Why You Should Buy A Condo Instead Of A House, According To A Real Estate Expert

Investing in real estate is a big decision, and it carries long-term implications. According to Investopedia, when making the decision to buy, individuals have to think about things like their debt-to-income ratio, how much they want to spend each month on a payment, and numerous lifestyle factors such as location, the amount of space needed, and the necessary upkeep. For some, a single-family home might not feel like the right decision, but how can buyers be sure?

In an exclusive interview with House Digest, Jon Sanborn, co-founder of Brotherly Love Real Estate, notes that, for many buyers, it's definitely worth expanding their options to consider condominiums, and he provides some insight into whether buying a house or a condo is the best option. "Searching for the right condo is similar to looking for a single-family home. It is an investment," Sanborn states. "A real estate agent could be quite useful when looking for condos. Once you select your agent, the entire process is the same as any regular homebuying process." Of course, there are many things to know before buying a condo, so let's look closer at his insights into this process.

Where are condos most commonly found?

Condos, which are part of a larger residential structure that includes more than one home unit, are a popular option in many cities. According to Jon Sanborn, "Condos are famous in places with high property values such as vacation hotspots." In these areas, they often make ideal second homes and provide easy access to vacation amenities like beaches and entertainment venues. Yet, condos are not only found in vacation destinations.

"This is also because buying a single-family home could get expensive in cities where additional space is minimal," Sanborn shares. In larger cities where home values are quickly growing, a condo could be a more affordable option, a way for people to tap into homeownership without the large financial commitment that some single-family homes require. Sanborn continues, "As such, condos are able to provide ownership to different groups of people." Many cities have them, and most cities have numerous condo communities to choose from as well.

Finer points of condo buying

Availability is one thing, but why else would someone prefer to buy a condo? There are a variety of opportunities in these real estate transactions according to Jon Sanborn, who notes, "Condos generally exhibit a lower price tag than single-family homes." That could be one of the first reasons people consider them. The lower initial investment could be what makes transitioning from renting to buying possible.

Sanborn says, "They [condos] also offer more independence than renting, but are not your entire property when it comes to maintenance and repairs." That's an important distinction when it comes to ownership and renting in real estate. "In a condo, parts such as your residence are owned privately but the common areas are owned collectively by all the condominium's owners," reveals Sanborn. For example, the space behind your front door will be yours to maintain and use as you like, within the rules of the condo association, but areas like the lobby, the community swimming pool, and the playground are owned collectively by all people who own units within that association.

The pros of buying condos over a house

As noted, cost is a big reason that many people turn to a condo instead of buying a single-family home. With this type of purchase you will still own the home, but because the units are typically smaller and have shared amenities, they're less expensive. "There are more choices available at a cheaper price," shares Jon Sanborn. "According to the data, the median price for condos in 2021 was $275,000 against $315,00 for single-family homes," he explains. If you're not ready for the big commitment of an entire house, a condo could be your best first step.

There are other benefits as well. Per Sanborn, "Condos require less maintenance, the insurance is relatively cheaper, and the amenities can be top-of-the-market." For some, having a community pool, recreation center, media room, and fitness center to use are exceptional benefits that may not be within the budget when buying a home. All of these factors combine to make condos a savvy purchase.