Wondering if buying a condo will be worth it in the long run — or the short-term?
If you feel you’re past the point of renting, but don’t relish the maintenance commitment of a single family home, owning a condo can be a good middle-of-the-road option.
To help you decide if condo living is worth it (and right for you), we’ve gathered insights on the potential highlights and drawbacks of purchasing a condo.
Pros of owning a condo
There are many advantages to owning a condo, but these top four benefits may help you determine if buying a condo is worth it for your lifestyle and budget.
1. Low-maintenance living
When condo owners write their weekly to-do lists, tedious chores like mowing the lawn aren’t typically part of the equation. Think, too, about how much you (don’t) enjoy shoveling your driveway in the winter or bagging up leaves in the fall. For some potential homebuyers, not worrying about yard work and maintenance may be the only reason they need to buy a condo instead of a single-family home. If worry-free property upkeep is something you are interested in, a condo could be worth it for you.
And if you’re wondering how condo owners get away with hassle-free homeownership, know that they pay monthly condo HOA fees to their homeowners' association, which manages various services and amenities on their behalf.
2. Safety first
Many condo buildings go the extra mile to ensure a safe environment for their residents. So if you make the decision to own a condo, you may benefit from security features that you may not have purchased for a single-family home.
Your condo complex may have special amenities or services, including:
- On-site security personnel
- Camera or video surveillance
- Locked access to community facilities
- Gated and well-lit parking areas
- Remote access for delivery
Whether you want guaranteed Amazon delivery or to simply know that you’re not alone as you walk into your home late at night, security can help make a condo feel worth the price of ownership.
3. Urban atmosphere
For some city slickers, the simple promise of living near the bright lights, tall buildings and exciting nightlife of Minneapolis or St. Paul may be reason enough to own a condo. While condos are available across cities, suburbs and even in outstate areas, they are commonly found in larger cities and densely populated areas.
Also, it’s no secret that rental prices in the city are rising and so are the costs of single-family homes in urban areas. If you’re a city dweller that’s ready for your own place, but you also want to remain car-free, minimize a downtown commute or stay near the hustle and bustle of a city, owning a condo can be an affordable choice that provides the lifestyle you want.
4. Intelligent investment
Investment alone can make a condo worth it. If deciding whether to rent or buy, consider that condo costs can be comparable to renting. If you could be contributing to your own wealth rather than your landlord’s, why wouldn’t you?
Cons of condo ownership
Of course, condo ownership is not a 100% win, because nothing in life is. Here are two potential disadvantages of condo living.
1. Money matters
Although you will pay condo HOA fees that contribute to upkeep and maintenance of common spaces, not all costs will be shared by the association. In addition to those monthly dues, you will likely have to pay for in-unit fixes out of pocket.
Be prepared to budget above and beyond the typical HOA fee for a washer that breaks outside of warranty or a fraying carpet that needs replacing. Remember, though, that you would be responsible for paying for those repairs whether you own a condo or a house.
2. Shared decisions
Simply stated, as a condo owner, your HOA fees may end up paying for amenities or services that you don’t use or care about. Amenities like a new gym may be a selling point for Bodybuilder Brad and expensive landscaping may add curb appeal to the property. But when it comes down to footing the bill, everyone (including you) is required to pitch in — whether they agree with the fee or not.
Aside from money frustrations, you may also want to consider other ways you could disagree with the HOA. Some HOAs have many rules, so at times it may seem like everything — from front door wreaths to parking spots — is tightly regulated. While these rules can help keep the peace in shared spaces, you may find things you wish were done differently.
Key points and next steps
Is freedom from early morning snow shoveling worth the lack of control you may have on other condo decisions (like what decorations you can display on your patio)?
Do you want a “stepping stone” property to transition you from renting to buying a larger single-family home? Or perhaps you are on the other end of the spectrum, and you’re ready to downsize from a large home in the suburbs to a comfortable downtown condo?
No matter where you are coming from or where you plan to go, it’s important to consider these benefits and disadvantages to determine if condo buying is worth it for you.
If you’re ready to make the next step, our customer care team can set you up with a condo specialist seven days a week.