The Yays and Nays of Buying and Living in a Condominium

a view of a high-rise condominium from below

For people who are just getting started in their homeownership journey, starting with a condominium might seem like a no-brainer. But there are plenty of factors to consider, especially as the real estate industry fluctuates and the economy goes through unpredictable changes. If you are thinking of buying and living in a condominium, here are some pros and cons you need to take into account.

What is a condominium?

A condominium, also colloquially known as a condo, is a private residence within a bigger building, structure, or community. Another question you can ask when trying to decide if you should live in a condo is, “What is mixed-use development?” because many modern condominiums are located within these types of communities.

Mixed-used developments often provide not just residential units, but also common areas like a patio or a garden, and even units for commercial use and office spaces. It’s like a city within a city—perfect for growing families and even singles who want the privacy that an exclusive community provides, but all the perks of living in a more urban neighborhood.

Now that you know what a condominium is, here are some pros and cons you need to consider when buying and living in one:

Yay: It requires less maintenance

Since you will be buying and living in a significantly smaller property, you won’t have to worry about repairs and maintenance tasks like maintaining the landscaping, fixing the roof, or shoveling snow. This is an attractive pro for those who have no time or energy to maintain a bigger property—especially those who are new to homeownership, in poor health, like to travel, busy with work, or just simply don’t want to deal with these chores.

Nay: You might have to pay for homeowners association fees

You probably won’t need to deal with maintenance, but you will have to pay extra for homeowners association fees. Most exclusive communities like this require tenants to pay extra because you would also have to consider the condominium’s amenities like the pool and fitness center, as well as other aspects like the maintenance team and the security system. You might also have to pay extra for the parking fees—all this on top of your mortgage.

Remember, however, that all these additional payments will be directed towards the upkeep of the property, so you need to weigh if these are additional costs that you think are worth spending on.

Yay: Condos tend to be more affordable and appreciate as time goes on

One of the criticisms of owning a condo versus buying your own home is that condos tend to be more expensive even for smaller-sized units and that their value tends to depreciate over time. However, the past few years have shown that the opposite is truer. A study found that condos have a lower average selling price than single-family homes, while research conducted by Trulia found that the market value for condos rose by 38.4 percent from 2012 to 2017—higher than the growth rate of single-family homes by 11 percent.

Nay: Lesser privacy

woman checking on their surveillance footages of their house

Since you will be living more closely with others since structurally, you are sharing a space with other tenants and families, you might have to accept that there is much less privacy compared to living in a traditional house. In a condominium, you would be having neighbors on the other side of the walls, and below and above your unit as well.

You would have neighbors across the hall, and you would always be around people no matter the time of day or week. You might hear their babies crying at midnight, and you might also have to deal with loud house parties. If you’re looking for quiet living, condo living might not be for you.

Yay: Better security

Since many condominium communities provide locked or gated entries, you would always have doormen and even security professionals ensuring the area’s exclusivity, security, and safety at all times. There are lesser opportunities for break-ins and home invasions, provided your neighbors are good people as well. And since you would be living in proximity with the other members of the community, you would have plenty of people to turn to for help in case of any emergencies.

At the end of the day, only you can know if the pros of condo living outweigh its cons. Consider your current life circumstances and what you want for your future, as well as the property’s resale value, and allow these factors to bring clarity to your choice.

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