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February 22nd, 2013

The pros and cons of purchasing a condo

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Below is a post by Anthony Fontana, first appearing on our partner site the Zing blog at Quicken Loans:

condosEvery purchase has its pros and cons. Buying a condo is no different. Before I make any expensive purchase, I always ask myself, “Do the pros outweigh the cons?” If yes, I typically proceed with the purchase. If no, I try and talk myself into backing out of the purchase.

While this is easier said than done with some purchases, you really have to consider the pros and cons when making a big purchase. In my book, a condo counts as a big purchase. Are you in the market for purchasing a condo? If so, take a look at the list of things you should consider before taking the next step.

Here are some pros to purchasing a condo:

Maintenance

I don’t like mowing the lawn, and I’m not handy when it comes to fixing things such as a leaky roof. What does that mean? I need all the help I can get when it comes to maintaining my home. In a condo, you’ll find that a lot of the maintenance is done for you. Instead of spending your Saturdays mowing the lawn, you can do something much more important, like take a nap or watch football.

Features

Have you always wanted a swimming pool but not all the extra costs and work associated with owning one? If so, a condo may be right for you. Many condo communities offer their residents such amenities as a pool or fitness center. Want to know the best part about all of this? You don’t have to worry about the upkeep because that’s all taken care of by maintenance crews.

Price

Buying a new home can be expensive. If you’re looking to purchase a new home at a reasonable cost, a condo might be the way to go for you. Many condos can be yours for a fraction of the cost of a single-family home.

Safety

Different condo communities offer different rules and regulations. For instance, some are gated communities that require identification upon arrival. Others allow residents to come and go as they please. Either way, you’d be in close proximity to other residents if any emergencies were to occur.

Here are some of the cons to purchasing a condo:

Limited ownership

Have you always wanted to own acres of land and have the space to build a swing set for your kids in the backyard? If so, a condo isn’t for you. As a condo owner, technically all you own is the inside of your unit. You don’t have the freedom to put up your own outdoor decorations in the yard like you would if you owned a house.

Home Owner Association (HOA) fees

There are two “pros” I listed that come back to bite you when it comes to paying HOA fees. Remember the features I talked about earlier and how I said the price of a condo is typically less expensive than the price of a single-family home? Well, that’s true, although they do come with a price attached. This price comes in the form of an HOA fee. Some communities require residents to pay the fee every month, while others allow residents to make a one-time payment at the beginning or end of every year. Be sure to ask about any HOA fees you may be responsible for.

Noise

Depending on the location of your unit, you may be connected to another unit, making it all the more likely that you’ll hear noise from attached units. If your neighbors have young kids, chances are you’ll hear them. If your neighbors like to play music, chances are you’ll hear the music. If you don’t like noise, you may want to reconsider purchasing a condo.

Rules

Like many of the pros and cons I’ve listed, each condo community has its own set of rules. Some are stricter than others. For example, my dad owns a condo down in Florida. One night, I left a bike in the middle of the garage. The next morning, I found a note on the bike requesting that the bike be moved immediately or else my dad would get fined. I don’t know about you, but where I’m from, bikes are supposed to go in the garage. Before making your purchase official, be sure to ask about the rules and regulations so there are no surprises.

After reading my pros and cons list, what do you think? Are there any condo owners out there that have anything to add to the list? Let us know in the comments section below!

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One Response to “The pros and cons of purchasing a condo”

  1. Jason Says: February 25th, 2013 at 10:03 am

    I’m glad the article came back to talk about price and ownership some more. Truthfully, mortgage rates are often very low; it’s extras such as escrow or property taxes that often drive rates up. Based on low interest rates, you might be talking a mortgage payment of around $500 or so a month versus upwards of $1,000 for a condo. If utilities are included things get closer. Where taxes are concerned… that’s usually the wildcard.

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