You’re looking for a little more space, but you’re not sure you’re ready to own your own single-family home yet. Or maybe you’re looking to downsize from your current home.
If this sounds familiar, a condo might be right for you. Here are some pros and cons of condo living to consider before you make any decisions.
Pros of condo living
- Affordability: If you’re not ready for the financial obligations of home ownership, condo living can provide a more affordable option. You’ll save money by eliminating many of the upkeep-related costs associated with home ownership while enjoying the same tax breaks that homeowners enjoy. Your wallet will also benefit since things like a landscaping, snow removal and amenities like a pool are all shared expenses.
- Convenience: Many condo buildings are located close to shops, restaurants, entertainment venues and business districts.
- Less upkeep: A condo’s manageable size means less cleaning and home maintenance. The unit’s exterior is managed by the board, which frees up even more of your time.
- Access to amenities: Many condos offer amenities such as courtesy patrols, pools, tennis courts, fitness facilities and a 24-hour concierge.
- It’s usually yours: While it’s possible to rent a condo, you’re probably in the market to buy one. From now on, you’ll cut a check that goes toward paying down the principal instead of just paying rent.
Cons of condo living
- Unexpected costs: Condos are often an affordable ownership option. But you still need to make sure you understand all of the associated expenses. This can include assessments, association fees and any extra fees for use of the facilities. You may also face unexpected assessments to pay for one-time maintenance projects like a new roof.
- Limited parking: Home ownership offers you your own driveway, but condo parking is often limited and may not be near your unit.
- Limited yard space: No yard maintenance is nice, but along with it you could also lose access to your own green space or the opportunity to plant your own garden.
- Lack of privacy: Condos don’t offer the same privacy of a standalone home. Some condos have poor soundproofing as well, so when the children next door start racing around, you’ll hear every step.
- Regulations: When you own a condo, you’re subject to the rules of the condo board or bylaws. These rules can place restrictions on use of outdoor space, pet ownership, renovations and even things as small as hanging a clothes line or working on your car in your driveway. Every condominium has different rules, so be sure to review the bylaws of any unit you’re interested in.
In addition to these pros and cons, condo insurance is another thing you’ll want to consider.