Once the decision is made, the down payment is saved, and the loan officer gives a "thumbs up" to the mortgage application, the next step in the home-buying process is to begin searching the local real estate market listings for the perfect home. For a growing number of Americans, the home they ultimately decide to purchase will actually be a condominium, instead of the more traditional choice of a single family home.
For buyers who are having trouble deciding between the two options, here are six of the most popular reasons to consider choosing a condo.
Better Urban Living Experiences
Like an urban apartment, condos offer their owners more central locations that homes can't always provide. Living in a centrally located condo, there's an opportunity to walk or utilize inexpensive mass transit options for most daily transportation needs, including work, school, errands, and recreational activities. This helps to keep car parking, maintenance, and other costs minimal.
Additional Perks and Amenities
Working out at the local gym requires the single family home owner to drive to the nearest gym and pay a membership fee. Most condos, however, offer the same amenities as apartments, and condo owners can access them without ever leaving their homes. In the right locations, condo owners can work out, swim, and enjoy other amenities right inside their own development, at no additional charge. In addition, other features and upgrades may be available.
Flexibility for Frequent Travelers
Home owners who spend time traveling must spend time and money to find and pay trustworthy help to keep lawns cut and snow shoveled when they are gone for days, weeks or months at a time. For the busy condo owner, traveling only requires packing a suitcase and locking the door when leaving, while the maintenance staff takes care of the lawn and other maintenance needs.
Passing on Exterior Maintenance
Owning a single-family home means taking responsibility for home maintenance, even the high-dollar jobs like house painting or putting on a new roof. Condo owners pay a pre-determined association fee each month and that money is then used to make any repairs or maintenance needed to the outer structure of the condo and the public areas in the development.
Unlike a single-family home where the owner has sole responsibility for security, most condos offer some type of enhanced security. In many cases, this security includes an on-site security presence, secure access gates at entry and exit points, enhanced lighting, and the use of security cameras.
More Affordable Purchase Price
In many areas of the country, similarly sized condos and single-family homes can be priced several thousand dollars apart. Because condos are built using less expensive common walls and roofs and grouped together for efficiency, they are usually less expensive to build per unit compared to a similar single family home on a lot.
Buyers who are considering the purchase of a condo should remember, however, that condo living requires paying an association fee each month. This fee is collected from all the residents who make up the condo community and is used to cover the costs of exterior maintenance, upkeep, and for the use of any special features, such as pools, spas, and gyms.
Condos also offer less privacy, can be more difficult to sell, and may offer other challenges, as well. To make sure buyers understand all aspects of condo living, both positive and negative, they should begin their search for a condo by discussing the purchase with their real estate professional. The agent can offer insight into condo living in their local area and help answer any specific questions buyers may have during both the search and the purchase process.
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