If you're ready to take the plunge into home ownership, you've joined the ranks of over 74 million U.S. residents. Some people know exactly what they want in a new home and what to look for in properties for sale, while others remain undecided on a few things, starting with buying a home or condo. Both come with their own set of pros and cons, but here are four ways you can benefit from investing in a condo instead of a house.
Low maintenance is a great reason to love the condo life. You'll be responsible for paying monthly condo fees, but the burden of maintaining some other things will be lifted from your shoulders.
- Yard. As a condo owner, you won't have to mow the grass, trim the hedges, pull the weeds, or water the plants. Your condo association will hire a contractor to take care of all that for you.
- Parking Lots. Single-family homeowners have the responsibility of maintaining not only their yards, but their driveways and sidewalks as well. Repairing alligator cracks, potholes, depressions, and areas where standing water accumulate can become costly. Hiring a contractor to handle it can cost around $6-$10 per square foot. If you own a condo, you'll never have to worry about these outdoor repairs, shoveling snow, or any of the other requirements for asphalt maintenance.
- Roofs. The cost to replace a roof can vary widely and is ultimately determined by the type of materials used, the size of the home, the pitch of the roof, and where you live. On the low end, homeowners in California might invest as little as $5,000 for asphalt shingles, but that number can climb to over $25,000, too. Aside from replacing the roof—which only needs to be done once in a great while—as a regular homeowner, you'll have to repair leaks and make sure the gutters stay clean. Just another few responsibilities to cross off your list if you own a condo.
Many condominiums have common areas for residents to enjoy, and they include community centers that can be used for meetings and parties, fitness rooms, swimming pools, and playgrounds.
These amenities are similar to what you would find at a high-end apartment complex, so if you like to take advantage of these extras, you'll definitely want to explore the possibility of purchasing a condo over a single-family home.
If money is an object for you—as it is for most people—you'll be glad to know that there's a good chance you'll spend less on a condo. Granted, this will primarily depend on the city you live in and the location of the condo within that city.
For instance, you might be able to purchase a single-family, 3-bedroom home out in the country for $125,000, whereas downtown that same investment might get you a smaller, 2-bedroom condo. That's why it's important to compare the locations of the properties as well as factor in your monthly expenses.
For example, where do you work, and what are your commuting expenses? Do you have a gym membership? A lot of condos come with fitness centers that are included in the monthly dues. If you work downtown and can save on the commute, as well as pocket that monthly gym fee, you can save even more.
An examination of two equally priced properties in Austin, Texas, indicates that while the condo might have a slightly higher mortgage, you could still save around $1,500 a month when you factor in the condo's cheaper utilities, the shorter commute, and other savings.
Sense of Community
If you enjoy the camaraderie that can come with living in a shared community, then condo-ownership just may be the perfect thing for you. You and your neighbors have a vested interest in making the neighborhood a pleasant, safe, and fun place to live.
Some condominium communities take advantage of that "close-knit" factor when celebrating holidays like Halloween. If residents are concerned about trick-or-treaters ringing doorbells too late, they may collectively decide on a start and end time. Plus, parents don't have to worry about busy street traffic or walking around strange neighborhoods. And at the end of the evening, when the sugar high has reached its peak, the kids can burn through that energy on the community playground.