Condo vs House: Choosing the Right Housing Option That Works for You
Many first-time homebuyers can get caught with indecisiveness by the diversity of housing options available, particularly in urban regions. From condominiums and townhouses to detached homes, apartments, and other different types of property to invest in, each residence has a unique set of features.
When determining the most suitable type of residence, buyers should consider their budget and lifestyle as well as the level of commitment to home maintenance they are willing to dedicate.
For some, the choices are narrowed down to two: a traditional house versus a condominium. Condo ownership covers the living space inside the condo unit and the right to use the condo building’s common area, whereas home ownership includes both the house and the land beneath it.
As much as both types of housing have pros and cons, your individual needs, preferences, and money-saving habits can help you decide whether a single-family house or a condo unit is the one that’s ideal for you.
What is a house?
This question may come off as too simple and self-explanatory, but it’s necessary to review our terminology for comparison purposes.
A house is a self-contained residential structure that has four exterior walls, which are not connected to any other dwelling property. In general, it’s situated on a large lot with a yard in the front or rear, and the homeowner also owns the land and any other structures on the property, such as a detached garage or in-law unit.
While there are row houses built side by side on short lots—typically in highly crowded cities—a more common example is the suburban home on a large lot with a handful of trees and a huge grass to mow.
What is a condo?
A condominium allows you to be as hands-off as possible regarding home ownership. A condo is located in a communal structure or complex and is often considerably smaller than a house in terms of square footage.
Although some developers build condos that seem like multilevel townhouses, many of these types of units are visually indistinguishable from rental apartments. Condos are frequently less expensive than townhouses in part because they do not include land. The outside of the units, as well as the property surrounding them, is designated as a common area shared by all condo owners in the community.
Condos entail monthly and maintenance costs. Condo owners pay monthly homeowner association (HOA) fees just like townhouse owners do, albeit theirs may be much more. Condo community HOA fees include caring for the unit’s exterior, insurance fees for roofs, elevators, and parking structures, and maintenance services such as trash and snow removal.
Condos are ideal for individuals who want to own real estate at a low cost and want to live close to their place of work or spots for rest and recreation.
Differences and Similarities Between a House and a Condo
Apart from monthly and maintenance costs, there are also condo corporation rules. It’s possible to purchase condo townhouses that look like freehold houses as not all condos are in buildings. The majority of condos are located on main thoroughfares with convenient access to major roads, such as freeways. Condo investments are usually newly launched projects from real estate companies and thus require less maintenance.
On the other hand, houses are what you would visualize in quieter and more peaceful neighborhoods, whether in the form of detached, semi-detached, or row houses. Major streets contain very few homes because many of them have already been turned into commercial buildings and condo developments.
Houses are generally bigger than condos, allowing for more family members and several student renters. With a bigger size, it’s possible to find houses with two, three, or four apartments, too.
Pros and Cons of Living in a Condo or a House
If you’re just getting started in property ownership, condos can be a great investment choice. With a condo, you’ll need less money for a down payment since it’s likely to be more affordable than a house.
Condos also tend to be smaller than houses so you can expect to pay lesser maintenance costs. If you own a house, you have to deal with front or backyard cleaning, roof leak inspections, and more.
Meanwhile, an owner of a house can generate more income if its size allows for extra room for rental. Houses are also set in neighborhoods, and many new homes are constructed as part of master-planned complexes. You can also rest assured that the property’s four walls and yard are all yours.
Buyers should always analyze all aspects of home ownership before deciding on which house to get, more so if you’r buying foreclosed properties.
7 Considerations When Choosing Between a Condo and a House
Investing in a condo unit or a house investment can be a daunting long-term undertaking, so take the time to examine the following factors concerning the two options.
The affordability of a condo compared to a house is one of the main reasons most buyers prefer to purchase a condo over a house.
Condos are generally less expensive than houses because they are smaller and you do not own the land. In addition, there is frequently a community room in a condo that you share with the other occupants. Still, even if condos are less expensive than detached houses, the cost will vary depending on the area.
All types of properties come with recurrent expenses such as electricity and water bills and even waste disposal. With a condo, you can save money on these things as you will be sharing some of the costs with the other residents. When you invest in a house, you will have to shoulder all these necessities by yourself, which translates to higher bills.
Insurance cost is unavoidable regardless of whether you opt for a condo or a house. Most of the time, getting insurance is a requirement for your mortgage, which means additional costs. Since you will need to safeguard all parts of your property (including the land), the price of house insurance will be higher. By comparison, condo insurance is less expensive because the amenities are shared.
Again, buying a condo instead of a house means you don’t have to bear complete responsibility for maintenance. You will have to pay a monthly maintenance fee, just like the other residents. This money will be used for things like maintaining the driveway, landscaping, and security services around the building.
On the other hand, because you are exclusively accountable for everything that happens inside your home property, a house has higher upkeep expenditures. The good news is that there will be no monthly maintenance fees, which may save you a great deal of money.
A house can afford you a lot more privacy because the property stands on its own as opposed to a condo. A single-family home can also give you more control over who can enter your property unlike in a condo where visitors of other tenants come and go. However, when you take into account the privilege of owning a home with four walls, that level of privacy raises the cost of home ownership.
Many people prioritize convenience while looking for their next investment property. Since most residences are individual properties, some of them are positioned far away from essential as well as recreational establishments.
You’re far less likely to run into this type of problem if you opt to buy a condo. Indoor gyms and pools are readily accessible in most condo buildings. In addition, many of them are close to schools, malls, shops, offices, and other key facilities.
- Restrictions and renovations
When weighing your options between a condo and a house as a property investment, you must consider relevant restrictions and renovation requirements.
Because of various restrictions, a condo is not an ideal choice if you intend to start a large family. Pets, the use of common facilities, and repairs are all subject to tight guidelines, largely for the sake of easier building upkeep. Some condo projects do not allow pets at all.
On the other hand, a house gives you the freedom to do anything you want since you own the entire property. Whether you want to renovate the kitchen, rent your basement, or change the design, it’s entirely up to you. Just make sure to acquire the necessary building permits from your HOA or applicable local government units in charge of maintaining peace, order, and cleanliness in the neighborhood.
It’s All About Your Requirements and Preferences
Whether you’re in the market for a house or a condo, be guided by personal reasons why you invest in real estate. In this article, you have learned the advantages and disadvantages of both housing types. Now, you have all the freedom to choose whichever works best for you. Remember, it is your responsibility to research as much as you can about the real estate industry to ensure a smooth contract signing for your dream property.
Rose Flores is a licensed real estate broker and co-founder of RE/MAX Gold Philippines, a real estate company in the Philippines. Acting and real estate have always been her passions since childhood. She confidently helps close record-breaking deals for residential and commercial buyers while leading her team to success. Check out their website at remaxgold.ph.