Should I Buy A Condo Or Rent A Condo?
I always thought that saying you live in a condo was just a pretentious way of letting people know you live in an apartment.
Well, it turns out I was wrong!
When you rent an apartment, a corporation owns the complex and leases out units to individual tenants. Condos, on the other hand, are owned by people and leased out to tenants.
Additionally, condominium communities are also usually managed by a homeowners association, also commonly known as an HOA.
If you’re considering buying a condo vs. renting a condo, you need to first ask yourself, is a homeowner association is right for you or not!
In this article you’re going to learn about HOAs, learn the benefits of buying a condo vs. renting a condo, and also find out what other important questions to ask yourself before deciding!
More About Homeowner Associations (HOAs)
When you purchase a condo, house, or townhouse that is part of a planned development such as leased land or a gated community, you are required to join that community’s homeowners’ association. The HOA is responsible for the upkeep of common areas and owners are responsible for paying their HOA fees each month.
Condo HOA fees can vary from a couple hundred dollars a month up to a few thousand, depending on your location and what’s included in the HOA. The more amenities and the more upscale a building, the higher the monthly HOA fees.
Condo complexes can have a range of amenities — some are typical amenities and others are quite lavish. From hammocks to lap pools, outdoor kitchens, rooftop terraces, club houses, outdoor movie theaters and much more, you get what you pay for when it comes to condo HOAs.
Condo owners share the costs of maintaining common areas such as parking decks, laundry facilities, fitness centers, hallways, stairwells, and storage rooms, as well as mechanical systems like plumbing, electric, gas, heating, and cooling.
Exterior maintenance is often part of HOA fees as well. Landscaping, window cleaning, pool maintenance, gates, and seasonal expenses like snow removal, gutter cleaning, and winterizing are part of the owners’ monthly HOA dues.
Condo HOA fees also generally include things such as security, limited insurance, some utilities, and a reserve fund for things that come up once in a blue moon, like hallway and flooring redesign, replacing water heaters, re-roofing, or repaving.
Knowing if you should rent or purchase a condo is as difficult of a decision as knowing whether to rent or buy a home.
Whether you are searching condos for sale or condos for rent, there are benefits to being both an owner and a tenant, and it all boils down to your specific situation.
Benefits Of Buying A Condo VS. Renting A Condo
As with everything in life, each thing has its positives and its negatives. It is no different when it comes to either buying a condo vs. renting a condo.
When you purchase a house or condo, you are the “owner” (and I put it in quotes because the bank is really the owner, if you purchase using a mortgage, until you finish paying off the mortgage). You are investing in real estate, and if all goes well when you decide to move, you will get a return on your investment.
The opportunity to build equity and get a solid return on your investment is one of the top benefits of owning a condo!
As a tenant, you pay the owner a set amount each month, and when the lease expires, you leave with only the stuff you brought with you.
The fact that, as a renter, you are not investing your money makes many people feel as if renting is merely throwing away money. While it is true that renters only walk away with what they brought in, they do not have the same level of responsibility for the property as the owner.
Property owners need to worry about mortgage payments, maintenance costs, assessments, taxes, and fluctuating interest rates. Renters have the privilege of living in their home at a set monthly price without the sometimes unpredictable financial burdens of condo ownership.
If you are debating between buying a condo vs. renting a condo, below are a few questions to ask yourself to help make an informed decision decision.
How Long Do You Plan On Living In The Condo?
Real estate agents often suggest five years as the length of time that individuals ought to live in a home or condo before selling it.
If you intend on living in the same home for several years, gearing your condo search toward “condos for sale” might be your best bet.
Real estate tends to appreciate over time, and the amount of equity in the property increases when monthly mortgage payments reduce the principal amount of the mortgage.
On the other hand, if you are only going to be in town for a year or two, all of the upfront costs associated with purchasing a condo might just not be worth it, and renting a condo might be your best option.
How Much Maintenance Are You Willing To Deal With?
When you own a condo, you are responsible for fixing anything the breaks inside your condo. If the refrigerator breaks, you have to cough up the money.
Depending upon your condo community, you may be responsible for replacing damaged or poorly sealed windows. Some condo declarations call windows part of common elements yet others call them part of the unit.
The whole point is that if you own the unit, you are financially responsible for anything that goes wrong or needs replacing. If you are just renting, just notify the owner that something is broken, and they have to fix it.
Can You Handle Someone Telling You How You Can Decorate Your Home?
If you are the type of person who doesn’t like anyone telling you what to do, searching for condos for sale in your area might be the best bet. If you are renting, you will have to live by both the owner’s rules and the condo association’s rules.
Do You See Yourself At Your Current Job For A Long Time?
Purchasing a home or condo can be somewhat of a ball and chain if you get fired or decide you don’t like your job.
If you see yourself staying put at your current place of employment for the next five to ten years then go ahead and purchase (if purchasing makes sense in all other aspects). Otherwise, renting might be the best thing. You would not want to buy a condo that is an hour away from your job.
Other Resources To Help Evaluate Buying A Condo VS. Renting A Condo
- Questions To Ask Before Buying A Condo via Conor MacEvilly
- Tips For Buying Your First Condo
- Top 10 Articles Related To Buying A Condo via Bill Gassett
- What Is The Difference Between Buying A Home And Buying A Condo?
About The Author: The above article “Buying A Condo VS. Renting A Condo | What Are The PROs & CONs?” was written by Darlene Mase. She lives south of Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and young daughter. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, chasing waterfalls, gardening, and looking at pretty things. If she’s not outside, catch her at her local gym burning off the calories from something cheesy or chocolaty she just devoured. Darlene is a stay-at-home mom and works as a freelance writer for Zumper.com and other popular sites.
About Rochester’s Real Estate Blog: Rochester’s Real Estate Blog is owned and operated by Kyle Hiscock of the Hiscock Sold Team at RE/MAX Realty Group.
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