Far from knocking condominium ownership, as there are a great many advantages, this article is focused on helping the home buyer to weigh the advantages in light of recent mortgage and home price problems in almost all markets across the country. Though many condos are purchased in resort or vacation areas, or as second getaway homes, there are also a huge number of primary residences in condominium complexes. The advantages are great for many buyers.
- More for their money in many cases, as the cost of construction of multiple units under common roofs is lower
- Maintenance of the exterior and common areas provides a nice environment and recreation for owners without the time or desire to do their own upkeep chores
- With urban land costs very high, condos can take better advantage of a parcel, frequently making a condo the best buy closest to city cores and major employers
- Insurance costs and other services can be lower due to the pooled purchase power, and the condo association insures the exteriors
However, the very factors that make condo ownership attractive also introduce some limitations and risk that aren't part of ownership of a detached single family home. Buyers should weigh all of the facts before a decision.
- Owners are restricted in their ability to modify interior, and especially exterior features of their home due to condo rules designed to maintain uniformity of appearance
- The owner's one vote may not be enough to stop changes that they aren't in favor of, especially assessments or increases in monthly condo fees.
In tough mortgage climates, there are a number of factors lenders use to restrict mortgages, and none of these are in the control of any single owner. There can be periods, especially recently, when selling is almost impossible unless a cash buyer can be located.
It's just a good idea to weigh all of the facts before a decision on whether to purchase a condo or a detached home.