Condo or Single-Family? How to Pick a Starter Home
July 24, 2018

shutterstock_309069869So you’re ready to buy a home. Congratulations! It’s an exciting time and a chance for you to start putting down roots and building equity by leaving the renting world behind. But deciding what kind of dwelling to invest in can be a daunting prospect. Many people wonder whether a house is the best first home or if a condo is worth the investment. Let’s examine some of the pros and cons of buying a condo or a house.

Pros of buying a condo

  • Though it can be risky to assume they will, condos can appreciate more quickly, giving you the upper hand if you decide to sell.
  • Home improvements are taken care of by your homeowners association (HOA).
  • Condos tend to cost less than single-family homes.
  • Because most condos are in the city, they simplify urban living.
  • They’re a step up from renting, because your money is going toward equity rather than down the drain as rent.
  • Many condos offer top-of-the-line community amenities, such as pools, fitness centers, and 24-hour gated security.
  • Continual upgrades and maintenance keeps the property value high.


Cons of buying a condo

  • Annual HOA costs may cancel out any potential appreciation gains.
  • You usually don’t get to choose which improvements you make to your home.
  • Special assessments and monthly membership fees are subject to increase, often without warning.
  • Your neighbors live closer to you, and you should plan on sharing walls.
  • Condo fees aren’t tax deductible.
  • Some condos have little cash in their reserves to pay for capital improvements like concrete repairs, painting, or roofing.
  • You rely on your neighbors to supplement the HOA budget by paying their fees on time.
  • Because your condo is just like your neighbors’, it can be harder to sell, especially if your neighbor is also selling.


Pros of buying a house

  • Houses tend to appreciate more than condos.
  • You get to choose your own home improvements.
  • You don’t have to pay annual maintenance fees.
  • You’re (mostly) in charge of resale value.
  • Houses can be easier to sell.


Cons of buying a house

  • You have to do your own home improvements or pay someone to do them for you.
  • In that same vein, working toward building a higher resale value requires time and financial commitment.
  • Utility bills tend to be higher since houses usually have more space.
  • Unplanned expenses can sideline home improvement projects indefinitely.


At the end of the day, choosing whether to buy a condo or a house comes down to whichever works best for you and your situation. If you love living in the middle of a buzzing metropolis, a condo might suit you better. If you work in the city and prefer an escape from the daily hustle and bustle, living in a house in the suburbs or a more rural area might be for you.

If you’re trying to decide whether to buy a condo or a single-family house as your starter home, contact us today to discuss your options.