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Is a condo right for you?

A row of brightly colored condos

The time has come…do I keep renting, or do I buy? I've been renting various apartments for most of my life because it's been easy and convenient. However, since I've decided to stay in my city long-term, there's no reason not to start looking at homes on the market. From a financial perspective, it's a lot smarter. I would rather build equity with a home than continue to pay for something I'll never own. I was talking with a friend about home ownership, which is when she mentioned getting a condo, instead! The more I considered it, the more I started warming up to the idea of living in one – so I decided to make a pros and cons list for you and me!.

Pros of owning a condo:

Amenities at my leisure.

Along with owning a condo, you have several different condo amenities available to you, which may include a fitness center, pool and play area for children.

No more outdoor maintenance.

The last thing I want to do when I get home from work is mow the grass and work on landscaping. Thanks to the homeowner association, I will no longer have to do any yard or exterior work on my building (that includes the roof!). Also, depending on your association agreement, they may also cover snow removal.

Lower price tag.

Buying a condo is more affordable than buying a single family home. The number, of course, depends on the size of the condo, and the cost of living in the area.

More Security.

Certain condos provide gated entries, doormen, or even security guards for their residents. This is very important for someone who lives alone. Also, being in close proximity to your neighbors is beneficial if you ever have an emergency, or feel like you’re in danger.

Cons of owning a condo:

Homeowners association fees.

All of those fabulous amenities, maintenance and other services are only available because of the HOA fees you have to pay every month. Yes, this is on top of paying your mortgage. The fees can range from a $200 to a thousand dollars or more a month, and can be raised at different times throughout the year.

You must live by the rules.

Condo associations have a set of rules to keep the building well-kept and everyone happy. The rules are often things like: no loud music after 10 p.m., keeping up the appearance of your home at all times, and in some cases, no pets allowed. They can even enforce what color they want to paint the exterior of your condo, and you have no say in the matter.

Not as private.

You are very close to your neighbors, so sometimes it can feel like nothing is private. Along with sharing walls, you share parking, pools, tennis courts, etc. There are probably times it will have the same feel as living in an apartment. There is such a thing as detached condos, but that comes with a higher price tag.

Condos appreciate at a slower rate.

This is because when you own a condo, you don't own any land, which is a key factor that increases a home's value. Instead, you only own the inside of the unit. I don't plan on living in a condo forever, so this was a big thing to consider.

In addition to my list, I'm getting some insight from people who currently live in condos to hear what they like, and don't like. If you currently live in a condo, feel free to share your experience in the comments below!


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