What Is a Condo?

Couple tours a condominium.

A condominium is a unit in a larger building or complex that shares walls with other residences.

A condo can look and feel a lot like an apartment, but you own instead of rent it. In addition to the perks of homeownership — such as building equity — condos also often offer access to shared amenities like a swimming pool, a fitness center, parking, and building security.

When you buy a condo, you pay regular fees to a homeowners association, which uses that money to maintain the exterior of the building, common areas, amenities, and services. Your responsibility is simply to maintain the interior of your unit, which is the only part that you own.

How Much Does a Condo Cost?

The cost of a condo depends on factors such as size, building, and location. In general, condos cost less than single-family homes and townhouses because you’re only buying what’s within the walls of a larger structure. This also means you’ll generally pay less in property taxes and homeowners insurance.

Costs of Buying a Condo

Upfront costsRecurring costs
Down payment.
Closing costs.
– Monthly mortgage payment.
– Homeowners insurance.
– HOA fees.
– Interior maintenance.
– Utilities.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Condo

Buying a condo comes with advantages and disadvantages, so be sure to consider the trade-offs.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Condo

ProsCons
– Usually less expensive than a single-family home or townhouse.
– Less responsibility for upkeep and maintenance.
– Often located in central neighborhoods.
– Often includes amenities, services, and shared spaces.
– A more social environment.
– Smaller than a house, with little or no outdoor space.
– No control over the outside of the building.
– Limits on remodeling.
– Must pay HOA fees and follow HOA rules.
– Less privacy.
– Appreciates in value more slowly than a house.

Is a Condo Right for You?

Condos can be a great option for first-time homebuyers who may not be ready to buy a house but want to start building equity. If you decide later to have children and need more space, then selling your condo can help you pay to upgrade to a house.

Condos also can be a good option for people who no longer need the space of house and prefer fewer responsibilities for maintenance.

Condo FAQ

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about buying a condo.

Are condos a good investment?

Compared to renting, buying a condo can be a good investment because it gives you a chance to build equity. However, condos typically appreciate in value more slowly than single-family homes. In addition, some condos won’t allow you to rent out your unit, which may make them impractical as a rental property investment.

What is the difference between an apartment and a condo?

Apartments and condos can look similar, as both types of homes often come as single units within a larger building or community. But the biggest difference is that you rent an apartment, but you buy a condo. Condos give you a chance to build equity, while renting does not.

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