How to Decide if Buying a Condo Is Right for You

How to Decide if Buying a Condo Is Right for You

Considering condo living? There are perks but also important factors to weigh. Here’s what to keep in mind before investing in the condominium of your dreams.

Consider monthly fees ...

It’s true: You don’t need to worry about mowing the lawn, but most condo buildings charge a monthly fee for keeping common areas in top shape. Homeowners’ association (HOA) fees may vary depending on building amenities, and fees may increase upon assessment. Elevator access and a doorman could quickly hike up monthly living costs by thousands per year.

... and the perks of upkeep with ease

But the fees may be worth it. With multiple units in the building, your HOA fees may make taking care of the space surrounding your unit easier, especially for first-time homeowners. Condo owners may forget about fixing a leaky roof, cleaning gutters or year-round landscaping projects.

Trade (some) privacy for community

Even if you love your neighbors, condo living could pose challenges for those who may enjoy the privacy of a single-family home. There may be shared areas such as a pool, firepit or garden; however, these spaces could also encourage interactions with your neighbors and create a sense of community.

Keep condo financing in mind

Interest rates for condo mortgages may be higher than for a single-family home or townhome, in part due to the added risk of being part of a shared complex. In some cases, mortgage rates could be as much as a quarter of a percent higher for a condo purchase than a house. For example, if you purchase a $200,000 condo versus a $200,000 single-family home, you may pay $300 more in interest per year. Loan requirements for a condo may also be stricter than a regular home mortgage, as you and the condo association must meet certain eligibility guidelines.

Tap into amenities ...

New condo buildings are especially heavy on extras (included in the cost of monthly fees). Think fitness studio, parking garage, indoor and/or outdoor pool, and a rooftop terrace for summertime fun. One drawback: less control over noise disruptions, especially during the warmer months.

... and the location

There are perks even when you step outside your building. When compared with single-family homes, condo units are often located in the middle of the action. If proximity to dining and entertainment is your goal, condo living may be right for you.

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