If you’re looking to buy a home, you may be considering both single family homes in a subdivision and condominiums. But there are differences you should know when considering buying a single family detached home or a condo. Here are just a few differences to consider.
Single family vs. multi-family
One of the more obvious differences is that a condo or townhome is attached multi-family dwelling, whereas a house in a neighborhood is single-family detached dwelling. Usually each unit has at least one shared wall with another unit, but end units may share only one wall. The biggest concern here is noise, and a lot of this concern depends on your neighbors and quality of construction.
Condo Association and Condo Association Fees
It’s standard for most condominiums to have a condo association with members comprised of owners of the units. The condo association is usually the governing body of the property, and most Condo Associations collect a Condo Association fee from each owner to take care of the common areas, exterior maintenance, common area insurance, and more. The fees may also cover a small portion of utilities, more specifically cable, water and sewer. Typically the condo association fees are paid monthly, quarterly or annually and are required.
Fees for amenities such as pool, tennis courts, gym/workout room, and clubhouse may also be included in the Condo Association fees.
On the flipside, neighborhoods, especially those that are swim and tennis communities, can also include a homeowner’s association that works somewhat like a condo association. They also govern the neighborhood through bylaws and charge fees for common area upkeep and maintenance. If the homeowner’s association is mandatory, then it’s required for all homeowners to join and fees are considered part of the cost of owning a home. With mandatory membership, if homeowner’s association fees aren’t paid, the association has the ability put a lien on the property and in some cases enforce foreclosure for the default on homeowners who do not pay the homeowner’s association fees. Typically homeowner association fees are paid annually.
Condo and townhouse insurance is typically less expensive than a single family home, since the association policy usually covers the building itself leaving owners only their belongings to insure.
Since the amount of taxes homeowners pay are generally based on the square footage and condos and townhouses are usually less space, the taxes are usually less for a condo. In addition, condos are typically less expensive than townhomes because there is usually little or no yard with a condo.
It’s important to note that condos and townhomes present more risk than traditional single-family houses, and therefore, interest rates on condo and townhomes are typically a bit higher on the financing unless you want and can make a larger down payment.
Have you bought a house lately? Was it a house or a condo? Tell us about your experience in the comment section of this blog post.