Living in a condo can seem like a good idea. Maybe you'd like to downsize, or not have to worry about all the maintenance associated with a house.
Renting an apartment just isn't your thing so you're looking at buying a condo.
But is it really a good idea for you? Read on as we weigh the pros and cons of condo living to help you decide.
Is Living in a Condo Right for You?
Whether or not living in a condo is right for you is a very individual decision. Let's look at the advantages and disadvantages to help you determine where you fall.
We're positive people, so let's look at the advantages first.
No Outside Maintenance
Do you hate yard work? Then you'll love the fact that someone else handles the outside maintenance in a condo. Part of the fees that you pay to the homeowner's association (HOA) covers the cost to have this taken care of.
The HOA also covers big expenses like having the windows replaced or making repairs to the building after a storm. If the reserves don't cover the cost, they may ask for a special assessment. But the bottom line is that you don't have to pay for everything yourself.
Beware though, just because this is the HOA's responsibility doesn't mean they do their job well. Do your research beforehand to ensure that it's a well-run HOA.
Would it be nice to have a pool you don't have to maintain? How about a gym on-site? How about a party room or barbecue spot by the pool? Some condos even have a community theater!
Many condos have a nice range of amenities that would be expensive to have and maintain at a single-family residence. This cost is included as part of your HOA dues and shared among the owners.
Of course, you'll have to share them with your neighbors but the more the merrier, right?
The Perfect Spot
Do you want to live in the heart of a bustling city? In that case, a condo may be your best bet. Not only are single-family homes nearly impossible to find in the city they're also prohibitively expensive.
Condo fees in a prime location will be higher as well, but still much more affordable than your own piece of land. It's a great way to be near your work and all your favorites hotspots. You may not even need a car since everything is nearby so you can save on gas and car insurance!
Condos provide an added sense of security. Many have a coded entrance visitors must go through before having access to your front door. Fancier condos may even have a security guard at the front.
If you plan to travel a lot, it's also nice to have your home enclosed and your neighbors close. In this type of space, it's far less likely that your home will be vandalized while you're gone.
However, living in a condo is not for everyone. Let's look at some disadvantages so you can decide if any of them are a deal breaker.
Depending on where your condo is, the cost can be an advantage. For example, in the heart of the city as we discussed earlier or when living by the ocean. However, in many cases, owning a condo is more expensive than a freestanding house.
Someone has to pay for the landscaper and maintenance man. Plus, those nice amenities don't come for free. All of those things are paid for out of your HOA dues.
When special damages happen, like a storm or vandalism you may be required to pay special assessments to cover the cost. Furthermore, you don't get any say in hiring the company to repair the damages. As a homeowner, you'd shop around for the best deal. The HOA may not be quite so diligent.
You also don't get any say in when repairs happen. Your condo may need new windows, but if the HOA decides it's not a priority it'll be a while before you get them.
An extension of the cost is cost sharing. At first glance, this might seem like a good thing. You're not wholly responsible for storm damages etc.
But what happens when someone damages the common room or breaks the barbecue? It was probably one of your neighbors, but unless they fess up everyone gets to pay for the repair.
In an ideal community, this wouldn't be a problem. But most communities are far from ideal. There will be at least one neighbor that loves to throw drunken bashes and constantly damages community property.
If your home also doubles as a real estate investment for you, condos are usually not as valuable as a freestanding home.
HOA fee increases may outpace the appreciation of your property. You may be forced to sell your condo for much less than you wanted to entice a buyer to accept the burden of those fees.
There are usually rules and regulations that you have to follow in a condo. Quiet hours, pet policies, and parking rules are just a few things that may be in place.
Depending on what they are, the rules may not be an issue for you. Just be sure you know what you're signing up for.
It's true that you can't pick your neighbors regardless of where you live. But in a condo, you are more closely tied to them.
Not only are they (usually) in closer proximity, but also there are the cost-sharing issues we touched on earlier. In a great community, the neighbors will never get to be a problem. But, to be honest, you'd have to be extremely lucky to find a community like that-- and there's no guarantee it would stay that way.
What do you think? Is living in a condo right for you?
If you want to get started browsing beach condos in Myrtle Beach, feel free to check out our listings!