Which is Right for You? Buying A House or a Condo?
Updated: Aug 10
What is the Difference Between Buying a House and a Condo?
Are you trying to decide if you should buy a house or a condo? I am here to break it down for you, in hopes to make the decision a bit easier. First, we will start with the basics. What is the difference between buying a house and a condo? Owners of single-family homes purchase the home structure and the land it sits on, while condo owners own just the unit they live in, not the larger building or the land on which it's built. Both condos and single-family homes can be financed with a mortgage, so it's important to start your application process early – regardless of what type of home you decide to purchase. Both condos and houses can create equity.
Buying a Home
The cost of a house is more expensive.
You will have to maintain your own yard.
Property taxes may be more than a condo, due to the amount of land you own.
Though you may buy a house in a neighborhood, you tend to have more privacy than those who live in a condo.
Depending on the neighborhood, you may or may not have HOA dues & rules.
You have the option to finding a house with more space (sqft).
Not all neighborhoods offer amenities.
Buying a Condo
The cost of a condo is typically less expensive.
You don’t have to worry about maintaining a yard.
Since you’re only responsible for the interior, homeowner’s insurance will cost a lot less.
When you live in a condo, you are part of a community regardless of where you buy.
There will be HOA dues and rules.
Amenities are offered at most condo communities.
What Should You Consider Before Buying a House or a Condo?
Location is an important factor to consider when deciding between a condo or single-family house. Condos are usually placed close to amenities such as stores, restaurants and offices in the urban areas, whereas single-family homes are usually situated further away. Young people new to the world often prefer living in condos as they are usually located close to various public transportation options. This helps them save money on buying a car and travel more conveniently.
When considering the future, reselling your home is a commonly discussed factor to take into account when buying a house. If you're planning on purchasing a condo, it's important to do your research beforehand. Take a look at the number of units for sale in the same complex over the past few years. This will give you an idea of how easy it might be to sell your condo in the future. (Blacker, 2023)
What to Look For When Shopping for Houses and Condos
1. Consider your lifestyle
If you dread having to mow the lawn, trim the hedges and pressure wash the driveway, then condo living may be a suitable option. Additionally, it can also be an ideal choice if you don't have enough money to cover the costs of a new roof. With condos there is less effort required for maintenance, making it perfect for those who answered yes to these questions.If you value having a large backyard more than the amount of time & effort needed for its upkeep, then looking into other types of properties might be a wiser choice. Likewise, if you're someone who prefers their own space and does not want to share walls, ceilings or floors with neighbors, investing in a condo could not be the right decision.
2. Find a Realtor
No need to worry about that! Summit Cove Realty is ready to help you find your new home!
3. Decide what amenities you want
Condos can offer a wide variety of amenities. Some single family homes also have amenities. Think about the amenities you want in addition to basic factors like location and budget. If having amenities is important to you, make a list of what you would like to have access to.
4. Try finding an FHA-approved condo
Taking out a mortgage for a condo unit can be more complex than other kinds of properties. Lenders will not only assess your financial situation but also review the condo development when looking at your loan application.
“It’s best to seek the assistance of a mortgage professional with condo experience to find the right financing for your purchase. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which insures FHA mortgages, has a list of FHA-approved condos on its website. Conventional lenders might have similar requirements to those of the FHA, but If the condo isn’t FHA-approved, you might not be able to get a conventional loan, either.”
5. Review association fees and regulations
In addition to your mortgage payments, you’ll need to pay condo association fees for the upkeep of the property and its amenities. Review those fees and find out exactly what’s covered by them. Ask how often — and by how much — the fees increase each year, too, to get a sense of how that amount might grow once you move in.
It’s also a good idea to ask about the community’s house rules. Are there any noise restrictions, or rules about booking common areas in advance? Understanding these ahead of time will help you figure out whether the community you’re looking at is really a good fit for you.
It is always a smart idea to research the property management company. You can never have too much information! Ask how they handle issues or complaints. Pay close attention to how they respond to you asking these questions. (Wichter, 2022)
Obviously, if you are buying a house in an area without an HOA, you will not have to worry about this. You should still reserch the area or neighborhood.
If you are looking to buy in the Tarrant County area, here are the latest stats (June20, 2023):
“This week the median list price for a house in Tarrant County, TX is $399,000 with the market action index hovering around 53. This is less than last month's market action index of 53. Inventory has held steady at or around 2,809. The median list price for a condo in Tarrant County, TX is $385,457 with the market action index hovering around 47. This is less than last month's market action index of 49. Inventory has held steady at or around 154. According to these statistics, it is definitely a seller’s market for houses and condos.”
(Altos Research, Inc., 2023)
No matter what you decide, be sure it is a place that you love and can call home. Make a list of your wants and needs, do your research, and give us a call if you have any questions.
Altos Research, Inc. (2023, June 12). Retrieved from altosresearch.com: https://altos.re/r/58339b90-deed-4a01-94f4-fd04a814ef17
Blacker, R. (2023, April 17). What Should You Consider When Deciding Between a Condo vs. House? Retrieved from U.S.News: https://realestate.usnews.com/real-estate/articles/what-should-you-consider-when-deciding-between-a-condo-vs-house
Wichter, Z. (2022, December 16). 7 tips for buying a condo in 2023. Retrieved from Bankrate: https://www.bankrate.com/real-estate/buying-a-condo/