Condo or Single Family Home: Which One Is Right For You?

How to Know if a Condo or Single Family Home is Right For YouAlthough for many the choice is clear, some home buyers struggle with the decision of choosing between the purchase of a single-family home or a condo, be it in Edina or elsewhere. These two types of properties can be very different, so weighing the pros and cons of both types of properties can help you decide which is right for you.

Condo Pros & Cons

Condos are like apartments that are owned by their occupant. Condos can come in a variety of forms, with some closely resembling single family houses and others consisting of a unit within a building, like a traditional apartment. Advantages of condos include:

  • Efficiency. Condos tend to be smaller than single family homes, which makes them more energy efficient.
  • Short commute. Condos tend to be in the center of town, which makes it easier to get to work, businesses, schools and other important locations. This cuts back on wear and tear on the car, reduces use of gas, makes it easier to reach public transportation and can sometimes even make walking to work a possibility.
  • Community. While single family homes can be somewhat isolated on their lot, condos are like small communities. Condo owners run into their neighbors in communal spaces like the mail slots and at the gym facilities. This makes condo ownership great for socializing.
  • Easier to maintain. Condo green space is maintained by landscapers and experts who are hired by the HOA, making condos less work than a single family home.

Of course, it can’t all be advantages. Condos have some disadvantages, including:

  • HOA fees. Condos have Homeowners Associations, and HOAs charge a fee. These fees can span a range, though a typical fee might be anywhere from $200 to $400. This money is used to pay for improvements, maintenance, security and other communal expenses.
  • Less privacy. For many, living in a condo is like living in an apartment. There are shared walls, shared hallways and sound travels easily from one condo to another.
  • Less independence. The HOA decides whether to make repairs, how to maintain the green space and makes other big decisions that affect all residents. People who like to make their own decisions about their property might be better off in a single family home.

Single Family Home Pros & Cons

Single family homes offer more space, more independence and more work. Life in a single family home isn’t for everyone. People in search of a single family home tend to be DIYers and who feel like they need room to grow.

  • More space. Garage space, yard space for a shed and other amenities make life in a single family home easier if you have a lot of stuff.
  • Independence. Owning your own house means taking care of it how you want, when you want, in whatever way you see fit.
  • Outdoor space for entertaining. Houses usually come with yards, making them perfect for having outdoor parties.

Of course, it’s not all fun when you own a house. Some of the disadvantages include:

  • High cost of maintenance. Homeowners are responsible for all of their own maintenance when they own a single family home. Some experts say you should set aside at least 1 percent of the cost of the house for maintenance each year.
  • High cost of utilities. Homes tend to be bigger and less energy efficient than condos.
  • Price. Single family homes tend to cost more money than condos. For homeowners on a budget, single family homes may not be affordable.

Picking the Right Property For Your Needs

If you’re still not sure which type of property is right for you, walk through both types of properties as you begin your search. Seeing both in person can help put the issues into perspective. To make the process easier, work with an experienced real estate agent. He or she can help you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each property, so you can make a final decision.

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