When buying a home, you have a lot of choices to choose from. On your journey to buying a home, you will be compelled to evaluate a number of factors, one of the most significant of which is: What style of home would you like to live in?
If you don’t want to live in a detached single-family home, you’ll have to choose between a condo and an apartment.
There are a lot of similarities between the two, as well as a lot of variances. It’s a case of considering the advantages and disadvantages of each and balancing them against the rest of the decisions you’ve made regarding your perfect home.
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What is an apartment?
Apartments are usually smaller, have strict pet laws, and limit your ability to personalize or customize your space. However, there are some advantages to living in an apartment. In most cases, maintenance is taken care of for you, and you won’t have to pay any association fees.
Advantages of An Apartment
Maintenance is usually the landlord’s or body corporate’s responsibility in most apartments. Landlords often have a handyman who can address a wide range of issues, and a responsive contractor is likely simply a phone call away for more specialized needs.
Some large apartment buildings even provide a 24-hour helpline, so you don’t have to worry if your sink clogs in the middle of the night. You also won’t have to worry about sweeping roads, mowing lawns, or garden maintenance.
You may, however, be responsible for some non-structural maintenance within your apartment. Maintenance is commonly given at no additional charge because it is included in your monthly rent.
2. Reduced cost
When comparing an apartment and a house with the same number of bedrooms, renting an apartment is often less expensive than paying a mortgage. The cost of purchasing a home has begun to grow, and mortgage rates are not decreasing.
On the other hand, the number of local property markets where the monthly rent is less expensive is increasing all the time.
Another benefit of renting an apartment in a large building is having access to amenities that would be too expensive otherwise.
A swimming pool, a fitness center or gym, a public outdoor grilling space, and a security system are all possible amenities for an apartment complex.
These pleasures are available to tenants at no additional cost. However, even if a home has a pool, it comes with a slew of duties, including paying for installation, maintenance, and cleaning.
4. Utilities are cheaper
Because homes are larger than apartments, utilities such as electricity, gas, cable, water, and trash are often more expensive. Utility bills, on the other hand, fluctuate depending on a variety of parameters such as apartment size, usage rates, location, and latitude.
Large apartment complexes generally invest in the overall safety of their occupants by installing 24-hour video monitoring or other measures of security, such as security guards and a code to gain access to the building that is only known by the tenants.
The majority of the time, this is done at no extra charge. Furthermore, living in close quarters with others makes you less vulnerable than living in a quiet and secluded environment.
The majority of the time, there will be at least two flats on each floor, ensuring that even if a burglar gets past security, there will be at least one witness.
Most apartment developers conduct thorough research before constructing complexes in order to select locations that are close to services and amenities such as retail centers, schools, workplaces, and entertainment venues. Single-family homes, on the other hand, are typically located further away from such conveniences.
7. Sense of community
When you live in a huge apartment, you get a sense of belonging. Because you live so close to your neighbors, it helps you to build bonds and perhaps lifelong friendships with them.
When you need assistance in an emergency, your neighbors can aid. If you have children, you won’t have to worry about them finding playmates because they won’t have to go far for playdates.
8. No real estate taxes
When you live in an apartment complex, you don’t have to worry about paying real estate taxes, which may be a significant expense for homeowners. The more the property tax, the bigger the house.
9. There are no deposits required
When you buy a house with a mortgage, you must make a substantial down payment. Moving into an apartment building, on the other hand, does not require a large deposit.
Typically, landlords will want a rental deposit equivalent to one month’s rent, which is substantially less than the down payment you would spend on a comparable home.
Disadvantages of An Apartment
Unfortunately, living in an apartment complex brings with it a double-edged sword: close proximity to neighbors. For example, if your apartment has thin walls, your neighbors may be able to hear everything that goes on inside, compromising your privacy.
Living in close quarters with a group of people entails dealing with noise from a variety of sources. When your upstairs neighbor plays bass guitar or the dogs next door bark at strange hours of the night, living in an apartment complex may be a nightmare.
If your apartment is not soundproof, the noise will be increased, resulting in a less than pleasant living environment.
3. Small living space and outdoor space
Because apartments are often smaller than houses, size is often a compromise while living in one.
Smaller rooms come with a lower price, so you’ll just have to get used to living with less furniture and appliances so your space isn’t too crowded. Similarly, living in an apartment means sacrificing private outdoor space in exchange for floor space and a balcony.
4. Parking issues
If you own a car, you must constantly examine the availability of parking spaces in an apartment complex.
Although the majority of them will have assigned parking, this does not guarantee that your space will always be available, particularly if one of your neighbors decides to park in your spot. If you don’t have a designated parking spot, you’ll have to find on-street parking, which isn’t always easy.
5. Renovation restriction
When it comes to renovations, some apartment complexes have tight guidelines. This is frequently stated in the lease agreement, or your landlord will expressly request that you not change any of the fixtures or paint the walls. As a result, you have very little influence over your area, especially when it comes to personalizing it.
6. Decision-making systems by body corporate
A building’s body corporate is a group of apartment owners. They are in charge of making judgments on how residences are used.
It’s ideal to have a shared decision-making structure, but it’s not uncommon to find yourself hardly knowing the people who decide what you can and can’t do in your flat. You usually don’t get a say in these decisions if you’re merely a tenant.
7. Conflict with neighbors
Living in peace with your neighbors is good when you’re a renter in an apartment building. However, disagreements are unavoidable, particularly if your neighbors are a pain in the neck.
This could lead to an unpleasant living condition, especially if you have to engage with them on a regular basis.
What is a Condominium?
A condominium, also known as a “condo,” is a privately owned apartment that is part of a larger community of units. Pools, garages, elevators, and outside halls and gyms, to name a few, are shared common amenities that condo owners jointly own. While most condominiums are situated in high-rise buildings, detached condos are available in select markets.
According to Holly Leonard, a real estate agent and owner of Haven Real Estate Brokers in Atlanta, “a homeowners association often controls the common spaces and oversees the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) that apply to the property.” “A ‘common interest development’ is a term used to describe condominiums.”
Related: Condo vs Townhouse: Which One is Right For You?
Advantages of Condominium
1. Offers greater security
Unlike owning a house in a metropolitan neighborhood, the biggest advantage of living in a condominium is assured security throughout the year. The property will be safe not only while you go to the office or when you are on the premises, but also when you decide to take a vacation.
A closed-circuit security system is also installed in the building’s communal rooms, stairwells, and hallways. Another benefit of living in a condominium is that it has its own private police force that patrols the area on a regular basis.
2. It has a better location
The majority of condominiums are located near commercial centers, schools, workplaces, hospitals, bus stops, and, on rare occasions, the city center.
Condominiums with better locations in urban development regions are easier to find because apartment complexes take up less space than dwelling buildings.
3. It has maintenance of common areas
The places within the building known as common use areas, which are usually the corridors, stairs, elevators, walkways, parking, soccer or basketball courts, patio, garden, and area of washed, are one of the essential differences of a condominium.
There are also large residences with amenities such as a pool, gym, and event space. In general, they provide cleaning, gardening, and maintenance services for the common areas, which is a significant benefit of living in a condominium because maintenance is not the responsibility of the owners.
4. Maintains more accessible prices
Buying a condo in Surrey in a gated community or in a high-value region of the city is more expensive than living in a condominium.
If you apply for a mortgage loan to buy a condominium, on the other hand, the debt will be paid off in a shorter amount of time than if you bought a house.
As a result, if you are single or newly married and do not want to have children, it is a good alternative because your economy will benefit and you will have the possibility to invest in real estate in the future.
Disadvantages of a Condo
1. Payment for maintenance and repair fees
As mentioned above, the maintenance service of the common areas can be a great advantage, but it is also one of the disadvantages of living in a condominium if you do not have enough purchasing power.
This fee is set based on the characteristics of the condominium and the conditions stipulated in the sale contract. Due to this, it may be a monthly or annual fee and must be included in your personal finances.
2. Reduced space within the property
The reduced space is more than a disadvantage is the main disadvantage for families with children and pets. Usually, the square meters that an apartment has been less than those of a house.
They also have fewer bedrooms, bathrooms, and often no patio. So if you are one of those people who love nature, you will not be able to have a garden at home and you will have to settle for a small garden or potted plants.
In addition, another of the disadvantages of living in a condominium is that you will not be able to remodel or enlarge your property, since you do not have enough space to build.
3. Frequent noises
Living in a condominium is being very close to other apartments, so noise can filter through at any time of day. Although this problem can be solved in a neighborhood meeting or with the administration, it is still a disadvantage when wanting to rest.
On the other hand, the condominiums being built in strategic points can be surrounded by external noise such as vehicular traffic, gyms, or restaurants. For this reason, it is very important that you consider the location so that it does not become a disadvantage.
4. Easy deterioration in common areas
Due to the constant use that is given to the common areas, they can be easily damaged and more if the administration does not stipulate a regulation for the use of these. You should even be prepared in case the maintenance fees rise surprisingly.
However, there is nothing that cannot be solved by talking and creating neighborhood awareness. Condos tend to have more unique layouts and design styles, making it easier to personalize your home and having more relaxed pet regulations. However, keep in mind that the property will almost certainly come with condo association fees and a condo association.
Difference between Condo & Apartment
Ownership is the main difference between a condo and an apartment. Condominiums or buildings are usually managed by an association of owners or investors, but each unit or apartment usually has an owner.
You must understand the concept of horizontal property in order to acquire a condominium. That is a special possession that involves buildings divided into units (departments or offices) that can be used independently.
This type of property is characterized by the coexistence of two types of property rights: the individual, over a unit, and the collective that makes up the condominium or building, over the common areas of the entire construction.
If you are an expert investor with enough capital, you have the option of buying a condominium, as if it were home or a business.
If you buy a new condo, you have the option of renting or selling each apartment. However, if you buy an inhabited condominium, you will have to negotiate with the owners of each housing unit.
When you invest in a condominium you can establish the operating rules of the building. The owner’s administration is in charge of enforcing the defined standards, and these apply to all the units that make up the building.
Aside from the guidelines created to administer the property and handle maintenance, the condominium administration must respect the decisions of individual unit owners, such as whether they want to put a mirrored wall inside their apartment, change the type of floor, and so on.
That is, the owner’s own controls apply within each unit. The rules established by the administration of the condominium include that the owners must pay some fees, which help to finance the maintenance of the common areas and the exteriors of the buildings.
The rent of an apartment establishes a fixed monthly amount according to the length of the lease and can increase at the time of renewal. Some apartments can be rented on a monthly or short-term basis, but it is more common to work on annual contracts.
The costs of renting an apartment depend on the market rates and the availability of the unit. Utilities are frequently not included in the rent, thus they would be a separate expense.
If you are renting a condo, the payments will also be a fixed amount during the rental period, unless the agreement states otherwise. The rental rate for a condo is up to the owner. Some landlords include management and utility fees as part of the condo rental.
The apartments have standard features that are the same throughout the community or condominium.
Sometimes there are different units available taking into account the number of rooms or if they are equipped with furniture and appliances. Also, upgraded units can be found if the owner is investing in the structure.
Condo and apartment amenities may include: free parking, laundry, pool, gym, party room, park, grill area, etc; all these elements make the property attractive. The more luxurious the condo, the broader the range of details available.
While condo amenities are nearly the same as those enjoyed by unit owners and renters, inside the condo features can be unique and even luxurious (granite countertops, marble or wood floors, vaulted ceilings) because they improve the quality and give greater value to the specific property.
Typically, when owning a condo, unit owners are not allowed to make major structural modifications like knocking down walls, building an additional balcony, etc. If you are the owner of a condominium, you can authorize renovations for the shared spaces of the building.
Buying an apartment involves a lower maintenance fee when compared to the cost of maintenance of an entire condominium. Being in charge of a building, services must be guaranteed 24 hours a day and an impeccable structure at all times.
In general, the problems that arise in a condominium must be solved on time and can be solved even if the owner or investor is not present.
In an apartment, the landlord is responsible for the upkeep of the unit, which could mean more long-term expenses, especially when the property is in long-term use.
House in a closed condominium wins by far in this regard. Generally, a house gives you much more freedom than an apartment. In addition, many have a backyard or reserved gourmet space. Besides, you don’t need to rely on the good sense of the neighbor above not to drag furniture at dawn or use the drill at 6 am.
7. Property size
With the value of the square meter getting higher, the apartments are getting leaner. Even if nothing prevents the houses from being small, it is possible to build two floors, for example, to give more space to residents.
However, if you live alone and don’t intend to raise your family anytime soon, it doesn’t justify investing in a bigger property, because it can generate more expenses with maintenance (energy, gas, cleaning, etc.).
8. Number of residents
Although in both types of buildings there is greater coexistence between people, the greater the number of residents, the more disputed the common space and the greater the wear and tear on the structure.
9. Pets and plants
Of course, nothing prevents you from having plants and pets in the apartments. But depending on the importance you give them, houses are better. Five dogs living with you on 45 m² may not be so comfortable.
Finding low-cost apartments in different locations is much easier. As they are, in general, larger houses in a closed condominium may demand a higher investment.
What is the best option?
The decision between a condo and an apartment is generally based on your personal and financial situation. People who prefer flexibility and less responsibility will often choose to rent an apartment.
People who want to enter the real estate market or invest their savings will prefer to buy a condo. Apartments and condos have their own pros and cons. Before making a decision, think about your own short- and long-term objectives.