Condo vs. Single Family Home
Ready to fight!
So you’re ready to buy a house and you have a few people telling you, “Get a condo, it’s so much easier!” But a few others are chirping, “No, you want your own space right? Get a house!!” So what do you do?
First, tell your friends to make expertly detailed lists of the pros and cons and submit them to you within 1 week. They won’t do it, so here’s a blog instead.
I was going to make a list of pros and cons but I decided to write this more from personal experience to get you into my thought process. Disclosure: we ended up buying a house, but a condo may work much better for you.
My Experience We started looking for something to buy in 2017. I was pretty sure I wanted a house but I did consider condos (especially stand alone condos).
For me, connected condos were not likely going to work – I wanted to escape other people’s noise and, as a musician and avid music fan, I didn’t want to drive other people crazy with my music. What occurred to me later was also the fact we have a dog and generally condos do not have fences and you’re not allowed to put one in. (I realize in retrospect it’s not vital – if my dog needs to go outside, I hook him up to 20-30′ long leashes attached to railings in our front and back yard, so I could have done this in a condo setting, too).
I was also a bit nervous about HOA rules and fees. I’ve heard some horror stories about HOAs online and was definitely nervous about that (though my husband and friends reiterated when people are happy, they don’t write about it on the internet, so you’re only going to read horror stories).
So instead of going for a condo, we bought a house………………in an HOA community. Glutton for punishment, I guess, but thankfully crazy low dues and we get access to a pool. Also very few rules. Our yard/property belong to us and we have to do all the maintenance but we’d need permission to add an outside structure (deck, patio, porch, shed, etc.) but it seems pretty easy to get approval.
2 Years Later…
We’ve definitely had our share of positives and negatives owning our own home. Never had an issues with the HOA and we do enjoy going to the pool in the summer. The grumpy neighbor who used to live across from us moved and now we have cool neighbors who don’t complain about our lawn.
I’ve enjoyed being able to play music here, sing my lungs out, have parties with loud music and dancing). I like that we come home to our own place. My dog enjoys it, too.
We’ve been able to renovate some rooms (kitchen, bathroom, basement) so far which is cool because it reflects our style and will hopefully help with resale value whenever we choose to sell the house. You can paint and do some renovations in condos but you can’t necessarily make all the changes you could in a house.
I have not enjoyed all the maintenance problems we’ve had to deal with. A buried electrical cable died earlier this year.
poor driveway, I hardly knew ye
We had a dead outlet problem, leaking AC unit in the attic, etc. These are not fun things to deal with (or pay for). But these types of things do come with house purchases. I like being honest about it because when you’re buying a house, it’s always good to have a rainy day fun and expect that SOMETHING will break. Hopefully not right away, especially if your house is in good/newer shape. Our house is from the ’70s so who knows what will pop up!
So this is just my personal experience so far with considering a condo, picking a house, and the pros and cons of now owning a house. A house has ended up working out for us as a purchase, but you may find a condo suits your needs just fine and may be more within your budget.