Buying a home vs. Buying a condo

It was ancient Roman philosopher Cicero who purportedly said, “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need”. But what else is on your wish list? We’ve compiled the key factors to consider when choosing between a traditional home and a condominium.

Buying a home vs. Buying a condo1. House ownership vs homeowners association

A condo is usually a hybrid of a house and an apartment, so it’s more likely to be located in a shared building. While rights of ownership are conferred when buying a house or a condo, the main difference is that the occupant of the former will be responsible for the property’s upkeep whereas the apartment dwellers will pay fees to the condominium association for maintenance. Not having to fret about roof repairs, paint retouches, gardening and capital improvements is, of course, a bonus for condo owners. The system works effectively as long as its contributors are up to date with their dues and the association is well managed.

2. Take costs into account

The price of a condo is typically less than a larger home, but the association fees should be factored in. Some condominium communities are luxurious and come with gated security, well-equipped gyms and swimming pools – amenities that are reflected by the expected payment. An unanticipated expense – known as an ‘assessment’ – could also be levied if an emergency or issue not covered in the annual budget arises. However, a traditional house is just as liable to suffer from an unprecedented maintenance bill.

3. Resale issues

Selling your condo could be difficult due to the fact that these properties tend to lack distinguishing features. If several units are placed on the market at one time, this will likely affect demand. Condos are generally less expensive than traditional homes, however, which is a distinct advantage for buyers. On the other hand, the value of a house tends to appreciate faster than a condo.

4. A stronger sense of community

Condos tend to be built in clusters and benefit from shared facilities, resulting in increased social interaction between neighbours. On the downside, noise pollution can be problematic, particularly if a wall or ceiling is shared with other units. While inhabitants of houses can’t guarantee they won’t end up with difficult neighbours, they’re more likely to be separated by a yard, which eases the situation.

5. Conclusions

The turnkey condo lifestyle is ideal for those who baulk at the idea of maintenance, whether first-time buyers, retirees or frequent travellers. Those who would rather not have to abide by a fixed set of rules and who appreciate personal space are more likely to prefer their own house.

Professional assistance in deciding whether to buy a house or a condominium is just one of many services offered by Engel & Völkers. Visit one of our 700 branches, located in 37 countries and four continents, and one of our dedicated experts will guide you through the decision-making process.

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