When Does a Condo Make More Sense as a Starter Home?

by Carson BuckJanuary 7, 2019

The Pros and Cons of Making a Condo Your First Purchased Home

The thought of buying a single-family house can be overwhelming for someone who has never purchased a home before. After all, there are so many responsibilities included, and the expenses can sometimes be more than expected.

Meanwhile, renting an apartment means the money you are paying in rent isn’t working for you, but rather your landlord. For many, purchasing a condominium offers the best of both worlds. But, does buying a condo actually make sense when you’re looking to buy a starter home? Here are the pros and cons of making a condo your starter home.

buying a condo

Pros of Buying a Condo for Your Starter Home

A condo is partly like a home and partly like an apartment. You can purchase a condo outright like a home, but you live in a multi-unit building, like an apartment. For some people, buying a condo as their first home has advantages. These can include:

Fewer Responsibilities – When you own a home, you are responsible for absolutely everything. With a condo, you have substantially fewer responsibilities. For instance, you won’t have to worry about mowing the lawn, raking leaves, or shoveling snow. Everything pertaining to the exterior of the building is the responsibility of the condo association that manages your community.

More Affordable – Traditionally, a condominium is going to be more affordable than purchasing a single-family home. Of course, there are exorbitantly priced condos out there as well, but for the most part, the average condo tends to be cheaper to buy. Because the living space is considerably smaller than a single-family home, the expenses of owning a condo, such as heating and cooling, tend to be smaller, too.

A Community Setting – In a condo, you live in a community and for some, this sense of community is wonderful. Condo communities often hold gatherings and events where you can meet the neighbors and make new friends. On the other hand, this tends to only happen in the very closest of neighborhoods, where the residents have all lived in the same homes for many years.

A Condo Prepares You for Owning a Home – If you don’t want the pressure of owning a home from the start, then buying a condo will help you prepare for home ownership when you’re ready for it. You’ll learn how to manage your money better, you’ll learn how to care for your living spaces, and you’ll learn what you really need to live the life you want.

buying a condo

Cons of Buying a Condo for Your Starter Home

Buying a condo, just as with buying anything substantial, isn’t always guaranteed to be a dream. In fact, there are several reasons why buying a condo for your first home might not be the best thing for you. Here are some of the common reasons why some condo owners regret their decisions.

Inefficient Condo Association – Before purchasing a condo, you need to find out as much as you can about the condo association that manages it. The last thing you want to have happen is to buy your condo, only then to find out that the condo association does a terrible job of maintaining the grounds, roads, and sidewalks.

Condo Association Fees – In exchange for you not having to worry about doing any outside work, you’ll be paying a monthly fee to the condo association. Depending on the community, this fee can range anywhere from $100 to $1,000 and in smaller communities, the association’s services will suffer if more than a couple of people struggle to pay their dues.

Bad Neighbors – You can’t pick your neighbors. You can have bad neighbors living in a residential neighborhood, too, but in a condo community, sometimes those neighbors live right on the other side of the wall.

Harder to Sell – If you’re buying a condo as a starter home, then you should know that selling a condo can be more of a challenge than selling a home. You might find yourself living in your condo for longer than you intended, or you might have to face paying two mortgages until the condo sells.

buying a condo

Looking for the Perfect Condo or Home? Find It at Homes.com

Whether you choose a condo over a house as your starter home all depends on what you want from your first home purchase. Check the listings on Homes.com to see what types of condos are available in your area and compare them against the available homes. Consider everything before making your final decision.

By understanding the pros and cons of buying a condo and doing your own research, you’ll be able to make the most informed decision you can. After all, you only get one chance to buy a starter home.

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About The Author
Carson Buck
Carson is a real estate agent based out of Phoenix, Arizona. Carson loves data and market research, and how readily available it is in today's world. He is passionate about interpreting these insights to help his clients find and buy their perfect home. Carson got into the real estate industry because he loves the feeling of handing over the keys to a new home to happy clients. In his free time, he works on his backyard bonsai garden and spends time with his wife, Julia.

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