When deciding to buy a home many people are torn between purchasing a condominium or a single family home. Both offer the benefits of home ownership but they also have many important differences. You should examine both types of properties before to make a decision to but.
A condominium can be a good choice if you have been living in an apartment and want to buy your own home. It can be similar in lifestyle to living in an apartment, but with the benefits of tax savings, equity buildup and appreciation. On the other hand, the idea of paying a large mortgage payment, in addition to a non-deductible homeowner’s association fee, can be too much for some homebuyer’s to bear.
If the condominium you want to purchase has been converted from an apartment complex in the past several years, you may have many owners who still feel like they are tenants. The level of knowledge and pride of ownership may be low or non-existent and the building may not be maintained well.
On the other hand, if the building was built as a condominium complex to begin with, the owners came in knowing that they had full ownership rights. There is also a homeowner’s association to deal with. Decisions such as when to replace a roof or to make landscaping changes are not your own. The Homeowner’s association will have strict rules about what can be done and when, and these rules must be strictly adhered to. Sometimes there is conflict among the owners about how to handle certain situations. Remember that in a condo you only fully own six inches behind the paint, so that anything other than that comes under the jurisdiction of the complex as a whole.
Owning a single family home can be very different. Typically you will not have any walls in common and you won’t be sharing responsibility for your property with anyone else. This type of ownership is generally more desirable and may be easier to sell in the future. Owning a home can also mean more privacy because of the distance between your house and the adjacent houses. During the past forty years in the United States, single family homes have enjoyed greater appreciation and more protection from down markets. If given a choice the majority of homeowners choose a single family home over a condominium when considering a home purchase.
You must look at you own situation and see what is right for you. If you are currently renting and can only afford a condominium, it may be advisable to purchase the condo so that you can enjoy the tax benefits and get used to making a monthly mortgage payment. Over time you will build up some equity and may be able to make the jump into a larger, single family home. Look at all of your options, educate yourself about how the process works, and make a decision that will be good for you both personally and professionally.
Connie Ragen Green is a Real Estate Broker and State Certified Residential Appraiser in California and has bought and sold over 100 properties since 1983. Visit her at http://www.BuyRealEstateforProfit.com for more information about buying and selling real estate.