Condos vs Houses: Which is Better and Why?

April 24, 2020


Condos vs Houses

If you’re in the market to buy a home, you may be weighing condos vs houses. While there’s certainly a difference in the type of property, condos vs houses have many other differences, too. 

Perhaps one is in a swanky downtown neighborhood with a resort-style pool. Another is in the suburbs with a large, fenced yard. It comes down to condo vs house… but which is better? How do you decide which one is right for you? 

Let’s take a look at both types of housing to help you make your decision. 

Condos vs Houses 

Before we get started, let’s talk about exactly what we mean when we say house and condo. A house is a free-standing single residence with four outer walls that are not connected to any other structures or buildings. Most often, a house sits on a front lawn and back lawn, and the owner owns all of the surrounding land, as well as any additional buildings that sit on the property (a garage, storage shed, etc). 

A condo, or condominium, is sort of like an apartment that you own. It is in a shared building or community and is typically significantly smaller in square footage than a house. The HOA, or Homeowners Association, maintains the exterior of the building(s) and the common areas (think swimming pool, parking garages, clubhouse, fitness center, etc) and you pay dues to the HOA either monthly or annually. 

Condos are especially popular with first-time homebuyers, as well as buyers who are downsizing or retiring. They can also be a great investment. They are usually less expensive than houses, but it’s important to always keep any HOA fees or dues in mind. 

Pros and Cons: Condo vs Houses 

The differences in living in a house versus a condo are significant, and should definitely be considered when deciding which type of home to buy. Here are some things that you’ll want to consider. 

Condo living is definitely living in a community. When you live in a condo, you will naturally be closer to your neighbors. After all, you’re literally sharing walls. There will also be more activities to interact with your neighbors, whether in the mailroom, the pool, or even at HOA or board meetings. This can be great if you are a people person and like your neighbors; however, if you are more of a homebody, condo living may not be for you. 

On the other hand, a house will offer a lot more privacy. Depending on the neighborhood you’re in, the size of your lot, and the size of your house, you may have a lot of privacy in a home. But this privacy could come at a premium as you pay for the privacy of your four walls. 

Keep in mind that there really are few blessings like good neighbors. If you’re leaving town and need someone to keep an eye on your home, you’ll be thankful for your neighbors and able to relax more while you’re away. 

If you live in a condo, you need to understand and accept that what your HOA says is basically the law of the land. It may sound trivial, but some condo HOAs have very specific rules, such as what color your curtains can be and how you can decorate. Before moving into a condo, you should ready the community covenants and become familiar with their rules and regulations — or risk finding yourself facing the board. 

Of course, you may still have to deal with an HOA if you buy a house in a subdivision. However, these HOAs are usually less authoritarian, although there may still be rules about how you can paint your fence, the type of mailbox you can put up, and more. And keep in mind that neighborhood HOA dues are usually significantly less than the dues in condos. 

Buying a home or condo with Reali

If you’re ready to buy a home, whether it’s a condo or a house, don’t walk the road alone! At Reali, we are proud to offer a home buying process that you can trust. We help you find your perfect home at the best price, with the help of our experienced, local agents. Hear what our clients have to say about working with us and contact us when you’re ready to get started!

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