If you graduated from college a couple of years ago and have been saving up to make the down payment on your first home, then you have a big decision to make. Do you take the plunge and buy a more expensive single-family house or start with a less expensive condo? Since both options have positive and negative aspects, it is important you take as many factors into consideration while you are making your decision:
The Differences Between Single-Family Homes and Condominiums
The differences between condominiums and single-family homes are fairly drastic. With a single family home, you own the land and all of the buildings sitting on it. Alternatively, when you purchase a condo, you don't own the land that it sits on and are only responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the interior space. For many condos, you also have common walls with neighbors similar to living in an apartment.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Condo Ownership
Many people choose condo living over single-family home living because it comes with many advantages, such as:
- no exterior maintenance tasks
- no landscaping tasks
- a sense of community
- a social living environment
In addition to the above, condos for sale are typically less expensive than similarly-sized single-family homes. This can be helpful if you are trying to break into a real estate market with insanely high prices, such as in California or New York.
However, condo living also comes with a few downsides, including:
- less privacy
- occasional noise from shared spaces
- monthly condo fees
In addition, condominiums are managed by a board of other owners and that can cause conflict from time to time. While condos are less expensive than stand-alone homes, they also appreciate in value slower and can be harder to sell when the time comes. The reason they are harder to sell is that mortgage loan options are more limited for condominiums over traditional houses.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Single-Family Home Ownership
As with purchasing a condo, buying a single-family home has many advantages, including:
- total control over your property
- more privacy
- no monthly condo fees
Single-family homes also appreciate faster and are easier to sell when the time comes.
Single-family houses do have a few downsides, such as:
- you are responsible for all maintenance
- a higher monthly cost of ownership
- higher purchase prices
A Final Note
Whether you decide that a condominium or a single-family house is best for your situation, it is vital you work with an experienced real estate agent in the area you want to make your purchase.