Just several decades ago, purchasing a home involved fewer choices. Except for co-ops and duplexes in large cities, a buyer’s preferences governed which single-family home to purchase within a specified price range.
Today there are more choices than ever in most communities. The most popular options are condominiums and single-family homes. Carefully considering these factors to determine which is the better choice can mean a home purchase that still brings a smile to a buyer’s face years later.
How to Budget When Buying a House or Condo
How big a factor is the cost of a home in your hunt for a new residence? When looking at housing expense, most agree that overall, condos cost less. Because they are usually smaller than detached homes, the initial price and recurring expenses such as taxes and insurance usually add up to a lower amount.
The cost for condo utilities such as water and sewer, trash pickup, and electricity is also typically lower than it is for a detached home. In many condo communities, residents can take advantage of amenities such as exercise rooms, tennis courts, saunas, and computer rooms.
On the flip side, many prospective residents chafe at the cost of condo association fees. These are due in addition to mortgage payments and cover shared community costs such as maintenance. Although most single-family communities these days have homeowner associations, their dues tend to be lower than condo fees. This is partially due to the fact that an owner of a detached home isn’t responsible for the cost of maintaining common structures like roofs and parking lots.
Location is Essential
Is the excitement of city life really appealing? Or is gardening a passion? For many buyers, location is truly everything when considering where to live.
Condos are ideal for those who thrive on an urban lifestyle. Condo residents who enjoy the advantages of city life might find dozens of restaurants, clothing stores, museums, and groceries within walking distance. A car might be unnecessary expense.
Others, however, find themselves better suited to quieter suburban living. A reasonable commute isn’t a problem for them. They consider getting to know their neighbors a real plus. For them, a single-family home might be the better choice.
Privacy vs. Sharing
One important part of a purchase decision is whether the buyer prefers privacy or sharing. Detached homes carry a greater sense of privacy. They have their own sidewalks and garages. As long as they stay within homeowner association guidelines, residents can choose their landscaping and grow whichever plants they want in their gardens.
It’s important to know what you’re looking for lifestyle-wise. Condo residents may share at least one wall and a ceiling or a floor with their neighbors. Sidewalks are also shared. There is little if any say as far as landscaping of common areas. In general, many individuals who favor privacy tend to chafe over the greater number of rules and restrictions that are part of condo life, but it depends from person to person.
Need for Space
The average-size single-family home offers significantly more space than a condo does. Depending on household size, this could be a deal breaker.
One area in which size is particularly important is storage space. This means that it’s necessary to more efficiently organize possessions or to jettison some if moving into a condo vs. a detached residence.
For some prospective buyers, who performs maintenance is a crucial consideration. Fix-it types who love weekends of mowing, hosing off the driveway, or cleaning gutters would most likely prefer a single-family home.
On the other hand, condo living is better suited to who don’t savor the responsibility of exterior maintenance. Contracted professionals provide these services thanks to a portion of condo fees paid.
Which is right for you—a condo or a single-family home? Working with a real estate professional while weighing your preferences and your budget can make the process of buying a home much easier. Then, enjoy the satisfaction of knowing you purchased exactly the right Northwest Houston property.