If you're looking to buy a home, there are many different options available for you. It all depends very much on your needs, your finances and where you’re living. In crowded cities, for example, a place in an apartment building is probably just the thing you're looking for. As such, you're going to have a particular decision to make: should you rent a regular apartment or buy a condo?
Wondering what the difference between the two actually is? You're not the only one. Many others are also trying to decide whether buying a condo or renting an apartment is the best option. A condo sound much fancier, of course, but the difference between the two is actually much simpler.
In short, a condo is a unit you purchase within a building, while an apartment is a rental in a building owned by a landlord or property company. Interestingly, condos are becoming the favored choice of upper-income couples, even though there are certain limitations to owning a condo.
The major limitation of buying a condo unit is that you only own everything inside the walls of the unit. Unlike ownership of a freestanding house, you cannot make major structural changes and you have to follow sometimes stringent rules set by a condo board. Practically, this means the limitations of owning a condo are just as severe as renting an apartment but is usually much more expensive.
Why would you choose to buy a condo rather than renting an apartment until you can afford a house? Here are some of the reasons upper-income couples are springing for condos.
Ownership is Coveted
The main reason upper-income couples are choosing to buy condos is that ownership of any sort of real estate at all is coveted for all the right reasons. A condo may not represent the ideal type of homeownership for most people. However, when you own a condo you are at least a homeowner. You have what is possibly your first major asset, which can be extremely useful when taking out loans, starting a business or if you wish to upgrade to something bigger.
It is also preferable because you are paying for something that is yours. When you are renting, your monthly payments go into someone else’s pocket. You get to stay in their apartment, but no matter how many years you spend paying them rent, you still have no claim to it. And though there are strict laws around leasing an apartment and evictions, you are still vulnerable to not having your lease renewed by your landlord.
The reality is that renting is not a good economical choice because of this. There are reasons people continue renting – including a lack of funds for a downpayment and the stresses that come with homeownership – but most people aspire to owning their home.
But condos offer more than just an affordable kind of homeownership. Some couples choose condos because of the benefits associated with them. For many, the idea of an HOA or board that is always on their case is incredibly off-putting. However, it isn’t always a negative.
Owning a condo means that you do not have to take care of all the expensive maintenance yourself. You rely on the board when things go wrong, and that is well worth the fees you pay them. Repairs and maintenance are the scourge of most homeowners’ existence. This effectively mixes the benefits of owning your own place without one of the major negatives of doing so: needing to fork out what may be thousands of dollars on a simple repair.
This is all the more beneficial when you consider that the HOA takes care of all the extra amenities in the building. If there is a pool, you get to use it without having to deal with the challenges. If there is a gym, it is maintained without you having to lift a finger.
Another reason that condo ownership is preferable for many young couples is that there is a sense of community that they and their children can benefit from. Living in a suburb no longer provides the same sense of neighborly friendship it once did. You can live your whole life in a suburb without ever speaking to your neighbors.
Since there are common areas in a condo building and there are no roads or yards separating you from your neighbors, you are far more likely to find community. Your children will meet the other children in the building, and will prefer to keep busy in their company over staying indoors all day.
Owning a freestanding property is the ideal for many people. But there are plenty of young couples who prefer living in a condo and don’t consider themselves any worse off for it.