With housing prices and mortgage interest rates high these days, many Americans are reassessing their housing needs. Of course, in order to adhere to a budget, many home buyers are expanding their search to include different areas and even types of housing. Oftentimes, buying a condominium instead of a single-family home becomes an option. A condominium, also known as a condo, is a type of housing unit that is owned by an individual or family but shares common areas with other condo owners. Condos can be found in a variety of settings, including urban areas, suburban areas, and even rural areas. As with anything, there are many things to consider when buying a condo. We discuss some of the pros and cons below.
The pros of buying a condo
- Affordability: Condos are typically more affordable than single-family homes. This is because condos are smaller and have shared walls and roofs.
- Less maintenance: Condo owners typically have less maintenance to worry about than single-family home owners. This is because the condo association is responsible for the exterior maintenance of the property, such as landscaping and pool maintenance.
- Security: Condo are often located in gated communities, which can provide a sense of security for residents.
- Amenities: Many condo communities offer shared amenities, such as pools, gyms, and playgrounds. This can be a great perk for families and active adults.
- Location: Condos are often located in convenient areas, close to schools, shops, and restaurants. In South Florida, condos may allow you to live on the beach when it otherwise would be cost prohibitive to do so.
- Social/community aspects: Given your close proximity to neighbors, condo living can offer great social benefits and a better sense of community. Oftentimes, condo associations will even organize social events for the unit owners.
The cons of buying a condo
- Homeowner’s Association Fees (HOA fees): Condo owners are required to pay monthly, quarterly, or annual HOA fees. These fees cover the cost of maintaining the common areas and amenities of the community. HOA fees can be expensive, and they typically increase over time.
- Special assessments: In addition to the HOA fees that you are already paying, it is quite common for buildings to have “special assessments” to cover the costs of capital improvements to the building. For example, oceanfront buildings must undergo concrete restoration projects every 5 to 10 years. This work can not only be quite disruptive for the residents of the building, but it can also be quite expensive.
- Rules and regulations: Condo communities have a set of rules and regulations that all residents must follow. These rules can be restrictive, and they can change at any time.
- Lack of privacy: Condos are typically smaller than single-family homes, and they often have shared walls and ceilings. This can make it difficult to have privacy.
- Limited customization: Condo owners have limited control over the appearance and layout of their units. This is because the condo association typically has final say on any changes that are made to the unit.
- Risk of flooding: Condominiums that are located in flood-prone areas are at risk of flooding. This can cause significant damage to the unit and its contents. Of course, this is more applicable to first floor and lower level units.
- Loud or disruptive: As with any dense living conditions, condominium living can be loud or disruptive. For example, assuming pets are allowed in the building, your immediate neighbor could have a dog that barks throughout the day. Needless to say, this could be quite irritating.
Prior to buying a condo, it is important that you consider all aspects of living in this type of community setting. Of course, contacting your real estate agent should be your first step in researching this option. In addition, it is helpful to speak with friends or family members that also live in a multi-family setting as well. They should be able to provide you with things to consider that you never thought about. Alternatively, you may also consider buying a townhouse. If so, be sure to see our previous article titled “The Pros And Cons Of Buying A Townhouse”.
Are you thinking about buying a condo in South Florida? We can help! Contact Natasha at Live South Florida Realty, Inc. today! To assist you in your search, be sure to download the free Florida Home Search app for your smartphone or tablet!