Buying a home is an extremely important decision for an individual or for a family. The type of home that you choose to purchase will greatly impact your life and lifestyle and choosing the right home for you and your family is the sort of significant choice that requires a good deal of thought and consideration. For many home-buyers, the choice boils down to purchasing a condominium or a single family home. The following article will assist in delineating the differences between the two and will help you choose the type of home that best suits your lifestyle.
A condominium is typically in a complex with multiple units that are either attached or detached, where each unit is individually owned and the units share ownership of common areas including the grounds, exteriors, and facilities. A single family home is a stand-alone building on a lot, the entirety of which is solely owned by the homeowner.
There are pros and cons to owning both condominiums and single-family homes. The pros for condominium ownership include the shared responsibility for maintenance of the condominium complex. When you purchase a condominium, you become a member of the Homeowners' Association (“HOA”) and each HOA member pays a monthly fee, which typically covers management of the association, hazard insurance, routine upkeep and maintenance of the common areas, and sometimes also covers certain utilities such as water and/or sewer. A portion of the fee is also put in a reserve account for future maintenance, repairs and improvements. Some condominium complexes also include shared facilities such as pools, gyms, children’s play areas and clubhouses that can be used by all the residents of the condominium complex. The shared cost can lower residents’ expenses and at the same time increase convenience and access to amenities that might be financially out of reach for many families, were they to have to pay for them individually.
There are also many pros to owning a single-family home; the most significant of which are the space and privacy you get from owning the only home on the property and the lack of restrictions on how, when and why you can remodel, landscape, expand or change the exterior of your home. Additionally, there are no HOA fees to pay monthly, so if there are no repairs or maintenance costs for your home at any given time, there is no money out of your pocket. Further, traditionally, the values of single-family homes have appreciated at a greater rate, over time, than those of condominiums.
There are also cons to both condominium and single-family home ownership. The issues that you should consider before purchasing a condominium include the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (“CC&R’s”) imposed on condominium owners by HOAs. These restrictions can be extremely limiting in terms of changes you can make, particularly to the exterior of your home; they can even limit your ability to have a pet in your home or your ability to rent your home. Each HOA has Condominium Documents that include a list of CC&R’s. It is essential to review the Condominium Documents in detail before purchasing a condominium. These documents also include the articles of incorporation, the bylaws and the recent minutes from HOA board meetings, which will provide insight into the issues the HOA is dealing with. You should also carefully review the HOA’s financial documents to see how much money the HOA has in reserve and what, if any, assessments have been levied recently by the HOA and/or what assessments are upcoming. In addition to shared decision-making responsibility, as a condominium owner, you will also share close proximity to your neighbors, which might be a turn-off for you. If you have children or pets for whom a private backyard is important, a condominium may not be the best choice for your family.
Single-family home ownership is also not without its cons. Individual ownership means individual expenses. Houses need to be maintained and no matter how good shape the house is in, things are bound to break on occasion, and need to be repaired or replaced. These expenses can be considerable, and the time and effort necessary to keep your home in proper condition can be significant. Additionally, single-family homes typically cost more than condominiums and they may not have the amenities that a condominium complex may have, such as a pool or a clubhouse.
There is something very special about owning a home. Owning the type of home that best compliments your lifestyle will make your purchase even more satisfying!
Good luck and happy home ownership!!!