If you’re ready to stop renting and invest in property, but anxious about the responsibilities of homeownership, condo living might be a good fit. A condo, or condominium, refers to a single dwelling within a co-owned development. Many different types of properties qualify as condos–apartments in high-rise buildings, semi-detached townhomes, or individual units in smaller complexes. Here’s a look at what makes condo living desirable:
Condos are often located in metropolitan areas and city centers, close to coffee shops, restaurants, shopping, and parks. Condo dwellers enjoy easy access to entertainment and dining, all within walking distance. Many condominium buildings house retail space on the ground level, which could contain a grocery store, cafe, or restaurant.
Condo residents have access to a building’s common areas, which often include resort-like amenities like a swimming pool, fitness center, game room, or a heated parking garage. For most people, these features would be unaffordable in a single-family home. Larger buildings often include modern conveniences like elevators, air conditioning, and roof-top patios with gas grills. Often, Internet and cable service is available to residents.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of condo living, condos are usually maintenance-free for residents. Most buildings are managed by a professional property management company. The maintenance department handles exterior upkeep, like snow removal, landscaping, painting, and roof repair. Additionally, common spaces are cleaned and maintained, so you can enjoy all the benefits of a pool without worrying about cleaning and repair.
Many condo developments, especially newerhigh-rise buildings, utilize controlled entry and video surveillance. Some are staffed by a doorman or security guard 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Parking garages keep cars off the street, safe from theft. Additionally, neighbors may notice intruders or suspicious activity and can keep an eye on your unit.
Shared spaces like a swimming pool or game room offer neighbors a chance to socialize, creating a sense of community. You may share a building with like-minded people who will be happy to feed your cat when you’re out of town or lend a cup of sugar when you run out while baking.
In most U.S. cities, the price per square foot of a condo is significantly less than that of a detached single-family home. Although you’ll most likely pay HOA dues, these will cover the cost of maintenance, landscaping, security, and amenities—a convenience well worth the cost.
- Image Credit: iStock Photos
Amy S. writes for Gassen Companies, a Minnesota-based property management and real estate company specializing in homeowner association management.