mention land and even second buildings. (Such as a detached garage or shed.) As such, you’re likely to pay more in upkeep, renovations, and property taxes. Not to mention, homeowner’s insurance is often more expensive than condo insurance.
Generally, condos tend to cost less than a house because you’re getting fewer square feet. Additionally, condo insurance may be cheaper than homeowner’s insurance.
Most condos also have HOAs that cover maintenance, landscaping, and even pool costs, spreading these expenses among several units. That said, the more amenities you have, the higher your HOA dues will be.
Pros and cons of buying a house
For our purposes, we’re defining a house as a free-standing building that doesn’t share walls with another residence. Many also come with small yards and even a driveway. Here’s what to know about the pros and cons of owning a home.
When you buy a home, you tend to have more choices all around, including the following:
- The house you buy
- The location
- Your decoration choices
Plus, when you buy a home, you can own all the parrots you want.
Buying a home means accepting the responsibility of maintaining your home. That means mowing your own grass, cleaning your own gutters, and fixing your own roof.
Houses tend to cost more than condos, which translates into a larger monthly mortgage payment. But the expenses don’t end there. You’re likely to spend more in taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and maintenance.
Since houses don’t usually share walls with other buildings, you don’t have to worry about kids jumping on the furniture or hearing your neighbors watch TV at 3am. Plus, many homes come with backyards, meaning you can enjoy the outdoors without sharing public spaces.
Room to grow
Generally, houses come with more room to grow as a family. And because you don’t have to contend with an HOA or the structural integrity of a big building, you can knock down walls, make additions, and even build a guesthouse.
Pros and cons of buying a condo
Essentially, condos are apartments that you own, which means they come with less privacy than a house. But buying a condo isn’t without its perks. If you’ve found yourself asking, “Should I buy a condo?” here’s a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of doing so.
Due to the size of most condos, as well as the presence of an HOA, you generally have less to care for. That includes exterior maintenance, certain problems like plumbing or a leaky roof, and even HVAC and electrical concerns.
Access to amenities
Unless your home is located in a gated community, chances are, you don’t have a community pool, gym, or golf course to enjoy. By contrast, condos often come with these amenities and more. Just remember that the more amenities you have, the higher your HOA fees will be.
Potentially cheaper insurance
Condo insurance is typically cheaper than homeowner’s insurance because you’re only insuring your possessions, not the property itself. However, this depends on the HOA’s insurance policy, so it’s wise to know which policies cover what incidentals.
Rules and regulations
Condo HOAs can either make life easier or more difficult, depending on your lifestyle versus the community rules. Some are as nitpicky as limiting the color of your curtains or when you can access the outdoor common areas. Others are more hands-off but may still enforce rules about pet ownership or quiet hours.
Buying a condo is often easier than selling one, especially if the HOA has a bad reputation. Plus, since condos in a community tend to be fairly uniform, it doesn’t matter which unit a buyer snaps up, meaning your neighbor’s unit will be as good as yours.
Should I buy a house or condo?
Ultimately, only you know if buying a house or a condo will suit your family better. Some people love the neighborliness, amenities, and lack of responsibilities of condo living. Others prefer an actual house for the space, privacy, and freedom.
Buying a condo or house: which one is better?
If you’re excited to live in a community or need cheaper housing, a condo may fit the bill. But if you need more space, privacy, or freedom, you may do better in a house.
Should a single person buy a house or condo?
Condos can be more affordable than houses, making them easier to buy on one income. Plus, they’re smaller, which may suit someone who needs less space.
Which appreciates more: a house or a condo?
Single-family homes tend to see greater demand and they can be more readily upgraded. As such, they tend to appreciate faster than condos (but not always, depending on the market).