Updated: Mar 8
Ever wondered what the real differences between condos, houses, and apartments are?
Whether you are interested in renting or buying property, making an educated decision means value, security, and happiness.
Houses have remained a popular choice in both the rental and property sales market because it offers a greater price range, is widely available in a variety of different styles. Today, renters and buyers from career-driven singles to retired couples are looking for less maintenance, more security, and flexibility in their homes. This is where a condo or an apartment could satisfy these needs!
Choosing property also depends on what you can afford, how long you plan on living in one location, and whether you have a family to take care of.
Before you decide to put a deposit down on a property purchase or rental, let’s look at the differences between condos, apartments, and houses.
What’s in a Condo?
Condominiums are similar in layout to an apartment; however, the biggest difference is that a condo is a sellable unit. Condos are separate units that can be rented or individually owned such as a residential high-rise.
Although you can purchase a condo and claim full ownership, there are still community rules that must be followed in the same way you would abide by a lease.
What is the Difference Between a Condo and an Apartment?
You can own a condo while apartments are rented from a landlord or property manager for 6 months to a year.
The major difference between a condo and an apartment is ownership.
Condo ownership allows you to improve the interior by making certain modifications. You cannot modify an apartment such as repainting or changing tiles.
Condos are managed by a maintenance board while an apartment is overseen by a landlord. Both condos and apartments will have residential regulations that one must abide by to respect other residents living in nearby units.
What Do You Own when You Buy a Condo?
Many buyers do not realize just how many restrictions are involved in the purchase of a condo. This is especially true when it comes to renovations and repairs. You will share the connecting walls, stairs, sidewalks, and outdoor areas with other residents. You will own the interior and you will be able to make changes such as modifying the tiles, painting the walls, and perhaps removing inner walls to create open plan living. Any structural changes will have to be board-approved before you can proceed with building works.
What You Should Know About Condos and the HOA?
The board responsible for the daily maintenance and operations of a condo is known as the HOA or Homeowners Association. Condo owners will generally pay a fee towards the HOA to ensure the property is maintained.
A major benefit of owning a condo and having it maintained by the HOA is that any repairs and general resident problems are resolved by an independent body.
When you move into a condo, remember that you will be paying a monthly fee for the property maintenance. Although condos are managed by the HOA, the members consist of volunteers. The money that is received from residents will be used to fund daily operations including repairs, restorations, and hiring the right maintenance services.
Understanding the CC&R’s in a Condo
The Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (or CC&R’s) refer to the rules and regulations that residents and the HOA must adhere to.
In the CC&R, owners will find a breakdown of what they are permitted to do in their property and within the condo unit. The document addresses general considerations including the sharing amenities and approvals for exterior decorating. It will clearly define how to use the condominium.
How to Buy a Condo?
When buying a condo, your deposit will cover anywhere between 3% and 20% of the purchase price. The general amount for a deposit is 10% of the list price.
Many people are unaware that buying a condo may be more challenging than buying a house. Let’s look at the steps you should take when buying a condo.
Does a Condo Fit Your Lifestyle?
Condominiums have been a popular choice of property because it offers property ownership, a secure sense of community, and high-quality maintenance service by the HOA.
If you prefer to live in the city where you can reach the local stores and entertainment, but you don’t look forward to the upkeep of a house, then a condo could be the answer.
If you don’t enjoy congestion or the hustle of the city, then a condo may not be the best choice.
Consider the Costs
When you buy a condo, the costs include the mortgage, the deposit, insurance cover, and complex fees. The rates that you will be required to pay to the HOA will depend on the size of the units, the types of amenities available, and whether any major repairs (roof replacement) are needed.
Don’t Buy a Condo with Issues
Many condos have been subject to cases of bankruptcy and legal problems.
If you find a condo in a good location and at a good price, look into its history. This can prevent you from making a poor purchase decision.
Buying a House or a Condo? Which Should You Pick?
If you’re looking to make a valuable property purchase, then both a condo and a house are great options.
What is most attractive about a condo is its ease of maintenance. While you pay a body corporate or HOA fee every month, you have peace of mind that all aspects of the condo you own will be managed and repaired. All you need to focus on is creating a cozy and modern interior!
A house comes with maintenance but on the plus side, it is separate from other properties, so you benefit from independence and privacy. You also have the choice to purchase a home in the city or in the country.
Condos are also less expensive than houses and you won’t have to be concerned with maintaining the garden or shoveling snow in the winter. On the downside, it can be more difficult to receive financing for condos compared to a house.
Modern condos offer access to amenities including swimming pools, gyms, and social areas. A house can prevent you from connecting to your community. You will have to make extra effort to become involved in your community when living in a house.
Remember that condos are governed by the HOA where a house is not. If you do not wish to have your living space regulated by an independent body, then perhaps a house is a better choice for your lifestyle.
Is a Condo Better than an Apartment?
Each style of property will have its own set of pros and cons. It is up to you to look into the features, amenities, and affordability that best suit your needs.
Buying a condo can be a valuable investment while an apartment that is economical and secure could make a better choice for a family.
The Pros and Cons of a Condo vs Apartment vs House
Both condos and apartments are maintained by the body corporate, or the maintenance team assigned to the unit. Houses are your full responsibility to maintain.
Plumbing, electricity, roof repairs, and general outdoor cleans are performed by the property manager of an apartment.
Remember, condos require payment to an HOA for property upkeep. You will not have to pay extra fees for the maintenance of an apartment.
Apartments are to rent while you can rent or own a condo.
You can also rent, or you can own a house.
You cannot modify an apartment that you are renting. You may include new furniture and decor to update the look and feel of your new apartment. Tenants cannot apply fixtures and structural changes.
When you own a condominium, you can change the tiles, paint the walls, add shelving, and even replace the kitchen cabinets. While you are restricted in terms of demolishing walls and altering the plumbing or electrical wiring, you can do a lot more to personalize and improve the value of your condo compared to an apartment.
You can change a house as you wish provided you have purchased the property and you are not renting it.
Consider Policies if You Have Pets
Apartments and condos differ in terms of permitting pets. It is up to you to determine whether pets will be allowed. Condos generally have bigger spaces than an apartment, which could make it easier to keep pets; however, whether you own or rent a condo, keeping a pet will be subject to the rules of the unit.
Is It Worth It to Own a Condo?
Because a condo is considered real estate that you can invest in, it will appreciate in value but this also depends on the type of condo and the location.
Purchasing a condominium in the city will appreciate much faster than outlying areas. If we compare the appreciation of a condo to a single-family house, the house will increase in value faster than the condo.
If you are looking for a condominium to invest in, do your research. Look at condos that are trending including desirable locations. The more popular a location, the less challenging you will find the future resale of the property.
A condo is certainly worth owning if you can invest in a well-priced unit with access to modern amenities. Remember the target market for condos includes young singles and professionals rather than large families.
The worth of a condo is not only about the physical property, it is also about the way it can satisfy your lifestyle and help you create a home where you feel comfortable, relaxed, and safe.
Do I Choose a Condo, Apartment, or a House?
The answer to this question depends on individual lifestyles and circumstances. Each type of property has its own pros and cons whether you're buying a condo or renting an apartment. The choice really depends on your life stage and your affordability.
If you have started a new job or you’ve just started saving towards buying property, then renting an apartment offers convenient and affordable options until you can finance your own place. If you are single and working in the city while looking for an investment opportunity, then a condo is a more practical choice.
By weighing the pros and the cons of each type of property, you can decide whether a condo, a house, or an apartment is the best choice for your needs.