The Difference Between Apartments and Condos: Which One Suits You Better?

The Difference Between Apartments And Condos: Which One Suits You Better?

If you’re looking for a new home, you might wonder if you should live in a condo or apartment. Here’s what to consider so that you can choose the best option for your lifestyle.

What’s the definition of a condo? A condo is similar to an apartment, but it’s independently sellable. Condos are managed by a Homeowners’ Association, however each individual unit will have its own owner. Essentially, condos are viewed as real estate.

Should you live in an apartment or a condo? Here’s what you need to know so that you choose the best living space for your needs.

Condo vs Apartment: How Big Are They? 

Condo

Condos are generally about 1200 square feet, whereas the average apartment is considered to be 1082 feet, according to 2013 statistics reported by Eye On Housing.

So, they’re not really that much different when it comes to size, and it’s important to remember that their size can vary depending on what you’re looking for, such as when it comes to the number of rooms they have.

What’s The Average Cost Of A Condo Vs. Apartment?

The average cost of a condo can vary based on its location, as is the case with all real estate.

For example, a condo that’s for sale in downtown LA will have an average cost of $620,000, whereas condos in Ohio will sell for an average price of approximately $168,000, as The Nest explains.

When it comes to apartments, the average price for one can range from $167,000 in West Virginia and approximately $180,000 in Ohio, to roughly $550,000 in California, as Business Insider reports.

What about renting? 

When it comes to renting out a condo or apartment, they tend to have similar costs.

The only difference is that when you rent out a condo, you have to bear in mind that since it’s managed by the Homeowners’ Association (HOA) there will be HOA fees to pay for living in it.

This means that the rent you pay every month to live in the condo will include utilities as well as fees for the maintenance of common areas.

When you rent an apartment, on the other hand, you won’t have such fees and your utilities won’t be added to your rent, as Rent Café explains.

The average cost of HOA fees vary, but you can expect to pay between $100 and $700 for them every month.

The reason why this amount can vary so much is because there can be differences when it comes to what the HOA provides for you, depending on the specific condo, as Investopedia explains. Basically, if you are provided with more utilities, then the cost of these fees will be higher.

What Amenities Will Be Available?

Condos are typically upscale properties

The amenities of both condos and apartments can vary quite a bit, depending on where you live and how upscale the place is.

If your condo is considered upscale, then you’ll be provided with lots of luxury features, such as gated parking, fitness centers, swimming pools, and even more. Apartment buildings can also offer these features. 

There are also services that are available to you sometimes, in both apartment buildings and condos, such as on-site laundry and Wi-Fi access to make your life much more comfortable. 

The way in which amenities differ between condos and apartments is that with apartments everyone in the building will be able to use and enjoy the features.

With condos, on the other hand, every unit can be personalized by its owner. This means that there could be a huge variation in how many amenities are offered from one unit to the next. 

What Rules Need To Be Followed? 

Renovating Condos

If you choose to live in a condo, you’ll have to follow some important rules that are set out by the HOA.

These rules determine how the property will be managed and they can include a list of services the HOA will pay for as well as regulations when it comes to various things, such as deciding on what floor plans are suitable and who owns the property.

The condo association tends to own common areas, such as the parking lot and lobby.

Owning a condo gives you some freedom to do many things with your living space, such as renovate rooms or change the flooring to suit your lifestyle.

However, there will be maintenance rules, with some even being as specific as what color the exterior wall can be or how your garden should look. These rules are set so that the property values can be maintained.

Now, when it comes to renting, some condo associations put restrictions on it, as Lawyers states.

The reason why is because renters don’t usually have as much investment in the property as homeowners do, which can result in condo rules being broken.

How Does An Apartment Differ When It Comes To Rules?

Neighbors Bad

When it comes to renting an apartment, there will obviously also be some rules that you have to follow as a tenant.

These rules will vary depending on the landlord from whom you’re renting your place, but a leasing or rental agreement will usually contain information about these rules.

It’s important to read this agreement carefully so you know exactly what to expect and what falls under your responsibility during your stay in the apartment.

For example, when it comes to maintaining your apartment, will you have to fix any broken or damaged items? Are you allowed to smoke in your apartment or is this strictly prohibited?

Pets can also be prohibited or restricted, depending on various factors, such as weight and breed. There are lots of different regulations that will vary from one landlord and state to the other.

It’s therefore essential to know exactly what rules you are going to have to follow, especially because violation of the rental or leasing agreement can result in you being given written warnings and possibly even getting evicted from the apartment.

How Condos And Apartments Differ When It Comes To Ownership

One of the biggest differences between condos and apartments concerns their ownership.

Since condos are managed by the HOA, each condo unit will have its own owner. When you buy a condo, it’s essentially the same thing as buying a house. It belongs to you.

When it comes to apartments, apartment units in the building can’t be purchased – they usually have one owner (who owns the building) and they’re leased to tenants.

Although you might think that owning a condo is better than renting an apartment because you’re investing in property, there are some perks to renting out an apartment – and this can be seen in how apartments are maintained.

Condo vs. Apartment: How Are They Maintained?

Condo Maintenance

The issue of how your living space is maintained is an important one as it directly impacts your daily life and can pose problematic during stressful situations, such as if something’s broken and you need to get it fixed.

Here’s how maintenance varies between condos and apartments.

When you rent an apartment in a building, you get free maintenance.

What this means is that when you encounter an issue with your apartment, such as a mold infestation, you can bring it to the attention of the landlord who will have to sort it out to ensure that he/she is providing you with a safe and secure place to live.

The problem won’t be yours to fix. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, which will probably be set out in your rental agreement.

When you own a condo, on the other hand, you are responsible for maintaining it, in the same way that a homeowner would have to maintain their house.

This can easily accumulate costs down the line, such as if things get broken and need to be fixed.

On the flipside, this can be seen as a perk because you can go ahead and make changes to your home without first having to run it past a landlord, who might have very strict rules pertaining to those changes.

Even drilling a hole in the wall can be a problem if you’re a tenant instead of an owner!

In addition, when you bring a problem to your landlord’s attention, he/she might drag their feet on the issue, which can result in more stress than if you could proceed with fixing it yourself, such as if you owned a condo.

Another perk for you if you’re a condo owner: When it comes to the common areas of a condo, these are usually maintained by the HOA and do not fall under your responsibility.

If you’re choosing to live in a condo, it’s important to find out what you’re responsible for before you move in, whether that means maintaining your deck or cleaning your carpets, as there will be some responsibilities and rules regarding maintenance.

When Should You Choose An Apartment Instead Of A Condo?

While the idea of owning a condo might sound appealing, sometimes choosing to rent an apartment can be the better choice. Here are some reasons why.

You Don’t Have Hidden Costs

Property Taxes in the US ranked

There are many hidden costs when it comes to purchasing a condo.

These not only include HOA fees, but also property taxes and other maintenance costs. When you choose to be a tenant in an apartment, you won’t have these fees to worry about. You just have to make sure that you can pay the rental income on a monthly basis.

You Won’t Have To Secure Financing For The Property

Loan Mortage

It’s not always easy to have enough money readily available to purchase a condo, so you will require financing for it, which will require you to pay a down payment as well as interest and closing costs.

The down payment for a condo is usually between three and 20 percent of the purchase price of the condo, as reported by Mortgage Loan.

So, if your down payment is 10 percent of your purchase price and you have to pay $168,000 to purchase the condo, you’ll have to pay a down payment of $16,800.

Renting an apartment means you can bypass the question of how to get financing altogether. The only expense that you need to worry about is the security deposit that you have to pay.

A security deposit can be around two months’ rent, but this is a maximum amount, as The Balance points out.

However, it’s important to bear in mind that 25 U.S. states don’t have a limit when it comes to how much landlords can charge for security deposits, so that might end up being a bit of a concern for you.

Renting An Apartment Is A Better Choice If You’re Independent Or An Introvert

Renting Apartments

Your personality is an important factor to consider that can help you decide between purchasing a condo and living in an apartment.

If you’re an independent or introverted person, an apartment can seem much more suitable to you. This is because condos are focused on community, especially with their common areas.

While this can be a positive thing, especially in the case of an emergency when you want to have the support of those around you, it can make you feel uncomfortable on a daily basis if you prefer to have lots of privacy or keep to yourself.

Although you can still create bonds with neighbors when you rent out an apartment in a building, you won’t feel tied down to a member’s organization.

Apartment Living Is Great If You Want Flexibility

The freedom of apartments

While it can seem appealing to put down roots and own a home, renting an apartment can be a better choice for you if you’re the type of person who wants more flexibility in your life.

For example, maybe you don’t want to be tied down to a certain state or even country, or perhaps you want the chance to pack up your luggage and go overseas or to a different state if you get a new job or some other opportunity that arises.

If this sounds like you, then you definitely don’t want to feel tied down to a mortgage or house.

There’s no doubt that moving out of a rental property is much easier than it is for homeowners to deal with the real estate that they have purchased.

You don’t have to worry about finding someone to take over your lease.

You also don’t have to worry about putting your home on the market and finding a suitable buyer, which can especially be stressful when the markets are bad. Dealing with these issues can cause one to miss out on opportunities in their life, which is something that apartment dwellers won’t have to face.

Related Questions

Can purchasing a condo be a good real estate investment?

It might not be, because you don’t own any land when you own a condo.

This is an important element that can increase a home’s value. A condo appreciates in value at a much slower pace than single-family homes, as Mashvisor reports, and this is because you only own the living space.

What features will make a condo easier to sell?

Condo Views

If you want to sell your condo in future, buy one that’s on higher floors and preferably that’s a corner unit as this has more windows.

While you want the condo to be close to amenities, such as the gym, you want to avoid units close to the elevator as these experience a lot of noise.

Is renting an apartment the least expensive housing option?

Yes, that’s because apartments are smaller than condos and houses.

Rental income that you have to pay on a monthly basis is also usually lower than mortgage that you have to pay as a condo or home owner. Rising house prices and mortgage rates have made renting much easier on your pocket.

Conclusion

It’s not always easy to know if you should choose to live in a condo or an apartment, but this guide shows that it’s very important to consider different factors when it comes to both living options in order to choose the one that’s perfect for you. 

For example, taking into consideration factors such as how much condos and apartments tend to cost on average, as well as how they’re maintained, can help you find out if a condo or apartment will be more suitable for your budget and lifestyle.

In addition, considering your personality and future goals, such as settling down with a family or traveling the world, are also important so you don’t regret your decision.

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