When I was working in real estate showing clients property, I’ve heard many people say to me, “I would never invest in a condo. I want a house!” Meanwhile, many of them were, and still are, renting apartments, including fancy lofts, where their rent match or exceeded the mortgage they’d be paying for a condo.
First, let’s end the false assumption that houses are by default better than condos simply because they are stand-alone property, or that condos are what people purchase when they cannot afford a house. That’s simply not true.
You may say, “Say I buy a condo. What I get married someday and my new spouse wants a house? Even more, what if we have children and the condo is too small to contain us?” Well, that’s even more reason to purchase a condo! This person answered their own question.
As a married couple, you now have two incomes to put toward a home, and want room for potential children. You may want a house in an area with a good school system, a 3-car garage, 3 bathrooms, and 3-4 bedrooms and a master suite. You obviously wouldn’t buy a house like this when you’re living alone, even if you could afford it, as it’d be a complete waste of space: now you’re stuck with the burden of selling your house you’ve only had for a few years.
It’s easier to get your investment back plus inflation profit on a condo. The association is responsible the exterior and it’ll require very little renovations if any. With a house, you’re responsible for the lawn, windows, driveway, drywall, property tax, everything: you may lose money if selling after less than a decade of ownership. It’s not practical.
For a single person living alone, you get more for your money with a condo. As I said in reason 1, it’d be impractical to buy a 300K house while single. So for 180K, you could buy a small house that may need renovations, or that could get you a nice condo with hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, and a walk-in closet.
Purchasing a house while still single could lead to future marital issues. If you purchase a nice house while single, then years later your new spouse agrees to move into your existing house, you may feel more entitled to the house since you had it first, even though on paper it says otherwise, and you may be a bit reluctant to sign over your house to a co-owner when you put most of your money toward it independently. Likewise, if you move into your spouse’s existing house, a part of you may not feel like its truly yours, and may fee like its not your place to recommend updates considering s/he’s had the house years before you met him/her. Not to mention the bitterness involved a divorce if your ex-spouse is awarded the house that you bought before you even met him/her. It’s good for the marriage when newly married couples search for and buy a house together, it’s more special that way, there are no hard feelings, and it truly feels like you both have a say.
More, renting apartments brings us a feeling of nostalgia. It is a part of our transition period from moving out of our parents to being on our own. Many have started out in dorms, and then onto Apartments, while away attending college. We remember the parties, the friends, the pool, the (some crazy) roommates we’ve had in our first apartments. Condos offer single persons, who have the resources to own, but not quite ready for the responsibilities and seclusion of a house, a way of still having the fun “apartment life” – while replacing your rent with a mortgage investment that eventually ends for roughly the same monthly payment. It’s a win/win.
Now for my own subjective opinions:
-Apartment life has a nostalgic feeling for me. I have great memories from college, where I had a dorm freshman year and then 2 apartments after that. I remember the roommates and the parties. Parking garages remind of when I parked for class. With a condo, you get the fun of an apartment living but you get to own it. So it’s cool.
-You’re not alone, even if you’re alone! You have neighbors, and you’re going to come across them and people in your building. Often there is a common lounge area and a coffee bar with wifi where the unit owners can hang out. Sometimes there’s an outdoor common area with a pool. So it provides a really cool atmosphere.
-The patio views: If your condo is in a sky rise, you have a great view on your patio overlooking the city. If you’re condo is in an urban area, you may have coffeeshops, bars, and retail shops at the bottom of your building, but at least in walking distance from you. You’re not going to get the patio view of the city nor being in the heart of downtown in a house unless you pay millions of dollars.