Are Condos A Savvy Purchase?

If you're looking for a place to call home but are not ready to be a homeowner, you're probably considering an apartment or condo, but what is the difference between these two property types? According to Pearson Realty Group, the only real disparity is in ownership: An apartment belongs to a building owned by a single person or corporation, whereas condos are managed by a homeowner association, but the individual owns their unit. So, in summary, apartments are rented, and condos are owned.

Why choose a condo if there isn't a significant difference between the two? Is it worth the extra cash? Some may argue that a condo is the best living situation, while others may see it as a waste of money, but we'll let you be the judge. In fact, there are several other differences between these home types when you take a closer look. To that end, we've gathered a list of pros and cons to help you decide if condos are a savvy purchase.

Concierge services

Eighty Seven Park says that many condo parks now offer residents a concierge package. This is a special perk you can't expect when renting an apartment unit or buying a single-family home. According to Bigos, typical concierge services include personal shopping and errand services (such as postal and package delivery), recommendation and reservation services (these will ensure you a spot at your favorite restaurant), home services (which include home maintenance schedule), and security services (like monitoring doors, elevators, and security cameras). However, keep in mind that these services differ from condo park to condo park.

That being said, these services come with a high price tag. For example, most condos that opt for the concierge service require a guard on the property 24 hours a day, seven days a week. At $25 to $35 an hour, homeowner associations will spend about $200,000 a year on a concierge, 1Valet states, but with all the benefits the service offers, it seems well worth the price.

Better security

As a potential homebuyer, ask yourself how much you value security. If safety is your main concern, you may consider purchasing a condo over renting an apartment. Eighty Seven Park states condominiums are generally safer than apartments because of their tighter security systems. Most (if not all) condo communities offer 24/7 security in case of emergencies so that you can feel safe in the comfort of your own home. In addition, should you lock yourself out of your unit, a security team will assist you in getting inside.

Luxury Living Chicago Realty says prevention studies have shown the positive effect condo security systems have on a resident's safety. Surveillance cameras are particularly effective in stopping home and auto break-ins, burglaries, and vandalism. When you own a home, you must take security measures, such as installing surveillance cameras, alarms, etc. However, when you own a condo, you don't have to go through the hassle of doing these things yourself because the building is already secured.

Appreciation value

Rocket Mortgage states that while condominiums do appreciate in value, they move at a much slower rate than single-family homes; this is because property maintenance and community amenities contribute to your condo's value. Its appreciation also depends on where the property is located. If your condo is in a more desirable location, its value will go up. US News & World Report says that cities like Chicago, Colorado Springs, and Boston are among the top 25 most desirable places to live as of 2022.

Furthermore, according to The Washington Post, condominiums appreciated by a 3.4% average between 2010 and 2016, whereas single-family homes were valued by an average of 4.7% only. This is because buyers would rather put money into home renovations than spend it on condo fees, which ultimately increases a home's value, Nolo explains. It's essential to keep this knowledge in your back pocket should you consider selling your condo sometime in the future.

Less storage and parking

It comes as no surprise that condos have less storage space than single-family homes. New American Funding says some come with designated storage space, but it usually isn't big enough to store everything you need, especially larger items, so if you're looking for a place to keep your Christmas tree during the off-season, you might be out of luck. Of course, you can rent a storage unit, but that's creating additional, unnecessary costs. If you have a significant amount of possessions, you're probably better off with a single-family home, and if that's not an option, it looks like it's time for a yard sale.

Typically, condos have less parking space (or no parking available at all). In many instances, people are only allocated one parking space, which becomes a problem if your household has more than one car. More often than not, one of you will end up parking on the street, which is another issue.

Plenty of amenities

New American Funding suggests purchasing a condo if you're interested in certain amenities you may not have with a single-family home. For example, the luxury can be a swimming pool. HomeAdvisor says the average pool owner spends an average of $1,000 to $3,000 a year to upkeep their pool but can spend up to $5,000 for any repairs and utilities. Thus, owning a condo allows you to enjoy a swimming pool without the responsibility!

Most condos also have a gym that is only accessible to its residents. This way, you have fewer people around, and you don't even have to leave your building. However, pools and gyms aren't the only cool amenities condominiums offer — according to Ocean Home Magazine, some parks include cafes where you can grab your morning beverage and a close-knitted community that will allow you to voice your opinion on various aspects of the building itself. Furthermore, a vast majority of condo parks also have common spaces for social gatherings.