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The Main Differences Between Buying a Condo vs. Buying a House

There are different housing situations available – renting an apartment, buying a house, or buying a condo. Each housing situation has its set of advantages and disadvantages.

A condo, which also refers to a condominium, is like an apartment/unit that you buy and own. It’s in a shared complex or building but smaller in square footage than a house.

A house (often called a single-family home), on the other hand, is a free-standing residence and the land it sits on. Homeowners, therefore, purchase both the building and the land on which it’s built.

image - The Main Differences Between Buying a Condo vs. Buying a House
The Main Differences Between Buying a Condo vs. Buying a House

The condo has numerous perks but not suitable for everyone. Whether to buy a house or condo comes down to your preference and the situation you’re in life. Let’s look at the common differences between a house and a condo.

Cost Comparison

Generally, a house is likely to be more expensive than a condo in many markets across the country for several reasons.

First of all, square footage in a house is much larger, so property taxes are higher. Maintenance also can be more costly since you’re responsible for the whole house and lot it sits on.

So, if you’re on a budget, a condo may look like a better option. However, it should be noted that the cost will primarily depend on the location of the building.

Insurance

Owners of single-family homes pay higher home insurance than condo owners. This is because they must insure the entire structure, i.e. the interior and exterior of the home.

Condo owners only have to insure the inside of their individual units. Common areas and the rest of the building is covered under the homeowner’s association (HOA).


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Available Space

A single-family house typically comes with a lot more space than a condo making it ideal for growing families or those who value privacy and don’t want to share common spaces.

While some condos, especially in upscale communities can compare to many homes, the outdoor space is usually limited. Rarely will you enjoy a private garden or driveway?

In-Home & Outdoor Maintenance

In a condo unit, the homeowner’s association (HOA) is responsible for exterior maintenance. The owner is responsible only for the interior.

Anything happening out of their walls is none of their concern. As a homeowner, you have to take care of what happens on your property. So, activities like yard care or arranging trash pickup services fall on you.

Location Location Location

When it comes to location, you’ll realize that condos often spring up in densely populated city areas, so they are conveniently located to local restaurants, shops, entertainment centers, and provide shorter work commutes.

Conversely, houses are usually found in the suburbs or secluded pieces of land, so they tend to be in less densely populated areas.

Amenities

Large condo neighbors have shared amenities like a pool, gym, or business center, making it more affordable for each individual.

A homeowner, however, is solely responsible for the cost of installing similar perks on their property or otherwise have to commute to public facilities to get those amenities.

HOA Rules

Most condo communities have a governing HOA that dictates owners’ rights and restrictions on those rights.

For example, you’ll find that condominium owners can’t remodel at will, unlike homeowners who can renovate and make changes to their houses to suit their needs and preferences. You may also be prohibited from subletting units, having certain pets in condos.

When deciding whether to buy a house or a condo, there are many things to consider.

As with any significant investment, the most crucial thing is to thoroughly understand your options before you commit. Hopefully, with these differences, you can make an informed choice on which is best for you and yours.


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