Imagine walking out onto your balcony and hearing the steady rhythm of the waves crashing down on the shore. In the distance you see a flock of seagulls flying in front of the white clouds, but you look down at everyone lying next to the pool, just steps from the beach, and think about going downstairs for a round of tennis as soon as you’re done with your morning coffee.
No, you didn’t wake up at a five-star resort – you’re simply enjoying the good life from the comfort of your own private condo.
It’s not difficult to see why condos are such an extremely popular type of housing. And while not all units are going to offer incredible vistas or be located in oceanfront buildings, there’s no avoiding the fact that life in a condo offers a far different experience than that of a single-family house or townhome.
Why Condos Are So Popular
It’s obvious to see the draw of an oceanfront luxury unit, but condos have a lot more to offer than just a great view and resort-like amenities. To some young professionals, the biggest benefits include a great central location and responsibility-free lifestyle. For retirees, condos are often a popular choice because of their friendly, community-focused atmosphere and laid-back setting.
Need a little bit more convincing that the condo life is right for you? Here are a few of the biggest advantages of living in a condominium:
Fewer Responsibilities – Hate mowing the lawn? What about painting the fence or pressure washing the driveway? If none of these chores sound like any fun, you understand exactly why so many people prefer living in condos.
Sense of Community – Want to feel like part of a community? You’ll be right at home in a condo. From planned community-wide events to casual conversations by the pool, making friends is rarely a challenge.
Location – It isn’t too often that you’ll see single-family homes in the heart of a vibrant, urban area, but condos aren’t that uncommon a sight. For residents, this can mean always being nearby to plenty of options for shopping, dining, and entertainment.
Less Cleaning – By-and-large, condos are typically smaller than comparable single-family homes. But while some people may see this as a negative, many condo residents appreciate having less space to clean – especially those that moved into their units to downsize from their previous residences.
The Hidden Costs
Living in a condo isn’t all fun and games – there are definitely some negatives that you should take into consideration before making the jump into condo ownership.
First and foremost, there are the hidden costs: monthly homeowner association or condo association fees. Sure, some single-family neighborhoods will charge association dues as well, but they’re typically much less than those in a condo.
In most cases, expect to pay anywhere from $350 to $700 or more per month – depending upon the property – on top of your mortgage, taxes, and home owner’s insurance.
However, keep in mind that while your condo association fees may initially sound high, they also pay for your roof maintenance and repair as well as your wind (hurricane) insurance. Those are costs that single family home owners must cover on their own. They are not included in HOA fees.
As a rule of thumb, the more expensive and luxurious the property, the higher its dues will be. Sometimes though, poor management can force less-stellar properties to charge outrageous fees. Always find out the cost of monthly dues before every thinking about making an offer.
But that’s not all: on top of having to pay extra each month, a few other common complaints about condo life include:
Lack of Privacy – You don’t need to be an extremely social person to live in a condo, but you do need to be comfortable with having little privacy outside of your unit. Plus, depending on the design of the building, you very well may have neighbors on each side of you as well as above and below.
Condo Association Rules – Compared to typical residential neighborhoods, most condos have strict rules and regulations that govern their residents. From size limits on pets to restrictions on what you can leave out on your balcony, expect to deal with more scrutiny than you would in a single-family house.
Less Green Space – In a condo, you’re much more likely to be surrounded by concrete rather than green space. While this may not be an issue for everyone – especially if there are terrific parks nearby – others appreciate having a luscious green backyard to call their own.
What Do You Think?
Not everyone is going to be happy living in a condo. Some buyers simply prefer a little more privacy and space than you can get in a condominium. For others, however, condos remain one of the most desirable types of housing on the market, and that trend isn’t likely to change any time soon.
What about you? What are the most and least attractive aspects of condo life in your opinion?