Condo vs House: Which is best for you?

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 06 August 2019 02:26

Should you buy a condo or a house? Which is best for you? Check out this guide to learn about a condo vs house.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the average cost of a single-family home is over $285,000. The average price for a condo is just over $260,000. Since buying your home will most likely be the largest investment you’ll ever make, it’s smart to weigh to the pros and cons of buying a condo vs house.

Is a new home purchase in your immediate future? If so, check out this helpful comparison guide. Use it to guide you towards your next, best “home sweet home.”

Condos, Townhouses, and Houses - Oh My! What’s the Difference?

You may see these phrases used interchangeably as you browse through real estate listings. But in reality, they are all separate creatures. Here they are in a nutshell:

What Is a “House?”

Houses or single-family dwellings are single, detached structures used for residential purposes. They have no common roofing or walls with other dwellings. They have their own entry and exit onto the property that only has one owner.

What Is a “Townhouse?”

A townhouse is a narrow, multilevel dwelling attached to other like-dwellings on a street. Townhouse ownership includes owning the land where the residence is sitting. Townhouse owners will also own the front and backyard areas that surround the structure.

What is a “Condo?”

A condo (short for “condominium”) is a residence that looks like an apartment. The difference between a condo vs apartment is that individual condominium units can be owned and sold, unlike apartments where tenants all pay rent.

Condos will be less expensive because there is no land attached to the unit.
Condo exteriors and landscaping are deemed common areas. Therefore, all condo owners in the community collectively own and pay for any improvements to these common areas.

Condo vs House: Which Is Better?

So which housing investment is the best one for you? You will soon come to a very simple answer to this nagging question: “it all depends.” Your lifestyle, age, and purchase price that you can afford can influence this decision. Here are some considerations you should study before you buy.

Condo Advantages and Disadvantages

As with most things, there are some pros and cons to owning a condo. Here are some factors you should consider if you’re thinking a condo is right for you:

Affordable Pricing

If you’re on a fixed, retiree income or just starting out your brand new career, the condo is an affordable alternative. A condo for sale will also have a lower purchase price. This means your initial down payment and monthly mortgage payment will also be cheaper.


Many condo communities have onsite gyms and banquet facilities for their association members. These common areas help replace the lost space for exercising and entertaining residents once had when they lived in larger houses. These common areas also help facilitate social opportunities for residents to create friendships and develop a sense of community.


Onsite maintenance at condo communities such as cleaning out gutters or lawn care is provided by the community’s Home Owners Association (HOA.) Homeowners are responsible for doing these tasks by themselves. If you want minimal responsibility or time commitment for these tasks, then condo living may be a better option for you.


Some condo communities will have limits on whether residents can have household pets or not. Many HOA’s will have restrictions on pets living on the property because each unit is so close to each other. Homeowners don’t share common walls with any of their neighbors so they don’t have to comply with these kinds of restrictions.

HOA Fees

HOA fees are the added price for community partnerships that pay for items such as new roofs or onsite pool maintenance. Home mortgage payments build equity into your property value. HOA fees don’t.

HOA Rules

HOA rules might also feel like an infringement on your freedom to do what you want when you’re at home. Some HOA rules outline how many guests you can invite to your parties or limit how many of your own personal vehicles you can park outside your unit. If you have your own house, you will have more independence.

Single Family Home Advantages and Disadvantages

Maybe you’ve always heard people talk about home-ownership as reaching “the American Dream.” Here’s a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of owning “the Dream.”


Single-family homes will provide you with more privacy for you and your family. Houses aren’t physically joined or share walls with another residential unit. Condos share rooflines and walls which could create a noisy, cramped atmosphere with your next-door neighbors.


Houses have more space than condo units. The average size of a new house is just over 2,000 square feet where a condo is usually closer to 1,400 square feet. If you have a young family just starting out, you’ll need the extra space that a house can offer as your family starts to grow.

Cost Appreciation and Resale Value

A single-family home sales price will appreciate higher than a condo sales price. Houses also tend to resell faster than condos.

This faster rate is in part because many HOA rules are very restrictive. Homebuyers will often leave the bargaining table just for that reason.

Higher Sales Price

The flip side of a higher appreciation value is that the next single-family home you buy is going to be way more expensive than a condo. Down payments for a single-family home could be greater. Mortgage rates will also be higher.

Maintenance and Repairs

As was stated above, any maintenance tasks such as landscaping or repairs become your responsibility. If you have the funds and skills to take on these chores, then you might enjoy doing them.

Next Steps

Still unsure whether a house or condo is the right decision for you? Rather than studying sales prices and resale values, it might make more sense to consider your future life plans instead.

Do you have the strength and time to maintain home repairs or landscaping? If you do, then owning a house might be best. That way you’ll enjoy a higher sales return if you decide to sell.

Are you retired and your children have moved out? Condo living may work for you as you enjoy your hard-earned relaxation time meeting new friends.

Explore our website for more helpful tips on buying a condo vs. house. Do your research on this key decision ahead of time. We think you’ll be glad that you did.

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