For first-time and other not-so-expert buyers, making the choice between a condo or a single-family home can be a challenge. Both of these property types are common starter homes, and while they often come in similar size configurations, that is where the similarities stop. Condos and single-family homes come with wildly different ownership qualities and financial obligations, and it is critical that buyers understand that before making an offer on either property type. Let’s take a look at condos versus single-family homes, and help you decide which you choose when buying a home in Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Bucks County or Lehigh Valley.
Overall, condos are less expensive than similarly sized single-family homes, when location and neighborhood are taken into account. NAR, or National Association of Realtors, data shows that the median home price in January 2018 was 241,700 USD, while the same study found the median condo price was 231,600 USD.
No Need Exterior/Communal Maintenace
The ownership model for condo buildings pools resources for the upkeep and repair of communal areas like hallways, recreation areas, parking lots, and other amenities. Condo owners are still responsible for anything inside their unit, with some exceptions for shared plumbing, electric, etc.
Single-Family Home Benefits
When you own a condo, you own a shared interest in a building. With single-family homes, you own the structure as well as the land underneath it. They are both forms of homeownership, but if you want to directly own the land on which your house sits you should consider a single-family purchase.
Potential for Upgrades/Renovations
If you plan to make substantial exterior or interior renovations, a single-family home has the edge over a condo. Condos have strict guidelines for repairs or renovations, and your choices are quite limited when compared to a single-family home.
Lower/No HOA Fees
While some single-family neighborhoods have homeowners association fees, they tend to be much lower than condo fees, which often pay for employee salaries like managers or handy people, as well as general upkeep of the property. Monthly payments related to neighborhood upkeep or management are substantially lower with most single-family homes.
These are the main differences between condos and single-family homes, and there are differences between every neighborhood and condo association, so be sure to do your research before taking the plunge on any particular purchase.