You know you want to buy in a metro area, and you keep seeing listings for places that look amazing, only to discover that the house you’re viewing is in fact a condo — in other words, a unit within a larger building that’s for sale by itself.
If you’ve been dreaming of a single family home, the idea of condo living can feel limiting — but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, depending on the unit and building, condo living can be really freeing! You see, condos often come with lots of perks that aren’t available at an affordable rate to single-family homeowners.
So if you’re wondering why you might want to buy a condo, and what kind of homeowner fits in one best, keep reading. We’re going to give you 14 good reasons to consider a condo and start proactively looking for those listings.
Don’t be surprised if you discover you are the type of person who is perfectly suited to condo living!
1. You get to own your own place!
People sometimes think condo-ownership isn’t real homeownership because of all the rules, but condo-ownership is definitely still homeownership; you’ll have control of your unit within your four walls, build equity, and be able to sell when it’s time. Just like with a standalone house, you’ll decide how to decorate and remodel inside your unit to suit your needs.
However, this also means you’ll be responsible for any repairs or maintenance that your condo unit needs. Just like with a standalone house, you’ll need to create a budget for repairs and maintenance.
2. The amenities can be sweet
Pools, gyms, movie theaters, game rooms, shared community or outdoor spaces — you might have access to amenities at a condo that would cost a ton if you tried to build them for yourself in your single-family home.
Not every condo building has all the amenities mentioned above, and the ones that do will generally charge a bit more in fees, but it’s still way cheaper than if you had to build a pool, a home gym, and outdoor spaces (which can include a playground or even sports areas) in your yard. You’d need a lot of land for all those amenities — and, depending on where you live, land can be pretty expensive too.
You could be getting a pool and a fitness center and a clubhouse and a movie theater.
- Kim Rock Real Estate AgentCloseKim Rock Real Estate Agent at Keller Williams Real Estate-langhorne5.0Currently accepting new clients
- Years of Experience 14
- Transactions 306
- Average Price Point $259k
- Single Family Homes 214
3. And they’re paid for communally
One reason why you can find condos with such amazing amenities is because the cost is split among all the condo-owners through the condominium owners association (COA) dues.
So, not only do you not have to pay full price for the land and construction of all these great amenities — you also don’t have to pay the entire cost of maintenance and repairs!
Kim Rock, who sells properties 66% faster than the average agent in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, explains that the higher your COA fees, the more amenities and services you’ll likely see in exchange: “You could be getting a pool and a fitness center and a clubhouse and a movie theater,” and it’s all cheaper than paying to build and then maintaining those amenities on your own.
Because the COA is responsible for maintenance, it generally happens on schedule versus being delayed due to life events (good or bad), and the amenities are always usable on the condo’s set schedule.
4. Speaking of the COA, it’s there to handle problems
From certain neighborly disputes to making sure there’s enough cash in the reserve fund to replace the roof if it’s damaged in a hailstorm, your COA is there to support the building. There is a certain amount of peace of mind that comes with knowing the major issues are someone else’s headache.
That said: Be sure to research the COA and its budget and reserves before you buy, so you can ensure you’re entering a good one. Sadly, not every COA is run well or in a cost-efficient way.
You’ll be funding the COA budget through your annual association dues, so make sure you are happy with the cost and how the money is being spent before you buy.
5. You’ll likely be closer with your neighbors (in every way)
Condos foster a communal living environment — which is maybe not amazing during a pandemic, but during other times, this can be a real selling point for people who want to make friends more easily. A condo can be a great option if you’re new to town or going through any life changes that mean you want to build up your social network.
It’s hard not to become familiar with fellow condo residents when you’re running into them all the time at the gym or the games room, or even just walking your dog around the grounds. Casual conversations over time can grow into friendships, even deep ones, especially if you have similar interests or lifestyles, which is even more likely because your lifestyles and priorities led you both to this condo building.
Condos will have social activities for their residents, which can include barbecues and game nights in the common areas, or even off-site adventures in parks and museums. If a condo building doesn’t have a strong social committee, as an owner, you could always suggest creating one.
6. Condos are conveniently located
Condos aren’t constrained to any type of location — you can find them at the beach or in the middle of a bustling city’s downtown. What they do have in common is that they tend to be right where people want to live, which is usually near lots of fun things, like restaurants, grocery stores, movie theaters, parks, and other forms of entertainment.
If they’re not downtown, condos are often found near public transportation stations and hubs. Condo owners typically have a shorter commute than single-family homeowners. This is because land prices rise as you get closer to downtown areas, making a neighborhood of single-family homes unaffordable in spots that are perfect for a condo building neighborhood.
7. Condos require less upkeep
You aren’t going to have to worry about the siding, roof, lawn, and so on. The COA is responsible for maintaining all communal property spaces, so you don’t have to waste your time mowing the lawn or coordinating with a contractor to fix the leak in the roof.
If you want to go on a long vacation, you also don’t have to stress about alerting the post office or figure out who is going to shovel the sidewalk while you’re gone. This flexibility and freedom from upkeep makes condos popular with first-time buyers, young families, and people who want their weekends back (which could be anyone, really).
Karen Zachary, owner of Anchor Virtual Assistants, prefers condo living, explaining she has “zero time or interest in pricing out elevator maintenance, garage door repairs, or landscaping contracts. I want a committee to make these decisions for me, and I want a relatively stable bill every month. Single-family homeowners have to deal with spiking repair prices when a roofing or painting need arises.”
As a condo owner, you’ll never scramble to find the budget or free time for unexpected, but necessary, repairs to the building.
8. Condos are cheaper
Detached homes have historically appreciated faster than condos in the same area, which means you won’t have to spend as much on the down payment or on your monthly mortgage payment for a condo.
Condos do appreciate, and they are a generally good long-term investment, but if you’re on a tighter budget, condos are also a great way to get into homeownership with a little less money than you’d need for a single-family house.
Some condos even come furnished, which can save you a lot of money on furnishings, if you don’t already own furniture that you plan to bring with you.
9. There are security features a single-family home might not have
Condos usually come with a few security features that are just not reasonable to have in the typical single-family home. Condo buildings will typically have a lobby with guard service or a call box. You’ll be living with neighbors who know you, which can also be a security benefit.
If you’re nervous about living on your own or just want extra eyes on your house and family, a condo building will offer you that sense of security without the extra expense and headache of installing a complex security system.
Zachary notes that security is another reason she prefers condo-living, because “I feel a lot more secure in a condo, compared to how I’d feel in a single-family home. I live in an urban area, and I see single-family homes as vulnerable on all sides. My condo has heavy fire/security doors, double locks, plus a lock to use the elevator.”
Your buyer’s agent will be able to describe all the security features of any condo building you’re considering.
10. You might be able to cut costs elsewhere
Because the condo building may have many of the activities you are otherwise spending money on, you may be able to save on multiple memberships and purchases. If your condo has a gym, you won’t need to keep that membership! The same applies to the pool and other features like a barbecue or activities room.
You may even be able to reserve certain communal spaces for private events, saving you money on renting restaurant rooms or bars for birthday parties.
11. You’ll still be growing your equity
You’ll also be improving your credit history with on-time mortgage payments, so if you ever decide to buy something else with a loan (including another property), you may be able to qualify for a better rate than you would otherwise.
12. It’s low-maintenance living
Between the shared spaces and the relatively smaller floor plans, owning a condo is one way to have your own space without having to put a lot of effort into it.
Your unit space is your own to do with as you want, but you’ll have access to a lot more space than just the square footage of your unit. Your responsibility (apart from your association dues) is limited to your smaller square footage, while you get to benefit from all the additional communal spaces your condo has and that the COA maintains for you.
13. Your insurance costs will be lower
Homeowner insurance is generally more expensive than condo insurance. This is due to the fact that single family homes are often larger than condos, especially when the acreage of the yard is included in those measurements.
Less square footage and fewer objects that are being insured naturally translates to a lower insurance bill.
14. You can rent it out when you buy your own place
Check the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) of your COA before buying if renting your condo is a key part of your future plans. The CC&Rs might prohibit rentals, and if they do, you’ll want to know that before you buy!
However, not all condos ban rentals, so if you have your heart set on a condo and being able to rent it in the future, you may just need to put a little legwork into finding a building that does allow rentals. Tell your buyer’s agent if this is important to you, as they’ll be able to guide you in your search.
Buying a condo isn’t for everyone, but if it’s a good fit for your lifestyle and budget, then it can solve several problems at once. A quality real estate agent can help give you a sense for whether you’d enjoy condo living, and which condos in your area might be the best match for your home search.
Header Image Source: (Raimond Klavins / Unsplash)