For clarification purposes, I’m considering “condo” as anything in a “condominium”, which includes townhouses, apartments, high-rise units, etc.
So, one argument I keep getting into with my family is whether or not I should be looking at condos as opposed to stand-alone single-family houses. I never said I was against buying a single family home….but, I’ve been assuming that chances are I will end up in a condo. So, is that a good thing, or a bad thing?
Reasons to move into a condo (or NOT a house):
1. Right now, they’re cheaper
2. I don’t have to worry about a lawn
3. I don’t have to worry about exterior repairs (generally) since most of those are taken care of under the HOA
4. The illusion of more safety (they’re usually in gated communities, more neighbors and less isolated)
5. No worrying about neighbors making the neighborhood look trashy….HOA won’t allow it! (Not that I’d worry too much about that)
Reasons to move into a house (or NOT a condo):
1. No HOA fees (they’ll never go down, only up)…I can apply that money to build equity
2. I can do whatever I want to the exterior of my house (if I want a hot pink house, I can have it!)
3. No assigned parking, I can park on my grass if I want!
4. No paper-thin walls (or loud neighbors, hopefully)
5. No HOA politics
This is obviously not an extensive list. For me, what it comes down to is availability. Like I said, I’m not completely against buying a house, but what is happening is that the only houses that are currently under $200,000 are either 1) tiny (and old), 2) in less desireable neighborhoods, and 3) Cash only offers since many of them either have illegal additions and would never pass a bank inspection, or for other reasons I can’t figure out. The BF would also point out the fact that all the houses I’m able to afford are in “old people neighborhoods”. But I don’t necessarily consider that a bad thing, lol. (Although I admit, I can’t afford any houses in the “hip” neighborhoods.)
As a single girl I am NOT going to move into an unsafe neighborhood for the sake of having a bigger house. Nor am I going to move out into the middle of the swamp in order to have a bigger house. I get so frustrated because this same thing comes up EVERY time my home search comes up. Maybe I’m being short-sighted, not thinking of the future, etc?
It also seems to me that as a first-time homebuyer…its kind of easier to ease into getting a condo since there are slightly less responsibilities. (Or is this a misperception of mine?) I wouldn’t have to worry about a lawn, painting my house when it starts to look dingy (or I can blame stuff on the HOA to cover up my laziness, lol), the main complex I’m looking at has a pool I can use without dealing with upkeep, as well as tennis courts. It just seems that much more convenient. However, they are right….I am giving up $300 of equity each month to enjoy these little perks.
I don’t have a final answer, but its definitely something I’ll be taking into account with each listing I look at. Tonight I’m checking out another two houses. We’ll see what other issues spring up once I have a look at them.