Differences between an Apartment and a Condo
The process of deciding on a new home can be overwhelming and at times, confusing. It’s hard enough to decide on a location, let alone what type of housing is best suited to your needs. Many people find themselves wondering what the real difference is between an apartment and a condo, for example. While each offers a similar living style and architectural format, choosing one over the other can present challenges. To set the record straight, here are a few key differences every would-be homeowner or renter should be aware of.
Ownership vs. renting
The one main difference between the two is ownership. Condos are usually bought on a loan and owned by the resident, whereas apartments are most often rented. Apartment units are housed within a complex owned by a single entity—often a corporation and then leased out to individual tenants, while condo units are individually owned and managed under the umbrella of a condo Homeowner’s Association (HOA), sometimes with the help of a property management company. When you rent a condo, the individual condo owner is your landlord. Ownership, however, provides many benefits that renting doesn’t. The ability to customize your condo with new appliances, windows and rooms is an advantage one does not get with apartments. If you are looking to stay in one place long term, a condo is likely the best option.
Apartments generally come with a basic roster of amenities, such as one parking spot, on-site laundry, free maintenance, and maybe a gym, or access to an outdoor pool during the summer. Condo amenities vary a little more since the amenities available depend on what kinds of amenities are administered through the HOA. In larger condo complexes, you can expect such amenities to include a concierge, gym, pool, lounge, and outdoor areas. Typically, the maintenance of these shared amenities is an expense shared by everyone in the building, in order to ensure the highest quality upkeep, while owners are responsible for repairs inside their individual units.
Cost of renting
The cost of renting an apartment or a condo is relatively similar, although because condos usually come with several more high-end appliances, the cost may be slightly higher—you get what you pay for, however, when you opt for a condo. It’s also worth noting that condo owners often include utilities and HOA fees in the cost of the monthly rent, so there are fewer payments to worry about. There is also a higher incentive for condo owners to invest in their unit, both for the purpose of increasing rental income as well as for the sake of future property values, so condos are a lot less likely than apartments to be “rough around the edges.”
The real consideration when deciding between a condo and an apartment is what your plans are for the next few years. Do you feel ready to take the plunge and commit to paying off a condo? Renting your condo is possible, although the renting rules differ for each condo association. On the other hand, if you are unsure you can commit to staying in one place or are not financially stable just yet, renting may be your best option.
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